The Film Makeup Artist

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Introduction

Continuing the series of What is a Makeup Artist, today I will be talking about the role of the Film Makeup Artist.

If you have a passion to become a Makeup Artist in Film or Television you will most certainly need a variety of different skills not to mention an extreme passion for creativity, an immense attention to detail, a longing for an ever changing work environment and stamina – to withstand those long filming hours, early morning starts and late nights shoots in all precarious weather conditions and environmental surroundings!

Basic skills needed for Film Makeup Artistry:

  • Basic Hair & Makeup for men & women
  • Wig knotting and weaving
  • Period hair skills and knowledge
  • Barbering & Hair Cutting
  • Skin Camouflage
  • SFX and Prosthetics application
  • Theatrical & Character Makeup
  • Fashion Makeup
  • Airbrushing
  • Body Art including Tattoo’s
  • Understanding the importance of Continuity & Script Break Down
  • Onset etiquette, working in the industry and the importance of researching accurately.
film makeup artist

The Makeup Designer for Film or Television

Lets take Peter Swords King by way of a leading example within the makeup industry. Peter King is a top Hollywood makeup designer within Film. Oscar & BAFTA Award winner for many various movies including The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit, King Kong, Alice in Wonderland and Pirates of The Caribbean (to name just a few of his many accolades)

peter king takes a lecture

Peter King’s job is to read and break down scripts, create a design brief for each individual character, create an overall image and set the tone of the movie. Peter works with the producers, director, storywriters and cast members to ensure that the overall image is correct, accurate and accomplished. Whilst filming, the Makeup Designer will oversee the whole production through to its entirety.

The Makeup Designer will enlist a team of experts to help create the characters needed within the film. The following specialists will include:

SFX & Prosthetics Makeup Artists

To mould, sculpt and create pieces that will be applied to leading artists and additional cast members.

prosthetics makeup artist

Wig Makers

To supply and produce wigs, facial and body postiche for the production.

The Makeup Artist team

A team of Makeup Artists to help with the full production (These will be the Make Up Designers Main Team)

The Makeup Team

Makeup Supervisor

The main point of contact for all communication. The Makeup Supervisor ensures all design briefs are met accurately and all the main team understand exactly what their job specification is. The Makeup supervisor looks after the principal leading artist/ artists. He/ she will attend meetings with the director and producers to ensure makeup budgets are met and all makeup requirements are administered upon commencement of the production. They will also be present on set with his or her main artist at all times during filming.

1st Makeup Assistant

Works closely with the supervisor to ensure the makeup continuity file is correct and up to date, makeup call sheets are adhered to, the makeup team are notified of individual call times & working hours and makeup stock is kept up to date. This person will also look after the main leading artist/ artists. Including on set duties with his/ her main artist at all times.

2nd & 3rd Makeup Assistant(s)

Look after main cast members ensuring they are on set with them at all times during filming & notify the crowd room supervisor of additional makeup artists bookings on busy crowd room days needed for Supporting Artists (S.A’s).

Crowd Room Makeup Supervisor

This person looks after the crowd room ensuring the crowd room runs smoothly and all additional Makeup Dailies/ Freelance Makeup Artists are booked, issued with a call sheet and design brief prior to their booking ensuring the makeup dailies knows what to bring and where to go/ park and who to invoice etc.

Crowd Room Makeup Assistant

They will look after the S.A continuity file and the rest of the Freelance Makeup Artists/Daily Makeup Artists.

Freelance Makeup Artists

Makeup artists who are non-contracted and work on various different productions, they are competent with all hair and makeup skills to work to many different design briefs across many spectrums of the industry.

Trainee Makeup Artists

This person is a relatively new member to the makeup industry and pursues a passion to work in film having recently completed his or her training. A Trainee Makeup artist’s job is to observe the rest of his or her team learning knew skills whilst being a competent, useful and helpful team member by helping other Makeup Artists with the S.A Continuity file, ensuring all images are captured for reference, doing breakfast runs, and ensuring the makeup room is kept clean and stocked up.

In my next blog I will be discussing the Makeup Artists roles within Television production.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a professional Film Makeup Artist contact the Bath Academy of Media Makeup, they will put you on the right path to finding the best course that is right for you.

At BAMM we make sure you’re prepared to grab this opportunity with both hands. We cover every aspect of Makeup artistry as well as all the other things you’ll need to know from film set etiquette to invoicing your clients.

If you are serious about a career in makeup, we’re serious about you.

Other posts in this series

The Television Makeup Artist

The Theatre Makeup Artist

What is a Makeup Artist?

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About the Author

Melanie Crump

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Melanie Crump is the founder and Academy Principal of the Bath Academy of Media Makeup. Born and raised in Bath, Melanie left home as a teenager to train as a Makeup Artist in London. Since 2002 she has worked successfully in many fields of the media; Television Drama, Fashion, Entertainment, Music, News, Sport and Current affairs.