TV Article

I, Alien

''Star Trek'' make-over -- An ordinary writer becomes a space alien

It's not easy becoming green. In fact, my alien make-over took more than two hours. Here's a step-by-step guide to the transformation process:

1. At 7 a.m. I arrive at Paramount's soundstage No. 4, where dozens of other extras are already sitting in makeup chairs getting alien-ated.

2. After slicking back my hair with industrial-strength gel, ace makeup man Gil Mosko applies my first appendage, a foam-rubber nose piece that gives my earthling schnozzola an other-worldly twist and makes my upper lip disappear.

3. A foam-rubber headpiece designed and sculpted by alien- effects wizard Michael Westmore is attached to my hair with bobby pins and glued to my skin with a silicon-based medical adhesive. ''This glue is usually used for colostomy bags,'' notes Mosko.

4. The edges of the mask are smoothed with a water-based glue so that it becomes impossible to tell where the mask ends and my real face begins.

5. Mosko uses a blow-dryer to set the mask.

6. The paint job begins. The first of several coats consists of a sticky, water-based, greenish-brown pigment.

7. Mosko shades my prosthetic skull with greasepaint to create what he calls a ''theatrical look.'' Later he colors what's left of my lips with dark green paint.

8. Mosko applies the finishing touches, then sends me across the lot to the wardrobe department to be outfitted in my fetching asparagus suit. ''If you don't look good, we don't look good,'' Mosko declares. I wonder, should I have tipped him?

Originally posted Sep 25, 1992 Published in issue #137 Sep 25, 1992 Order article reprints
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