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Becoming a Makeup Artist

Updated on January 16, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna worked on many productions as PA, Craft Services, Talent Scout, Grip, and Producer. Credits include Bowling for Columbine, Wallace.

More Than Your Dreams

I know some very talented makeup artists who work in the industry. Some in San Fransico and others in Hollywood. It can be a fun and challenging job. The hardest part is establishing yourself in the industry. You start at the bottom rung and work your way up to the top. If you appreciate working with people on an intimate level, helping people look their best for the camera and fans, you will do fine. But, you have to be willing to work super hard and be on your feet all day. Most likely, you will be one of the last people to leave the set. The job is yours if you can handle its responsibility.

Once you have your foot in the door and a career of steady and well-paid work, you can just keep it glamorous by setting up appointments with celebrities before red carpets, interviews and the like. Or, you can work on a film set. Whatever you desire.

Whatever you choose as a makeup artist, it is important to keep your integrity and never bank on your profession. Keep your cards to your chest and your nose clean. You will succeed far more than your dreams could imagine.

Living in Los Angeles

While making up the performers she learned the different types of stage makeup, and she learned how to apply the different types.

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Liked Doing Makeup


Laura was living in Los Angeles and working at a cosmetic counter when she got involved doing makeup for school plays. While making up the performers she learned the different types of stage makeup, and she learned how to apply the different types of makeup to create believable characters. In the process, Laura discovered how much she liked doing makeup, and she was successful.

Getting Experience

Deciding that she wanted to make this her career in films, Laura got in touch with some of the major studios. However, they wouldn't hire her because she wasn't a union member, and she needed to have a job to be in the union. The standard problem for most novices in film careers is you need the experience to get a job but you can't get experience unless you have a job.

The standard problem for most novices in film careers is you need the experience to get a job but you can't get experience unless you have a job.

Started with Independent Movies

She decided to contacted several independent movie companies because independent films usually have an agreement with the union that they don't have to hire union members. With some persistence, she managed to talk her way into a job on a biker movie as a makeup assistant, helping the makeup artist, do whatever needed to be done.

Another important point to breaking into the film business be willing to do whatever is needed to help get the movie made. You have to be willing to work hard and be ready to help your immediate boss.

Source

Although the work wasn’t easy, she really enjoyed herself and knew she was taking a step in the right direction.

One Thing Led to Another

As these things started to happen, one thing led to another, and eventually, she got a job working on a horror film. She helped create and do the makeup for the monster character in the film. Although the work wasn’t easy, she really enjoyed herself and knew she was taking a step in the right direction.

Great Tips

Creating Monsters

Laura is still working as a makeup artist for independent movie companies that produce horror, science fiction, and biking films. She still doesn't have a union card, but she is making a good living at doing what she does best -- creating monsters.

All in all, she will join the union eventually. When she does, all her hard work will have paid off.

What Do You Think

Which industry would you like to be a makeup artist?

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Laura's Advice

Laura’s advice for those who want to do special effects makeup is to a get a job selling cosmetics. “Once you learn the basics,” she says, “you can offer to do makeup for school and community theaters, or talk to your friends into letting you practice on them. The important thing,” she asserts, “is to practice your craft.”

Live Your Dream

You too can live your dream and become a makeup artist in any field. Laura entered a legendary field that is rewarding artistically as well as financially.

© 2016 Kenna McHugh

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