Saturday, July 27, 2013

What Kind of Makeup Artist Do You Want to Be?

When I first started as a MUA I decided that I wanted to try doing every type of makeup application I could. There was something that I enjoyed about it all, from special fx to bridal.  Besides my love for everything, I also really enjoy a challenge and when other experienced MUA's told me I couldn't successfully do all aspects of makeup I wanted to "prove them wrong". Keep in mind I was 18 and thought I knew it all. In bridal, I loved the idea of being a part of such a special day, with film I liked the idea of being behind the scenes watching a movie come together, with print work I loved the creativity behind the shoots, with special fx I loved being able to turn people into monsters, sound familiar? Many makeup artists start out with this idea, that they will be the one to be an expert in EVERY technique. That's how I would describe my first few years of being an aspiring MUA. 

My VERY first photoshoot on the left and one of my latest on the right 7yrs later

One day I was doing a runway show, the next day I was doing a student film. I was so eager to make a name for myself that I spread myself all over the industry and never really focused on one type of artistry. Now that I look back I would have done things a little differently, listened to my MUA seniors, and kicked my ego to the curb. Let me explain what I mean by this.

In the process, I was able to really get a taste for different styles of makeup and narrow down which ones I enjoyed. I did realize that I loved print work and bridal BUT and this is a big but, it took me SO much longer to build my portfolio because I was spending days at a time on set for student films. For example, I was taking on film projects which can take days and weeks. This is all time I could have spent building my print book or bridal business which is where my heart is. 

So what are your choices as a Makeup Artist and do some of them overlap?

PRINT - A print Makeup Artist works with creative directors, photographers, hair stylist, stylist, model agencies, talent agencies, celebrities, and talent managers. Your work can be seen in magazine editorials, magazine advertisements, corporate advertisements, posters, the red carpet live and in photos. Your goal usually is to collect as many tear sheets and celebrity clients as possible. 

Editorial starring Monique Calhoun from ANTM Cycle 6 Makeup by Brandie Carlos
VIDEO - Print MUA's tend to work in video as well this can include music videos, YouTube videos, promo videos, educational videos and more. In this case you work with celebrities, talent, directors, producers, camera crew, lighting crew, audio crew, stylist, managers, and it can all vary project to project. 

                             Watch me doing makeup Behind the Scenes for Tyrese Gibson

COMMERCIAL - The crew is similar to video but the outcome is a commercial or infomercial.

PERFORMANCE - These MUA's work on artist for live concerts or even are hired to do road tours. This category also includes runway shows, performing arts, theatre, and dance. This category can really prep an artist that aspires to work in the Film industry. Most of these require quick wardrobe changes and efficient application along with speed. 

  Debbie Allen's Hot Chocolate Nutcracker at UCLA 2011 I was fortunate to do Makeup for the production

TELEVISION - Artist that work on in the television industry work with a similar team to video and commercial. Although more people can be added such as PA's, production coordinators and more. Television includes shows with episodes, sitcoms, miniseries, drama, soap operas, talk shows, reality, comedy, and more. The aspect many makeup artists appreciate about this niche is that if a show goes on for years, that is a steady paycheck and consistent work.

Still from Sex and the City Makeup NOT by me

FILM - Again a similar behind the scenes team. Usually, you work with a team of makeup artist that can vary from beauty MUA's to the best special effects makeup artist. Sometimes you can work in your local city and other times you must travel to a location. For example, Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed in Jamaica, Hawaii, and a ton of other places. You must travel with your kit and hope it doesn't get lost on the plane. For the most part these MUA's are part of the union. 

Iconic Elizabeth Taylor in 1963's Cleopatra
SPECIAL MAKEUP EFFECTS - These makeup artists are my absolute favorite and I admire them so much for the quality of their work. These makeup artists are literally scientist and work really hard to create one of a kind looks. They can be the difference between a realistic film and it looking very amateur. They work with various chemicals to create breathtaking characters. This specialty can vary from adding prosthetics to actual animatronics. It deserves more than a paragraph trust me. If you want to work in film, tv or be part of the Makeup Artist Union basic special effects is a requirement.

I'm not sure who the artist is but this look incredible!

BODY & FACE PAINTING - These artists use special makeup and/or airbrush to create beautiful creations both on the face, body and sometimes on both. You must be aware of hygiene, be comfortable with nudity, and become as efficient as possible since some of these pieces can take a  few hours to create.

I love this piece by the amazing Jen Seidel Master Body Painter & MUA

BRIDAL - This can be one of the most rewarding aspects of makeup. Bridal allows you to be a part of an incredibly special day for a couple especially a bride. Many bridal artists use airbrush because it is one of the best lasting mediums. It's also best to have a contract to ensure you will keep the job since most weddings start getting planned a year or more ahead of time. Normally you will also be doing a trial makeup application ahead of time so that the bride sees your work. This position does require you to also be good with people since wedding mornings can be hectic or emotional. 

My work on Bride Jovie

The list can go on and on with choices that we have as makeup artists. Think about how this translates to your portfolio. A bride will not hire you with a book full of special effects makeup and a creative director won't hire you with a book full of blushing brides. Once I really understood this part, it got easier for me to pick the jobs I wanted, to test with people, and to build my book. Personally, I live for print, music videos, and bridal. This makes it easy for me to accept or decline work and concentrate on my goals. So take a  moment to pick a few aspects and try focusing on that specific niche. If there is something you're curious about, try it out but ultimately try to focus on becoming the best print makeup artist or best special effects makeup artist.

There are some techniques that overlap I focus on print but I know how to airbrush, do basic special effects, create beauty looks, how to apply makeup for HD film and TV, basic body painting, but I don't know advanced special effects makeup or spray tanning. The beauty of this industry is that you can pick and choose what you want to work in, there is never a boring day.