Practical Tips From Working Makeup Artists

Now that we’ve covered the technical side of film and television and what it takes to become a makeup artist in the industry, there are some practical things that will really help you when you’re starting out. From those in the industry, here are some helpful tips:

1. Know that in the beginning, it is a costly profession.

You will always need to have a fully stocked makeup kit, tools like brushes and cleaners, wipes, an apron, a brush belt or case, a makeup case – ideally one that is fully stocked and another that you can customize for each job.

2. When you are stocking your makeup kit, have a healthy range of options from skincare to concealers, foundations, powders, bronzers, shadows, liners, mascaras, effects tools like spirit gum, scissors, etc. Always be prepared because your crew will notice and learn to see you as someone they can count on. ALWAYS bring a sewing kit, safety pins, and bobby pins. At some point, you’ll need them.

3. Have a 3-ring binder for your screenplay and have DIVIDERS! Every day a new script will be given to you with notes and slight or major changes. Read them, note them, and make whatever adjustments you have to. This is key because, at the end of any production day, a team of people go to the edit bay to watch “Daily’s” (a term used to watch the footage shot that day). That is when changes get made because a producer or director sees that a scene didn’t work or something else may work better or an entirely new idea is born.

4. ALWAYS carry a camera with you. In the old days, makeup artists and hairstylists relied on Polaroids to keep track of scenes and looks. Today artists have an incredible advantage with digital cameras and the ability to have a laptop always on hand. Being able to see everything and have it in one convenient place is so helpful to a makeup artist.

5. Check your ego at the door. When you’re on set you will be working with an entire team of people. All of which are creative and hired to do a specific job. A film demands that all of these people work together to achieve a cohesive result and so if you have a temperament that doesn’t sit well with others or you’re unable to take direction, film, and television is definitely not the right place for you. These crew members will be your family while shooting and odds are there will always be someone you don’t work well with, but overall, it’s better to have a “team player” attitude than to attempt to go it alone. It just won’t work in the Industry.

6. If you are going into film or television for money or fame, don’t bother. Production on any level is an art form and even when the project is bad, if it isn’t your passion, don’t waste your time or the film crew’s time. It costs money and there are thousands of people who wish they had your job.

7. Take pride in what you do. Being a makeup artist is a truly amazing job. Every day you’re on a set, whether you’re filming a commercial, PSA, network show, or film, it is a truly wonderful job. Every day you get to create. Love what you do. If you love what you do, your passion for what you do will show in the way you conduct yourself around a crew, the attention to detail in your work, your preparedness, and you will find great satisfaction when you see how happy an actor or producer or director is with your work.

That is the rewarding part of what you’re doing. You get to make others happy and that makes you a part of something really extraordinary.

8. Remember that what you do is art. You are creating. Like a painter, you have an extensive palette of color and tools and your canvas is blank at the start. You have vision and creativity and above all, talent. Talent is what allows you to excel in any industry, but it is especially true in the film and entertainment industries.

9. Finally, see it through. Take instruction and don’t give up. Whether due to fatigue or creative differences, be hardworking and willing to see the job through. That will never steer you wrong and can only allow for work in the future.

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