By Sandi Khine
Located at the foot of the San Gabriel Valley, Monrovia is a city known for its Old Town on Myrtle Street, Friday night street fairs, quaint restaurants, and a supportive community. Fractured FX, a special effects studio situated in the heart of Monrovia, is a remarkable anomaly among the flashing Hollywood lights – an incredibly successful one. With a third Emmy nomination, this one for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup For A Series, Limited Series, Movie Or Special, CEO and founder of Fractured FX Justin Raleigh proves that his 13 years at the studio have been filled with a multitude of accomplishments.
From a young age, Raleigh was fascinated “with the idea that you could transform someone into any character.” He then pursued his passions, reaching out and working on smaller projects and spending his early career at Stan Winston Studios, an Academy Award-winning studio famed for the special makeup effects on “Jurassic Park,” “Predator,” and “The Terminator.” In 2010, Raleigh founded Fractured FX and has “been very blessed to be surrounded by so many talented artists throughout [his] career and [to] work on amazingly challenging projects.” Raleigh’s projects with “’Westworld,’ ‘The Conjuring,’ ‘Watchmen,’ ‘Insidious,’ ‘Tron,’ and ‘Aquaman’ have been some of [his] recent favorites.”
The work in a special effects studio isn’t easy at all— many days are 14 to 16 hours long, and Raleigh focuses on design, budgeting, art direction, and meetings. In the studio, the emphasis is on building and designing special makeup effects and prosthetics. These include specialty costumes, prosthetics appliances, props, creatures, animatronic effects with the help of 3D design and printing. “For ‘Westworld,’” Raleigh contends, “the Drones were a big challenge. Also, the sheer scale of effects that needed to be created for the season.” Though Raleigh cannot reveal much about the work on “Aquaman” as it is not released yet, he affirms that it is undoubtedly something to look forward to. However grueling the work of special makeup effects and prosthetics may be, it is certainly rewarding.
With a 2018 Emmy nomination for his work in “Westworld” and one win already under his belt for his work in “American Horror Story: Freakshow,” Raleigh emphasizes that “it’s wonderful to be able to see all of [their] hard work highlighted amongst the top of the field and be able to represent [his] entire crew for their talents.”
With local suburban studios like Fractured FX in Monrovia, the world of special makeup effects becomes a far more plausible career for interested youth in the San Gabriel Valley. Raleigh notes that “if they are interested in this type of career, it might be closer than [they] think to reach out and try and pursue your dreams. [He] personally took that leap of faith and was lucky enough to find many outstanding mentors along the way. There are a lot of Film and TV-related companies in the San Gabriel Valley to look into.” With no shortage of opportunities around, special makeup effects and prosthetics are definitely riveting fields for youth to look into.
As a local company that works on such high profile projects, with three Emmy nominations and one win, Fractured FX and its incredible teamwork and leadership from Raleigh continues to develop cutting-edge techniques to constantly better their special make-up effects and prosthetics.