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Occupation: Sculptor

August 24, 1992|Researched by DALLAS M. JACKSON / Los Angeles Times

Name: Bill King

Company: Movieland Wax Museum

Thumbs up: "I've always had the ambition of being able to make a living as a full-time artist. I have a good deal of freedom here and a good deal of challenge at the same time. What I do gets reviewed by tens of thousands of critics. I enjoy the challenge and the technical aspect--the whole process, the mold making, the materials that go into it. When we conceive of these figures, we try and capture some drama." Thumbs down: "Every so often you get a personality who just will not cooperate or be specific about what they're not finding in your work."

Next step: "Movieland's management is always looking for new attractions to develop. Our Ripley's exhibits are significantly different. I'm very interested in amusements and popular entertainment. Right now, I'm very involved in perfecting what I'm doing--trying to get faster at what I do and getting closer to a lifelike likeness. From there I'd like to do more design and more planning of entertainment centers."

Advice: "It's a very exacting market. You'll find opportunities in the oddest and most unexpected places. It's best if you don't just select one thing in which you're interested; branch out and get as many skills as possible. It's extremely important to get a good grounding in accurate portrayal of nature and materials and processes. You never know what's going to be useful."

Salary range: $18,000 annually for students and apprentices to more than $200,000 for experienced sculptors.

Educational and training requirements: There are no specific academic requirements; apprentice sculptors, however, must be able to devote some time to studying natural forms and materials. The craft is often learned by on-the-job training and studying under an established sculptor. There are apprenticeships through some unions.

Size of work force: Very small. Fewer than 100 people work as sculptors in Orange County.

Expected demand: Very limited. Movie studios are not making big-budget epics, and most major employers are either fully staffed or downsizing. Unions report having trouble finding jobs for members.

Job description: Fabricate three-dimensional objects that are either abstract or representational in a variety of materials.

Major employing industries: Universities, film and television, amusements parks, museums, mannequin and display companies, toy companies, giftware companies, mortuaries and prosthetics companies.

For more information: Call the Plasterers Local 755 Studio Union at (818) 379-9711.

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