All Kinds of Careers in Makeup

Learning how to do makeup in general is a process focused on an overall idea. Learning how to do makeup in the beauty world requires knowledge and skill. Learning how to do makeup for film requires a tremendous amount of understanding, practical application, experience, and an openness to the world of the unimagined.

To really understand makeup and how it applies to film and entertainment, you will need to go further in your training. So, you’ve learned the basics. Now what?

Once you’ve covered the basics, the second most important thing you will learn is shading. In film, you will have the luxury of making any one person just about anything you can imagine and you can do most anything by the simplest stroke of a brush and some clever shading. The steps to learning how to apply makeup are in plenty but finding the one that you’re most comfortable with is going to be where you find your own style. That, regardless of how talented you are, will take some time so be patient. If you are in a school that doesn’t go into depth about how different makeup application is when using film or television, don’t ignore that. It could be a sign that you’re just not getting the direction you’re going to need but ask questions. The next thing is understanding that working in television and film is completely different in terms of makeup. Television is one mode and film, another.

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Television cameras aren’t as true as film. There is much more room for forgiveness, and yet in other ways, it can seem less creative simply because of the scope of television and the parameters you have to work within. Some of this may sound repetitive but it is worth repeating. Every medium of camera work is different. The makeup you would do for Fashion differs vastly from the makeup you would do for film much like applying special effects is going to differ from applying bridal makeup. While there are similarities and the foundation seems the same, each type of makeup application has its own set of rules and schools of thought. No matter how intricate and overwhelming it may seem, each technique is a form of art and even the simplest of makeup really is an art form. Whether it is your vision or a director’s or a designer’s, there is something intoxicating about making something – and seeing your work on an actual moving, living thing (unless you’re using animatronics but that’s an entirely different conversation).

The thing that separates makeup for the film and entertainment world comes down to the camera and the ability to tell a story without restriction. One of the most crucial elements of film and makeup is lighting. A good school will arm you with enough technical training to understand the importance of lighting. The reason lighting plays such a crucial role in makeup (and hair) is whether special effects or just basic makeup application, a simple shadow can change the entire look of a character. Someone who looks beautiful in daylight can look harsh and sinister in different lighting and understanding the way light moves and its importance of changing or emphasizing color can really give you a grasp on makeup. In film, nothing is as simple as it first appears. A camera can be using a filter on the lens of blue or amber or yellow giving it a totally different feel. A perfect example of that is the film “Traffic” or “The Watchmen.” If a makeup artist doesn’t account for the changing movement, the story could be lost and the emotion or state of the character can become non-existent.

While each school varies in technique, a school focused on film and entertainment will prepare you for the road ahead. There is one element that may not be touched on in school and that is precision and time. A makeup artist has to be able to work quickly and efficiently. They are often the last stop before a scene is shot. You never want to be the reason a shooting schedule is delayed. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. There may be a job calling for special effects makeup and that will invariably take much longer than say, era makeup from the 1940s. Have what you need on hand and make a cohesive sketch or outline of what you need to get your job done and done well. In the beginning you will be working as an assistant to the lead or key makeup artists and you must be willing to do what is asked of you. Ask questions and do whatever is necessary to be the most diligent and hardworking person on set. It will always be remembered. (As will you being the one holding things up.)

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