School of Communication Alumnus Adam Walls Awarded an Emmy

School of Communication alumnus Adam Walls (B.S. ’05) received a Children’s & Family Emmy Award for The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, his first award as a makeup artist. “At Florida State, I worked on projects with my friends. How cool is it that all these years later, I’m still doing the same thing: working with friends, just on a much bigger stage,” Walls said. In 2021, Walls began production on this project working alongside a team of 30 different makeup and hair artists. His primary focus was providing makeup for one of the holiday special’s characters, Kraglin, who had a prosthetic “fin” attached to his head, requiring Walls and fellow makeup artist Samantha Ward over an hour to assemble each day of filming.

After a Hair and Makeup Guild Award nomination in 2017 for “Best Special Makeup Effects” for Roots and an Indie Short Fest nomination in 2019 for “Best Special Makeup” for the short film ‘Rose’, Walls said this Emmy award carried a heavier weight in his mind because of the large team and hard work that played a role in the win. In reflecting on his journey, he spoke about experiencing “imposter syndrome” and how winning the Emmy Award validated his hard-earned skills. “I have these moments where I’m pinching myself thinking, ‘am I really doing this right now?’” he said.

From his beginnings within FSU’s Media Production program to serving as an integral part of a team handling over 28,000 prosthetics for a major production, Walls believes the key to success is preparation. “When the right place at the right time happens, you have to make sure you have enough skills under your belt to make it effective”.  During his time as a Media Production student, being able to narrow in on a specific craft outside of the typical scripting, editing, and filmography tools offered within the program helped him focus his talents on special effects makeup.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday special was no easy project to take on. Walls developed one of his most unique creations within this production, a half-human, half-porcupine character with 3D printed quills and accessories.

Walls and the team worked hard to ensure that special attachments and makeup designs were executed efficiently, often making decisions on where to place different prosthetics. Combating numerous parts on a time crunch, they needed to rework their design placement strategically.

When discussing the steps taken to achieve this accomplishment, Walls said, “This was one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences. I’m not sure I’ll be on a project that will require makeup like a human animal porcupine again, but being on a team where everyone is so lockstep with each other and puts their best work on display for the production is where I love to be.”