How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

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Knowing how to do beauty makeup and special effects makeup is useful if you want to work in Hollywood.

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

The deep purple-black eyes of “ghosts with more”. The delicate seams of the barber and scissor hand. The cap trembles with the swelling voice of the father who masquerades as a matronly girlfriend. The eyeliner and dreadlocks of the most infamous pirate of the Caribbean.

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Ve Neill, a makeup artist who won three Oscars (and received eight nominations), is responsible for bringing the concept of these characters to life. Their work shows the central role these artists play in the Hollywood dream factory.

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

The Times asked four makeup professionals — Neill, Ashley Hines, Ally McGillicuddy and Jennifer “JQ” Quinteros — for advice on how to break into and succeed in this line of work. Here are their opinions.

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How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

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Hines, who is just starting her career, and Neill, who has decades of experience, agree that anyone with an enthusiasm for makeup can pursue a career. But there are some things you have to keep in mind.

Like many other roles in Hollywood, becoming a successful makeup artist requires not only talent, but also a willingness to put in some work and the ability to navigate obstacles with finesse.

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

Taking inspiration from YouTuber creators, Hines started by doing her own makeup. She experimented with different beauty looks and special effects on her Instagram account. As he continued to explore the craft, he slowly began delving into special effects makeup, simulating cuts with wax marks and blood gel, and applying prosthetics to completely transform himself. Now he is pursuing a career in it.

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McGillicuddy always knew that they wanted to work in Hollywood. And when the game show “Face Off” (which featured Neill as a judge) first aired on Syfy in 2011, McGillicuddy decided that the art of makeup, particularly special effects makeup, was the path they wanted to take. .

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

Before Neill started doing makeup, he was a regular at Sci-Fi conventions in the 70s. One day he met a group of actors dressed as “Planet of the Apes.”

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What he thought were masks were intricately made special effects makeup, something he would become an expert at.

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“I said, ‘Can you teach me how to do this?'” Neill recalls. “And they said, ‘But you’re a girl. And I said, ‘I know. Isn’t that fabulous?'”

Although YouTube offers a wealth of educational material on the subject, there is no substitute for hands-on experience, he said, especially in making prosthetics used for some makeup effects.

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

Hines has been a student at the Cinema Makeup School in Los Angeles for just over six months. For him, the process was worth it.

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But getting started is expensive, upwards of $30,000 for a full education, including tuition, lab fees, and a starter kit.

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

Even without schooling, Quinteros warns that becoming a makeup artist is an initial investment with a slow return.

You must have your own kit, and unlike other departments, you can not reuse most products, he said. “You don’t get it back at the end of the show.

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

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McGillicuddy didn’t go to makeup school. Instead, they majored in communications and arts at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. For the internship required to earn a degree, they decided to come to Los Angeles to work with a makeup artist. They haven’t looked back since.

As you hone your craft, Neill said, you’ll need to be relentless in making connections. They are your ticket.

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

“Then we did not call it network,” he said. “It was word of mouth. I got a job because I knew five other people who did make-up effects.”

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Hines said some of his teachers who are working on production will bring students to help. The more you work in class and on set, he said, the more likely you are to start building a relationship, which will later develop into job opportunities.

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

At Film Makeup School, Hines is learning how to do all aspects of makeup work, which opens him up to a wider range of job opportunities than would be available to someone who wants to specialize in one thing.

And being a makeup and styling expert is your best bet to get in and stay in the business, Neill said. Knowing how to do beauty makeup and special effects, hair, and a little wardrobe can help you set yourself apart from other applicants.

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Quinteros is an example of this. He is best known for his work on “Outer Range,” “Snowfall,” and “Clemency,” which he described as a “fusion of many makeup looks, from beauty, period, and character to prosthetics and special effects. “

A special effects makeup specialist, Quinteros gained experience working as a makeup artist on short film series produced by American Film Institute students. She is now a graduate of Film Makeup School, and has over 150 credits listed on IMDb.

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

If you can’t afford an education, Quinteros said, you still have options to enter the industry. She suggests reaching out to special effects artists you see on Instagram, or even reaching out to professional makeup artists whose work on TV productions you admire.

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“Ask them to point you in the right direction or take you under their wing and start helping them,” he said.

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

It takes a team to style hair in a movie or TV show, whether the goal is to impress viewers with complicated styles or make the hair so uniform that no one thinks about it.

As you start building your portfolio, you can go from assistant makeup artist to head of the makeup department, just like Neill.

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

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According to Quinteros, one of the biggest misconceptions about the makeup department in general is that there is a fixed amount of anything. The hierarchy of the department at any given time depends on what the make-up is, how many actors are involved, how often an actor goes through the make-up and how long the sessions take, he said.

“The hardest thing trying to talk to new makeup artists is that they all want a box that they can put these restrictions on. But we don’t really have boxes here… It’s a bubble” that grows or shrinks depending the work..

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

But while the size of the makeup department on set varies, there will always be a certain number of key people. And it starts with a department head, whose job includes hiring and supervising crew members, finding the right materials needed for each scenario, aligning a laboratory to manufacture prosthetics and special effects, if necessary, and applying makeup.

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Another important member of the crew is the person who removes their makeup after the actors are done for the day. “Everyone forgets how long it takes to remove makeup,” Quinteros said. A third important piece: Someone who cleans the brushes and has all the materials ready to apply or remove.

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How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

“Mystique from ‘X-Men’ is a truly amazing example of head-to-toe makeup,” Quinteros said. “There are no clothes. There was no moment where Mystique was in an [X-Men] costume for this story. She’s mostly an animal, so the [clothes] she has are silicone prosthetics that she applies.”

“He had eight women involved in doing the make-up at the same time.” By the way, Quinteros said: “It took about a year to get the wheat that it should be.”

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

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Hollywood has had more than its share of dynasties like the Barrymores (actors John, Ethel, Lionel and Drew) and the Houstons (actors Walter, Anjelica and Jack and director John).

Landing a full-time job as a makeup artist for film or television can be lucrative, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: The Bureau estimates that the median annual salary was more than $124,000 in 2021. But this estimate ignores freelance artists. , which has most of the field. Estimate Indeed is much more modest: just under $ 30 an hour, or about $ 60,000 a year.

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

And like many jobs in Hollywood, it can be difficult to make ends meet as a beginner. Once you start working, it will probably take a few years to establish yourself.

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If you have to get extra work to make a log, Quinteros said, remember that it’s extra work. If you are offered a job as a makeup artist on the road, he said, you should take it, even if it means losing time from your other work.

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

In the early stages of his career, McGillicuddy said they would take any job that came their way, including unpaid work.

“Although it’s easier said than done, where do you want to be?” they said. “Do you want to be a server? Or do you want to be in the film industry?

How To Become A Film Makeup Artist

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