Ask Kamakani De Dely to name his favorite time of year and this special effects connoisseur’s reply may come as no surprise. “Halloween. Then it’s Christmas,” he says with a laugh.
De Dely runs the store Oncefound FX in Kapolei with his wife and shop owner, Mallory. The shop – which he describes as “a crafters’ or artists’ playground” – sells special effects makeup and supplies, including mold-making supplies, fake blood, makeup brushes and sponges. “We carry items for artists that do makeup and also sculpt,” De Dely said. “It’s a wide variety from doing beauty makeup to scary makeup to making replicas and props.”
Helmets, he says, are a big draw. Visitors to the store will see replicas of helmets from movies like Ironman, Predator and Star Wars. “I have three different types of Stormtrooper helmets up. It’s just something that people get excited about because they now feel they have a chance to learn how to make this,” says De Dely, who while studying acting in California, also interned and worked for a special effects company in North Hollywood in the mid-2000s. (He’ll flex his acting muscles as the main villain in a Hawaii Five-0 episode set to air April 24 on CBS.)
De Dely relishes watching the reactions of the shop’s first-time visitors because of its unconventional location – a 10-foot-by-20-foot storage unit on the third floor of Hawai‘i Self Storage, 488 Kamokila St. in Kapolei.
“People are kind of shocked to hear that it’s in the Self Storage. It makes them think it’s not a legit store. … When I pull the door up, they see everything (we carry) … some things they know of and some things they don’t. You can see the excitement and awe in their face,” says De Dely, whose credits on IMDB include “special effects makeup” for a 2017 episode of Marvel’s “Inhumans,” an ABC TV series filmed in Hawai‘i. Folks from the series checked out the store and later when they needed an extra hand, “they pulled me in,” he said.
Oncefound FX also offers classes like the popular life casting course where students learn how to make a mold of their face. Around Halloween, De Dely said, “people want to do the silicone FX class where they can make their slashes and gashes and slit throats and all that stuff.”
For De Dely, there’s a special satisfaction in offering special effects instruction to a Hawai‘i audience – without their having to relocate to the U.S. continent or learn by watching videos online.
“The sole reason that I wanted to open up the business and we decided to own it ourselves was to give the people of Hawai‘i a chance to learn this without having to leave the Islands,” he said. “I moved to learn acting. It was extremely hard on us. … I wanted to give people the opportunity to learn that while they’re here.”