Makeup Artist’s Union: Local 706
In the film industry, there are a number of Unions that were created to protect those in the Industry. Among them are Union Local 706 and Local 798, the Makeup Artist’s and Hairstylist’s Union. In order to even get into the Union, there are a number of things that need to be completed beforehand. There are both non-union and union rules but even non-union makeup artists CAN get into Local 706 and 798. There are procedures and ways to accumulate enough “active” working time and with the accompanying documentation, artists can apply.
One basic principle in working anywhere in film is knowing that there are Union jobs and Non-Union jobs. A little background on what the Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Union on the West Coast is: Local 706 is the Union for makeup artists and hairstylists. The scope of makeup covered ranges from basic makeup to prosthetics and special effects. The Union was created in 1937 after film became a relatively large medium of entertainment. With ever-changing advances in technology and the ability to tell story in a much broader scope, like every other aspect of film, filmmakers and Union understood how important makeup and hair was on set. There are numerous ways to get into the union and that’s where it can get a little tricky. There is a misconception that in order to be in the union, you can only do union gigs. That, however, poses a problem since union jobs won’t hire those who aren’t “union.” It seems like a dead-end but it’s actually not. There are plenty of ways around that. For starters, when you just begin your career, you have to work for free ninety percent of the time. You’ll need to expand your makeup artist portfolio. And so, you take non-union jobs.
There is also an East Coast Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Union known as Local 708. Local 798 was established in 1949 as a result of a growing industry. While makeup artists had been actively working on the East Coast in avenues outside of television, such as the Metropolitan Opera or Broadway, film and television were becoming widely popular. As jobs increased and productions continued, a need for a Union began and so Local 798 was born.
There are fees associated with joining the Union, which we will get into later but when you pay your dues, literally, it puts you in a “club.” By saying that, it just means that now you’re considered legitimate in the Industry. You are protected and you are among the ranks of those who have completed all of the requirements to actually make it in the Union. With that, any makeup job you get from that point forward gives you the security that there are pay scales, benefits, and you are protected.