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With a childhood interest in special effects make-up, David Malinowski pursued his ambition to work on Hollywood movies.

The persistence paid off with many blockbusters now on his list of credits. One of those movies is Darkest Hour, for which David, Kazu Hiro and Lucy Sibbick transformed Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill. That work won a BAFTA and an Oscar.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a special effects make-up artist.

“I was always messing around at home with latex and other materials during Halloween and other times. My dad was in the fire service and used to take part in medical training days. I remember him coming home one day with a fake fractured femur that he had strapped to his leg. It was very effective and I was really intrigued.

“As firefighters, Dad and his colleagues were used as extras on London’s Burning. They then broadened it to the firefighters’ families and asked if anybody wanted to be in it. I said I would love to be involved but on the make-up side.

“But despite all that, it always seemed like a Hollywood thing. It did not feel like it was ever going to happen as a career for someone like me growing up in Peterborough. However, one day Dad and I drove past an advert for a college make-up and special effects course. We had a look and I signed up.

“I did that for a year and then went to Sutton Coldfield College in Birmingham to do a course in film, directing and editing. After that, I did some work experience for Casualty and London’s Burning.

In 1998 I spotted an advert for Madame Tussauds, applied and got the job. I left Peterborough and moved into a flat in Acton in West London. I was there for a number of years before doing my own freelance and private work on the side. I also used to constantly practise with material and new techniques.

“I eventually broke away completely on my own to work on Band of Brothers, before lots of other productions like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, X Men and Downton Abbey.”

Tell us about the experience of working with Gary Oldman on Darkest Hour.

“I first met Gary while working on the film The Hitman’s Bodyguard and we got on really well. We have a similar sense of humour and the same desire for wanting everything we do to be perfect.

“Towards the end of the job, he told me about Darkest Hour and how he needed someone to apply the make-up every day because Kazu Hiro, who created it, couldn’t do it. He said he thought that person was me.

“Sorting his make-up, wig and costume took Lucy Sibbick and I around four hours every day and we applied it over 60 times during the shoot. We would be on set an hour or two before Gary and then we would leave an hour or two afterwards, so we did 10–12-hour days.”

How did you end up working with TaxAssist?

“I saw the TaxAssist Accountants shop on my local high street one day and went in for a chat. They were very nice and friendly.

“I wanted a local company I could trust and who I could see face-to-face, speak to on phone or via email.

“I went through how I was doing my accounts at the time and shared my plans for the future including my plans to eventually become a limited company if things worked out. TaxAssist said they could do all that for me.

“I like to talk to people and I like to ask a lot of questions. You could search online and find thousands of accountants but what I like about TaxAssist is that they are still on the high street. I do not visit them as much now because they know my business so well, but they are always available with answers to my questions.”

How has TaxAssist benefited you?

“They made it really easy when I decided to become a limited company and explained my options in a simple way. If I had any questions they would say ‘come in for a cup of tea and bring the Oscar if you want!’.

“They have also advised me on dividends, salaries and my wife becoming a director of the company.

“I need to focus my time on building my business so to not have to think about accounting issues and just have someone say ‘this is how much you owe for tax’, ‘this is what software you should be using’ is great. They set me up on QuickBooks and Dext which makes it so smooth.

“It is not just a ‘give us your receipts and paperwork’ relationship though; They often give me advice too and spot things and make suggestions for what I could be doing with my finances and business.

“I feel relaxed and comfortable with TaxAssist. I do not want to stop working with them because I don't know if I'll feel that with someone else.

“People have asked me to recommend an accountant and I’ve recommended TaxAssist every time.”

Discover how TaxAssist Accountants can help your business with a free, no obligation consultation. Call 0800 0523 555 or fill in this form.

Date published 15 Sep 2023 | Last updated 20 Mar 2024

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