About Us


We are Learn FX, a special effects makeup school designed and run by Tech Works Studios, a special effects company with over 20 years in the business. We specialize in creature effects, robots, animatronics, props, and makeup effects.
We are a real working studio that has worked on films, commercials, tv shows and many other projects. Please check out our studio tour at the top of the page to see our facilities.

No other school can boast our credits such as Underwater, Deepwater Horizon, Logan, Minority Report, Garfield, Men in Black 2, The Cat in the Hat, and so many more. Feel free to check out our credits on IMDB or our parent site Tech Work Studios. http://www.techworksstudios.com/credits

Because we actually work in the industry and work on real films, we know what it's like to hire people and what skills they need. We can train you to get in the industry like no one else. The high priced makeup schools promise so much, but have they ever worked in the industry? Do they know what it takes to be useful in a real working shop? Do they know what it takes to get hired?  How could they? They are not actually in the industry.

This is why we offer a short FX course and not a long drawn out program designed to keep you there for as long as possible so you can pay as much as possible. That's why we focus on skills needed to get a job, period. Short and sweet. We train our students with the skills they need to be useful in a studio the day after they leave us. We don't just tell you what you want to hear so we can waste time and take your money and give you empty promises.

We actually hire our students when needed and get them moving in the right direction to start their career. There's a lot to learn and you can't learn it all in a school. As a shop, we know this, so we think it's best to learn what is needed to get working and let the work experience open your eyes to the many areas and disciplines there are. Then you can choose your own path and learn on the job, which is more than any school can teach.

No one comes out of a school and is simply a makeup artist or a sculptor or a designer (top of the industry jobs) in our industry. Would a studio hire you to work on Tom Cruise because you went to a school? No. Would a shop hire you because you say that you're a makeup artist? No. You need to earn that title, and just attending any school, even ours, won't cut it. We need to trust you and you need years of being in the industry before that happens. You need to work with others on various projects and deadlines so we can see how you really are under pressure. It ain't easy, sorry, but that's the truth.

We love what we do, but if we let just anyone from any school come in and head up a project, we would have been gone long ago. We tried hiring people from just about every school and they just didn't have the skills for the everyday work or the ego to realize that they weren't ready for the industry. I can't blame them in some way, some spent more than a year at schools and tens of thousands of dollars to find out that they simply didn't have the skills to work in our shop. It's painful to watch, but typically I didn't mind watching them leave because the schools filled them with so much crap that they thought they knew better than me. So I wish them good luck and hope they learn how to be realistic. Some come back and thank me for the honesty and let me know that they had a hell of a time until they changed their attitude and started at the bottom. Others became waiters and that's the last I saw of them. Remember, we were in Los Angeles for 20 years so we've seen it all, attitudes, flakes, and assholes. The good ones learn some useful skills to get their foot in the door and use their drive to learn more become amazing artists in the industry.



As a graduate of the LearnFX course I would like to say this... The Learn FX course taught me
the actual techniques and skills I needed to go directly into working at Hollywood FX shops. At
LearnFX you don't just watch someone else doing these techniques you are the one doing them.
Be prepared to get your hands dirty... Literally!! The simple fact that your classroom is a real
working FX shop in my opinion was a game changer as far as learning what it's really like
working and being in a FX shop. Nothing can totally prepare you for what this industry will
throw at you, but the LearnFX course was an excellent way to hit the ground running on my way
to a career in the special effects industry.
Cheers buddy boy!!

