Stage makeup students get hands-on experience at Knott’s Halloween Haunt


Angel Teutli, theatre major, applying air brush makeup for Halloween Haunt. Stage Makeup students were given the opportunity to learn monster makeup at Knott’s Scary Farm. Photo credit: Carlos Martinez

Carlos Martinez

Students from the Cerritos College’s stage makeup class were invited to go behind the scenes of Knott’s Berry Farm’s Halloween Haunt and learned from makeup artists about the skills they used to bring zombie and ghouls to life.

The students also had a hands-on experience helping artists with creature preparations for the Sep. 29 event.

Susan Watanabe, theatre professor, has brought her students to tour backstage since 1992 when she started as a makeup artist to the park and continued to provide the option to students after working with Knott’s for nine years.

She also returned to the park during her sabbatical in 2015.

Watanabe stated that these tours had given students in the past the opportunity to work with the park and also helped them gain skills for career paths in the dramatic and visual arts.

“They go on to bigger and better things,” she said, “It’s one of the reasons why I kept doing it.”

Michal Fantanza, theatrical production major, was one of the students that joined the tour of the event.

Fantanza explained that the experience had helped her gain insight on one of the many roles of backstage theater.

“You get to see what their expectations are,” she said, “and I can perform better from seeing them.”

Fantanza hoped that the experience will help her achieve her goal of working in makeup for television and film.

Brothers Angel and Ray Teutli, theater and film majors respectively, also joined Watanabe and Fantanza in the backstage tour.

Angel Teutli stated that he took the opportunity in order to gain more skills as a future makeup artist.

“I got into makeup because of my mom,” he said. “My brother and I asked our mom to paint us from a horror movie we saw for Halloween and she did it good.”

Ray Teutli explained that the experience will help him become more well-rounded in film.

In addition, he also stated that becoming familiar with makeup will help him flesh out character designs.

“If I am looking to hire to anyone in makeup and costuming, I know enough so I can find the ones that can bring out the best,” he said.

Watanabe’s next move for the stage makeup class will be a display case showcasing the student’s project, encouraging more students to sign up for the class next semester.