May 6, 2013
Successful films don’t happen by accident. They are a result of numerous specialists, working together to tell a story on screen. Makeup artists are an essential part of this process, transforming actors into their characters and creating new experiences on film. A talented film makeup artist can turn a 25-year old actress into an elderly woman, or transform a handsome man into an other-worldly creature. There are several ways that you can break into this business, and understanding what separates the amateurs from the professionals is essential to a long-lasting career as a film makeup artist.
First Step to Becoming a Film Makeup Artist
The first step in becoming a film makeup artist is to attend and graduate from cosmetology school. These schools will teach you color technique, shading and makeup application. In addition to traditional cosmetology schools, there are courses that you can take in class or online that will teach you the ins and outs of film makeup artistry. These courses will teach you how to run your business, gain new contacts and move up in the field.
New York and Los Angeles are the top cities for filmmaking, so spending some time in these cities may help you to advance in your career. Many of the top artists started out in New York City and Los Angeles schools, and worked their way up to film stardom.
Gaining Valuable Experience
Most artists get their start by working as assistants for established makeup artists. These assistants have the opportunity to work on movie sets, network with producers and gain valuable industry contacts. Many cosmetology schools offer opportunities for co-ops, internships and apprenticeships.
While many movie studios hired on-staff artists in the past, most studios now hire film makeup artists on a freelance basis. These freelance makeup artists often connect with one actor and work with them throughout the duration of their career. Others work with one production house or actor for a few years, then move on to other opportunities.
Some cosmetology school graduates start off by working with amateur filmmakers and freelancers, building up a portfolio in the process. These artists are able to build up an impressive binder of work, giving them an edge over their inexperienced competitors.
Advancing Your Career as a Film Makeup Artist
Developing skill in a niche or specialty is the fastest way to move up in your career. Some makeup artists specialize in gore, performing services for horror films. Others focus on glamour makeup, creating award-winning art for feature films. Still others specialize in gender transformation makeup, turning hulking men into glamorous women and petite ladies into bodybuilding men.
The Tools of the Trade
Film makeup artists work with more than just brushes and makeup. These creative artists use prosthetics, masks and other implements to transform their subjects. Think of the popular film, Mrs. Doubtfire. Robin Williams’ character was transformed from a middle-aged man to an aging elderly grandmother figure. This type of transformation requires a great deal of skill, and makeup artists who can perform this type of work are in high demand.
Some cosmetics companies also offer training camps that offer in-depth training into techniques, terminology and tricks that will help you in the business. In many cases, there are weekend refresher courses that will help you brush up on your skills and earn more money in the business.
If you are interested in breaking into the lucrative world of film makeup artistry, there are many opportunities to move up in this creative field. The first step is to receive a comprehensive education in makeup artistry by attending a cosmetology school or makeup artist program. Apprenticeships and internships will help you to gain exposure and make connections in the industry. If you would like to become a makeup artist, contact us today and we will be more than willing to answer any questions you might have regarding beauty schools and how to enroll.