World Radio and TV

Working Lives Vancouver: Prosthetics designer

JP Mass knows his gore.

As a prosthetics designer in Vancouver's film industry, he's spent decades exploding bodies, figuring out how to make realistic eyeballs, and honing his own special recipe for fake blood.

"It's like the Eskimos have 200 words for snow; we have all kinds of blood," he says.

Mr Mass started working on movies in Vancouver more than 20 years ago, when the industry was in its infancy, and he learned his trade from others. Now, Vancouver is the second-most-popular TV filming location in North America, and home to more than 40 film schools.

But the market for gore, like so many, is both gruelling and unpredictable.

"I've shown up for work on a Monday and gone home on Thursday," he says. He also once had to go more than a year-and-a-half without work.

A new round of generous tax breaks should ensure that Vancouver retains its reputation as the Hollywood of the North, but his career is by no means secure, as computer-generated graphics continue to take more than 75% of what was once done by practical effects specialists like him.