I attended Valek's SFX  training course and was astonished at the amount of materials and
techniques that would be covered.
I didn't think that it would be possible but Val's teaching style creates an atmosphere of
situational projects that allows you to learn and work in a way that is intuitive.
I just finished working independently on my 3rd film and third SFX project after graduating and
all of that training has given me the confidence and skill level to work like a Pro!
I now have received my third imdb for film SFX as a result of his course.
Thank you Val for always being there to answer questions when a new challenge is presented to
Robert Siracusa

I wanted to thank you again for the fantastic weekend Halloween FX course. I learned so much! I
feel confident now in the basics of creating molds and casting from them. You were an excellent
teacher and explained everything so thoroughly that I never felt lost. You're just a great teacher
and a cool guy. Seriously...I've met some teachers that have the personality of a rock and its
brutal. I wish I could take every course you offered, but I'm glad you made a weekend course
available for us part timers and Halloweenies.
All the best to you and a shout out to Carson again for helping and being a great guy as well!

The LEARN FX course was essential my success in the industry. After taking his course I
interned for 2 days at a well know shop. Then landed my first paid gig at the end of the
second day of my internship. I now have shop owners and haunt runners contacting me
for work on a regular basis. Valek's course is designed to get you working in the biz.
Don't waste time and & money on expensive fx schools. Take Val's course and get your
foot in the door.
Ted R. Cary
Class of 2012

LEARN FX, Tech Works Studio: FX Course – Review
By, Justin and Melissa Meyer
My wife and I had been working in the Special F/X field for a few years, but we had never
received any “formal” training. We got as far as we could with YouTube videos and our own
trial and error projects, but the time had come to get a more refined education.
When we looked into schools and programs that offered FX, we ran into problems: The courses
they offered were EXTREMELY out of date, the methods and materials used were not current
with today’s cinema quality FX. They didn’t cover a wide enough range of FX processes,
limiting themselves to stone mold making for make-up appliances generally. The courses were
short, and VERY expensive ($10K+).
Through diligent research, however, we found Valek Sykes Tech Works Studio. They offered a
7 week course that covered the most current methodology in FX mold making, and boasted a
curriculum that covered a wide range of FX skills including casting, prop building, acrylic teeth
fabrication, Life Casting, Pros-Aid Transfer design and fabrication, and the use of today’s
industry standard materials, such as silicone, fiberglass, resins, and much more. What made
them stand out even more was the fact that the “classroom” is an actual working Creature Shop!
The benefit of that is you get to experience first hand how a shop is organized, supplied, and run.
The tools and machines they use on a daily basis are at your disposal! The best part about all of
this, is it cost about HALF of what the other school’s were charging.
The course is run by Val himself (the owner of the company). His passion for the FX world, his
years of Hollywood experience on and off sets, and his ability to clearly and carefully
communicate, made him an excellent teacher. He kept his classroom intimate, allowing him to
focus on each student and their individual level of knowledge and skills. He loves to answer
questions, and believe me, my wife and I had a lot! We felt comfortable asking him anything at
anytime, even if it wasn’t quite on topic. He made sure to address our individual goals that we
had coming into the course, for example, my wife and I were curious about foam fabrication and
creature suits, which he would make time for in and out of class to discuss. His care for his
students was genuine, encouraging us to stay in touch with him even after the course was through
if we had questions, or just wanted to say hello. We took him up on this, and contacted him
recently about a project we were working on. Not only did he answer our questions, he offered
some creative alternative solutions to what we needed done! You can always tell when someone
is a true educator, and Val is one of the best.
We left that course feeling more confident than ever before. If we walked into a Creature Shop
today, we could hit the ground running with the rest of the artists. We increased our knowledge
of materials, and gained crucial problem solving skills that are put to use daily in our own
This course should be at the top of the list for anyone hoping to make a career out of making

We have had students go all over the world.
Our students are working or have worked at places like DISNEY and Legacy FX, as well
as our studio of course Tech Works FX Studios. These are some of the recent credits
from some of our students:
Batman vs. Superman, Divergent, VHS3, Tomorrow Land, Hunger Games 3 and 4, Jurassic World, Fast and Furious 7, Terminator 5, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2, Fonzo, Underwater, Semper Fi, Greyhound, Logan, Benji, Jack Reacher 2, .…. AND

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