I thought this post might be quite useful for anybody that is interested in a career as a makeup artist in the TV/Film industry. As some of you may know I dipped my toe into the area for a couple of years.Although, (sadly) I don’t do that anymore. In this post, I want to share some tips which I hope will be helpful.
Initially, I was massively confused at how to get into the whole business. Also, I was unsure what the job involved before I trained and would have loved a bit of advice. So here goes….
Formal training to be a Makeup artist?
There is no set rule that says you have to have formal training to be a makeup artist at any level. Some of the biggest names in the business are self-taught.
Makeup for television is an area I’d say it’s essential to have some kind of formal training.
There are other things as well as application to factor in, ie continuity, breaking down scripts, lighting etc.
Media makeup courses are a great way to learn from professional working media artists and get your foot in the door. They also provide a great support network. This is invaluable when you first start out working on sets and need to call in some emergency advice!
(We won’t talk about the time I dyed a very old man yellow!)
These courses do tend to be pricey (we’re talking a house deposit!) And if it’s not an option for you then getting a basic make-up qualification at college and doing your research into TV/film makeup will start you on the right path.
(I’ve included a few helpful links at the end of this post)
I recommend finding a makeup artist that is working within the media and needs an assistant. Or apply to jobs through production companies as a runner. They’re both great ways to learn the ropes, get some experience, and build up a reputation within the industry.
I can’t stress this enough, in such a large industry it’s surprising how close knit it can be!
Gain a bad reputation with a production company or another artist and it’s quite likely that word will get around and the chances of being hired by others will be decreased massively.
I don’t mean to scare you but you have to be willing to put your heart and soul into this job. It’s not just a case of showing up on set with a palette and a makeup brush or two, applying a bit of powder and going home. Days on tv/film sets are long (18 hours a day is quite normal.)
Being stroppy and sulky will get you nowhere. This will just bring down morale on a job where everybody is working equally long hours to make a success of it. You really do have to show your passionate enough, (which is easy when you are) It’s a case of showing up on time, at all times, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Be ready to work hard and prepared to be a team player even when you feel like crap. Otherwise, you will be stepped over by some other up-comer who will take your place gladly.
It’s not about the money
I remember while I was training I googled ‘how much money does a TV makeup artist get?’ And promptly declaring to my Dad that I was soon to be super rich while promising to buy him an Audi!
However had probably landed on Stephen Moleski’s bio and got carried away!
In fairness, it’s not a bad chunk of change once you get established. Like I said above, you have to be prepared to work hard just for the sheer love of the job when you start out. You also have to expect to be paid nothing, I mean zero. In fact, depending on the budget of the production company, you end up paying out more than you earn in some cases.
Obviously, this isn’t ideal for most people who have bills to pay! In short, you will need a good support network in the beginning, while you build up your reputation without bringing home the bacon.
Go for it!
If you really want to go into the TV/film area of make-up, and your lifestyle permits it. But you are (understandably) nervous about starting out in what might seem like a big scary world. Honestly, I promise it really isn’t so scary (and that’s coming from miss anxious/scared of everything here!)
Once you get stuck in, you will meet some really interesting characters, make great new friends and have some truly amazing experiences.!!
In my opinion, it is the best job in the world!!
I really hope this has helped if you are an aspiring makeup artist! And I hope that I haven’t missed out anything important. If I have, and there’s anything you want to know, leave me a comment below or email me and I’ll try my very best to help you out!
Sites to check out
(This is where I trained)
See this post on building up a pro makeup kit on a budget.