After working for Merlin Entertainments for a little over 2 years (at the San Francisco Dungeon from April 2015-November 2015 & Madame Tussauds from November 2015-May 2017), today is officially my last day.
During the time I spent there, when I would explain to someone that I worked at Madame Tussauds, a multitude of questions and comments would always emerge-
"What kind of stuff did you do there?"
"Ooh, I bet that's fun, what a weird and quirky job"
"Did you get to meet anyone famous?"
"So, like... did you sculpt all the figures?"
Before we continue, here's some answers to the FAQ: Every morning before we open the attraction, we have two-and-a-half hours to get the place looking tip-top. What that means isthat all the sets, costumes, paint, hair, props, tech and everything that the guests would interact with have to look as good as possible. But, how bad could it get? Well, Madame Tussauds (as a brand) prided itself on full interactivity. That means EVERYTHING got poked and prodded, things were stolen, ears were broken, holes were poked, faces were scratched, glittered lip stick adorned the cheeks of our more popular figures and some figures had even gotten punched. How do we fix these things? Here's my tool belt and what it contained:
No, I did not sculpt the figures! I wish! The figures are all sculpted in London in the master studio. Then, they're shipped out to the individual attractions. When we receive them, we install them and then are responsible for the daily maintenance. Yes, we resculpt the wax, gloss the eyes, redo the hair and in some cases, even restyle the figure altogether. During my time here, I got a chance to meet Sam Smith, Grumpy Cat, Stan Lee, Steve Wozniak, Steph Curry & Peter Dinklage. They were all really nice and responded to the figures well. I also got a chance to build a 20 foot booth for the first ever Silicon Valley Comicon.
Here, I'll take you through the attraction room by room! This isn't every figure, but a pretty thorough walk-through.
I thought a lot about how this job has affected me. I know that my painting has improved, but I think the biggest thing to come out of this is that the corporate structure is simply not for me. I do not believe that respect is earned simply with a title. I believe respect is earned individually, by doing what's right for the business, your coworkers, and yourself. What corporations don't usually get is that these employees that work for them are not just machines to churn out a profit. We're people who have ideas and vision and insight after being there for so long. Even if the corporations understand that, I don't think it would matter. I think the best realization to come out of this is that I could never be a career employee for someone else (especially a corporation), for the following reasons:
I have ideas and know how to integrate them. They're not always the best ideas, but I know how to execute them so they make sense. Whether or not they work completely will always come in time, but a little trial and error is how I've learned everything in my life. No matter how creative the job, even the creative parts of it will become monotonous. If I'm going to put up with monotony, then I might as well do it for myself.
I feel fortunate to have worked with some of the people I did, specifically- Mike Poland and Francine Clapp. They've both become close friends and I'm sad that I will no longer see them on a consistent basis. Look them both up, they're art is great!
I'm excited to begin my new role at the San Francisco International Airport Museum! The best part is that it is a part time position, so that means I'll be able to spend much more time on my art and side projects! I really want to bring my art career to the next level, and this is a great start! Thanks to everyone who has helped me thus far!