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7 Steps To Become a Make-up Artist for Movies


This is a career that is as the acting career itself. In times past, movie production companies as well as television agencies would hire permanent make-up artists to handle make-up for any of their projects but these days, freelance make-up artists have taken over the trade. Movie production companies also find it cheaper to hire freelancers than to keep one on their payroll.
Being a make-up artist in the movie industry is quite different from being a regular make-up artist. The role of a movie make-up artist is very crucial to the overall success of a movie production. They work hand in hand with movie producers, directors and camera men to produce a desired look. Have you ever seen a movie where a 25 year old had to grow old in the movie?
The responsibility falls on the make-up artist to create a new look that would make the actor look older. They also have to do it in such a way that it becomes believable. They are also experts at accentuating features such that a slim person could be made to look fatter and vice versa. All those scenes where a person is hot and there are bullet wounds and blood stains are also the works of make-up artists. Basically, make-up artists help to tell a story. If you are interested in becoming a movie make-up artist, here are some skills that you must possess-:

4 Skills You Need to Become a Make-up Artist

  • Ability to work long and undefined hours-: You have to be able to put in long hours of work; sometimes undefined. This is not a kind of job where you have defined number of hours to work like a 9-5 job; this kind of job keeps you for hours that are sometimes unplanned.
  • Administrative Skills-: This is a business and you would be self-employed so you must know how to employ your resources effectively and use them to achieve desired results.
  • Effective Listening and Communication Skills-: You would be working with different types of people and you must know how to communicate with them. You must also be a good listener and listen to instructions effectively. You must also possess the ability to read, understand and interpret information correctly because you would be required to read movie scripts and understand them well in order to perform your job effectively.
  • Creative and Imaginative skills-: Another skill that you need to possess is creativity. You must be very creative and able to use your sense of imagination and visualization to create desired looks.
These are just some of the essential skills you would need to guarantee your success in your career as a movie make-up artist. Now before you get to the top, you would need to take some very important steps which include-:

How to Become a Make-up Artist for Movies

1. Choose a niche-: Even within the movie industry, there are different types of make-up artists. Some are regarded as beauty make-up artists and they are just responsible for making actors look beautiful on screen. There are also some others who are responsible for creating some of the special effects mentioned above. We also have make-up artists that specialize on airbrush make-up. Therefore, the first step to take when starting your career as a make-up artist is to select a preferred niche by studying the various niches and settling for one which you feel you would be better at.
2. Get Trained-: There are specialized make up schools where aspiring movie makeup artists could get trained. If you live in the US, you could find such schools in New York or London if you live in Europe. There are also such schools in Los Angeles. If you can afford it, it’s better to attend such schools where you can be given professional training and certification however, you can still get one-on-one training from an already-established movie make-up artist.
3. Create a portfolio-: Your portfolio is what you would show to prospective employers as an evidence of your expertise. When you are done with training, get yourself a very good camera and some friends who would be willing to act as a model for you then you can now start applying different types of make ups synonymous with different movie genres. Put the pictures together in a digital file that you can send along with your applications.
4. Start scouting for jobs-: It’s a very competitive industry and you have to work very hard to get jobs especially if you are a new comer in the industry. You may find it difficult to get people to trust you to handle their projects especially if you have never handled such big projects. Therefore, you should consider starting out as an assistant to an established make-up artist and then rise through the ranks to a point where people can now start trusting you to handle projects alone. You can also work with management agencies that help make-up artists get jobs.
5. Consider doing some free jobs-:You can actually get people to notice you faster by doing some free jobs. You could look for a low budget movie and talk to the directors about working with them for free; that way, you can add more practical experience to your portfolio and get more people to notice you especially if you do a very good job.
6. Network with people in the industry-: Now is the time to start making friends with people in the movie industry. Cameramen, actors, movie directors, producers; all these people could help you get jobs in the industry.
7. Learn new skills-: You must be ready to improve on your skills and learn new things. The truth is that in the movie industry, there are more make-up artists than there are job and your ability to adapt to changes and learn new skills is what would help you keep your job. Therefore, you should try to learn new skills regularly and keep up with trends in the industry in order to ensure that you always stay ahead of your competitors.

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