Friday, March 18, 2011

Managing Your Makeup Career in Film or TV

The Film and TV makeup industry is a totally different vibe than runway, bridal, or photo shoot experiences.
Filming on set can be a long day with lots of waiting and checking consistency of makeup and lots of craft services (my favorite). I always joke that you can earn a secondary degree online while you wait for filming.

Most artist beginning their career in this industry getting unpaid jobs doing makeup/hair for student films, which is a great way to jump start your career! Most film students move on to paid jobs so making strong connections is very important, they tend to take people  with them to the top whom helped them when they where just beginning. - Classic story! It always happens! Trust me!

What you need to know and be aware of about this industry:

  • The Makeup Union 
  • Working on set
  • Who to know and why
  • What to do when arriving on set 
  • Understanding paperwork - Getting paid 
  • How TV makeup differs from print makeup
  • On Set etiquette 

Getting the job:
  1. You will need to call or go to your local Film School or Academy and get the name of students currently doing student films projects.
  2. Make sure you ask open ended questions in order to fulfill the requirements of the job. i.e makeup looks, how many actors, female or male ratio, what type of theme or style the makeup will be done, who will be the hair dresser, will there different locations to shoot at? etc. 
  3. Your Makeup kit will need to be cleaned and organized in order to produce great clean work. 
  4. Your tools of the trade must be fully stocked. i.e. q-tips, cotton rounds etc.
  5. Attention you details when it comes to scheduling is imperative. Start by adding reminders on your schedule. 
  6. Make sure you update your phone and email message to represent a professional etiquette. 

On Set, You Observe and learn! 

Come to the set to know where everyone and everything is positioned.  Note where the camera/ actor/ talent/ director are all located. This is crucial for you to know. Decide where the best place for you to be or NOT TO BE. 

On Set Etiquette: Silence IS GOLDEN! 
A makeup artist/hair dresser should always be SEEN working, not talking and especially not gossiping! Let people see you not hear you. If you are at a level 12 and everyone is chillen at a level 6, bring it down a couple of levels. 

Find out what kind of shot will take place. (close up/ medium/ wide shot) Know your lenses. If you don't ask the camera guy. He will be a great asset to you! 

Always direct your questions to the 1st AD (Assistant Director) 
Know who's who so they can assist you.

Know and understand your lighting with makeup- this will let you know how much or little is required.
The monitor is your friend, keep a close eye on the screen and check in detail all features (eyes, lips, foundation, powder, consistency, balance and such). 

Keep a loaded ON SET bag with quick touch up makeup supplies ready. This prevents you waisting time going back and fourth. 

Please check website for current information as some requirements have changed and are in the process of changing. Thank you! 

All this information is based on my past and personal on set experience. There will be a section 2 added to this. Please stay tuned. 

Please share and send to help other professionals in the industry. 


Adrian Villa
the makeup artist 


  1. hey you can see Sydney based mobile freelance hair and makeup artist providing service for film, television, wedding makeup, advertising, corporate, events and specializing in bridal makeup. they are amazing....

  2. Some time I wonder whether I will get the information I am looking for. But you have given complete information which I required.

    Top skin doctors in chandigarh
    Beauty treatment in mohali
    Acne treatment in chandigarh

  3. This is really great Information. If you are searching Freelance Bridal Makeup Artist in Chandigarh then call us on 9779777996. Thanks

  4. I was looking at some of your posts on this website and I conceive this web site is really instructive! Keep putting up..
    makeup artist