Students help create the ‘Valley of the Dead’
Photo's courtesy of Photographer Kevin Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org , further images at Kevin Thomas Flickr Galley
A creative group of media special effects students have put their new-found skills to gruesome use in creating an ‘army of the living dead’ at the Dare Valley Country Park.
The scary spectacle was unleashed by students from Coleg y Cymoedd as part of the Valley of the Dead 2013, a unique annual event which sees 270 runners from across South Wales take part in a 5km obstacle course while being chased by 60 zombies.
The cast of zombies were the handiwork of 25 young people currently studying towards foundation degrees in Performing Arts Technologies and foundation degrees and BA Hons in Costume Construction for Screen and Stage at Coleg y Cymoedd.
The students are training to become special effects artists, media wardrobe managers and prop and costume designers for the film, TV and theatre industries. The day spent applying fake blood and realistic looking wounds is the culmination of several weeks’ work to create an assortment of props and costumes for the cast.
Kelly Jones, from Cardiff, who took part in the day’s activities said: “It’s not every day you get to create a hoard of zombies and have it count towards your degree, so it’s certainly one I’ll remember. Opportunities like this are one of the reasons I decided that I wanted to work in this industry. You never know what you will be called to do. It’s great to be putting the skills we have learned at college into practise.”
Coleg y Cymoedd’s foundation degree in Performing Arts Technologies is the only one of its kind in South Wales. Launched in September 2012, the course has already developed a strong reputation within Wales’ TV, film and performance industries. In its first year, foundation students successfully secured work placements with the BBC, S4C and various independent production companies.
The success of the Creative Industries Department is attributed to the hands-on industry experience and expert guidance students receive from college lecturers, who themselves continue to work within the industry alongside their teaching roles at the college.
Course leader, Jane Beard, said: “This project is a fantastic start to the academic year. Gaining experience working as part of a professional production team is an invaluable part of our creative industries courses. It will stand these students in good stead as they look to enter the professional media and creative industries.
“There are numerous opportunities for those seeking to enter this exciting industry. A number of students have already spent time working the BBC, S4C and the Welsh National Youth Opera. This weekend’s work demonstrated that certain students have already benefitted from working on the set of Casualty, they definitely have a talent for creating realistic-looking wounds.”
Judith Evans, Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “A key part of our students’ education is hands-on experience and this zombie experience is a great example of the range of projects they get involved in. The students enjoyed showcasing what they’ve learned over the term so far, and work experience like this will be hugely attractive to media employers upon completing their course.”
Lauren Griffiths, from Blackwood, who took part in the day’s activities said: “Working on the Zombie run directly with RCT Council was really fun and different. It was fantastic getting to work together with other departments in the college, as well as meeting new people I learnt a lot of techniques of how things are done in the industry. This was our first module, and I have learnt a lot from the experience, it was a huge learning curve. The experience will help me with the on-going course and the skills I’m carrying forward will be useful after I finish the course to gain employment or to go into further education, I think I want to do a masters.”
Amy Jones, 21, from Pencoed who also contributed to creating the zombie looks said: “This experience has taught me to work in a pressure situation; we were briefed on doing the zombie run in the second week of our course. I gained a lot of skills I didn’t previously have and these will be great to take forward to further challenges on the course. Everyone on my course who was involved really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. I have learnt so much in a short space of time and have realised how much I am capable of already. I think this experience will really help me with future employment; it will be an interesting and different talking point for interviews.”