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Rising Stars: Meet Alan Ostrander

Alan Ostrander has been a professional theatrical artist since 1984, specializing in all aspects of Special FX Makeup for live productions & Film/TV. Throughout the US, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Argentina and more, he has worked as an actor, set designer, stage manager, prop master, artistic/talent director and many other positions in the entertainment production industry. He is the Founder/Creative Director of AEO Studios, a one-stop theatrical shop, and is known as Hong Kong’s “Father of Halloween” for his 13 years introducing/cultivating this Western Holiday in East Asia.

Partial Credit List includes: Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Terror on Church St., Ocean Park Hong Kong, Six Flags Amusement Parks, Buena Vista Television, Discovery Channel, Haxan Films, Monsters & Monsters, Terror in Bariloche, Cirque du Soleil, and more Articles/Print credits in: HK Magazine, Haunted Attraction Magazine, Hauntworld, Artslink, Make-up Artist Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Watermark, South China Post, Tai Film, Create Magazine, Orlando Weekly… Teaching/Lecture Credits: Transworld National Party & Halloween Expo (Multiple), HauntCon Haunted Attraction Convention (Multiple), Esther Beauty (Hong Kong), College/HS Theatre/Drama Departments (Multiple), Private MU/FX Tutorials/Workshops, FXEX13 (First Special FX/MU expo in Hong Kong)…

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Any profession in the Theatrical Arts / Entertainment industry is a difficult career. I have been very fortunate to work in this field for 30+ years, but it has definitely been a challenge. The largest key to my success has been diversification. By offering many different services, I have been able to find enough work and keep busy; whether for film, TV, or live productions. Besides applying Makeup/FX for all types of production, I also work extensively as a Haunted Attraction Designer/Consultant, Prop Fabricator, Scenic Painter, etc. I also own/operate a retail makeup/fx supply store in Orlando, as well as teaching/lecturing on different aspects of Theatrical Arts. By doing many different things, I have been able to travel the world and find enough work within the industry.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I have been very fortunate to work in the Entertainment Industry all my life. I began working professionally as an Entertainer at ten years old, performing magic & clowning. From that point, I knew that I wanted to have a career in Theatrical Arts. I began learning as much as I could of every aspect of the industry; whether onstage or backstage. I was able to intern with some amazing makeup/fx artists to learn that craft and begin working on films/stage productions in makeup. While my degree is in Business Administration, I never wanted to work in the Corporate World. At about 20yo, I began working at a new, year-round Haunted Attraction opening up in Orlando, Terror on Church Street. This was an incredible experience, as I was the Head Makeup/Character Designer for the eight years run, as well as a performer lead. TOCS quickly became an icon in the Haunted Attraction Industry and set the benchmark for Haunts everywhere. It also spawned my company, AEO Studios, which was originally founded to support the makeup/fx side of the attraction.

After Terror closed, I worked on many different productions/attractions, and in 2001 was invited to help bring Halloween to Hong Kong. Working closely with Ocean Park theme park, I began as the makeup designer for this Halloween Event, the Halloween Bash, which was the first Halloween celebration of its kind in East Asia. The show was such a success that the job turned into a 13year run for me, working as the event’s makeup designer, director, attraction designer, and more…eventually earning me the nickname of “Hong Kong’s Father of Halloween” in the HKG press. While there, I also taught at various makeup schools and was the Keynote Speaker for the first-ever Special Makeup FX Symposium in Asia. Since 2013, I have worked for hundreds of other clients and productions around the world, creating “Everything from Demons to Divas!”

Any big plans?
The wonderful thing about working in the Entertainment Industry is that I never know what tomorrow will bring. I work in so many different aspects of the field, it is something different every day. I love the excitement that each new job/client offers a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Every day is a new learning, growing experience.

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