What do Makeup Artists do?Makeup Artists work on feature films and on some commercials and pop promos, working to the chief makeup artist. Makeup and hair are key elements in the overall design of films or television productions, creating a look for the characters in relation to social class, and time periods, and any other elements required to create the desired illusion. Makeup Artists should be experienced in using a wide variety of professional makeup products. They must be able to work to makeup designs to meet production requirements. They also work with facial hair, and may be required to affix any required small prosthetics. They oversee makeup continuity on their performer(s) during the shoot, and remove products as required. Makeup Artists are recruited onto films during pre-production and work throughout production, usually on a freelance basis. The hours are long and the job can involve long periods working away from home.
What is the job?
Makeup Artists are briefed by chief makeup artists, who provide them with detailed notes, character and scene breakdowns, and if necessary reference pictures about the characters they must create. Occasionally they may only receive a rough brief, and must produce their own script breakdown, and research and create their own design notes. They work on principal and supporting Actors, and depending on the schedule, usually look after several Actors throughout the shoot. They are responsible for maintaining the continuity of their Artists' "look". They must also carry out full risk assessments, and develop procedures to control risks.
On smaller productions Makeup Artists must be able to negotiate terms with appropriate suppliers and prosthetic makers, provide them with design specifications, and ensure that they deliver to specific deadlines. They discuss color palettes with Production and Costume Designers. They make appointments for, and if necessary, go with actors to facial hair fittings, prosthetic castings, optician and dental appointments. They ensure that actors are comfortable with their look, note any allergies or sensitivities and report them to appropriately qualified personnel.
Personal Makeup Artists are specifically requested by one of the principal Actors to work exclusively on their makeup, and they have autonomy within the department. Although they receive a rough brief from the makeup designer, they prepare their own script breakdown, and research and create, and are ultimately responsible for, their own designs. However, they must work within the overall design of each production. Dailies work on productions on a day to day basis, usually on large crowd scenes.
In all cases, Makeup Artists check whether actors have any skin conditions in advance, and make sure that any allergies or sensitivities are taken into consideration, and report them to the relevant head of department. They apply makeup, affix prosthetics, apply products and use specialized techniques to create specific designs. They work with facial hair and false pieces, such as beards and moustaches. They may also apply special effects makeup, e.g., grazes, cuts and bruises, and bald caps.
Makeup Artists usually accompany their performers onto set, and stand by during their scenes, touching up makeup between takes, and ensuring that continuity notes are maintained using digital or Polaroid photographs. When the scenes have been shot, Makeup Artists remove performers' makeup. They remove facial hair and small prosthetics, ensuring that they are cleaned and prepared for further use. Makeup Artists may be required to assist with any subsequent publicity shots.
Makeup Artist jobs which have appeared on the Media Match jobs board:
Job description sources include (but are not limited to) imdb.com, skillset.org and wikipedia.