When movie makeup artists' work goes unnoticed, they feel they've done a fantastic job, as do many behind-the-scenes specialists in the entertainment industry.
The hair and makeup department's goal is for moviegoers to witness a horrifying army of undead zombies, not an army of extras wearing pounds of makeup and prosthetics. This isn't to say that working as a film makeup artist or special effects makeup artist is simple; it requires years of training and unwavering dedication to work regularly and successfully.
What Does a Makeup Artist for Film Do?
Makeup artists for feature films and television create and apply theatrical makeup designs for actors. The complexity and style of design will vary based on the production and character, but good makeup artists can pull off a variety of looks from any genre and period.
The 4 Types of Makeup Artists in the Film Industry
In the makeup department, four primary job titles define what a makeup artist's responsibilities on a Hollywood set will be:
1. Each actor's makeup is designed by the key makeup artist. Makeup for leading roles and actresses is applied by key makeup artists, who also carry out any exceptionally difficult designs. The lead makeup artist delegated and oversaw the makeup artists and assistants, ensuring that the makeup looked consistent throughout the entire shoot.
2. Makeup artist: Makeup artists apply makeup to the supporting cast and non-lead performers. Makeup artists work under the direction of the key makeup artist and are in charge of carrying out the original designs of the key makeup artist.
3. Makeup assistants help makeup artists with body makeup (including anybody art or body painting) and other modest jobs. The primary makeup artist may also enlist the help of a makeup assistant to photograph the cast's makeup in case of reshoots.
4. Special effects makeup artists (also known as SFX makeup artists) are in charge of special make-up effects like prosthetics and foam latex (a special compound used for three-dimensional prosthetic effects).
The whole makeup department works out of a dedicated makeup trailer and is present on set for the length of the production in case any touch-ups or modifications are required.
What is a Makeup Artist for Special Effects?
Makeup and prosthetics are used by special effects makeup artists to mimic wounds, deformities, wrinkles, and otherworldly characteristics. For more dramatic effects, SFX makeup artists combine their expertise in basic cinema makeup with advanced SFX makeup procedures. An SFX makeup artist's job is tough because of its variety: one day, they might use spirit gum to apply a bald cap and wrinkles to an actor to artificially age them, while the next day, they might use liquid latex and prosthetic makeup to turn an actor into a zombie.
What's Included in a Makeup Kit for Special Effects?
Makeup artists that specialize in special effects employ specialized tools:
1. Bruise and abrasions wheel: A cosmetic wheel with colours designed to mimic the appearance of bruises.
2. Liquid latex is used to give skin injuries and prostheses a three-dimensional texture.
3. Spirit gum is a simple, non-toxic adhesive used to secure prosthetics and wigs to performers' heads and faces.
How to Become a Movie Makeup Artist: Skills and Education
Professional film makeup artists come from a diverse range of backgrounds and pursue several careers in the entertainment industry. Nonetheless, most cinematic makeup artists possess a set of essential abilities and certifications.
1. Cosmetology school is a school for women who want to work in the beauty industry Accredited cosmetology and beauty schools provide makeup courses that run anywhere from one to eight months and can assist with licensing and professional placement once the program is completed. Los Angeles is home to the majority of the best makeup schools for people interested in working in cinema.
2. Experience. Students will learn basic makeup artistry techniques in makeup school, but those who want to work in the film industry will need more production experience. Working for free on low-budget films or student projects at film school is a common way to gain experience and credits.
3. Portfolio. A portfolio of images demonstrating some of the signatures looks developed by aspiring makeup artists should be included in their portfolio. A good portfolio will include a variety of different makeup looks.
4. Professional equipment is available. Any aspiring makeup artist should have at least the bare essentials in their makeup kit.
5. A positive outlook. Aside from technical makeup talents, successful cinematic makeup artists can work well with others and leave their ego at home. With early call times and tight constraints, working with other makeup artists and performers in makeup trailers may be difficult.