The Film Industry is a world all unto its own. It employs millions, pushes the world of creativity and innovation, and entertains the masses. Finding a way into that world can seem like a daunting task, but it just might take a little extra clout and some diligence. To execute the making and production of a film, there are a number of people that make it happen. A film crew consists of tons of different elements and each one is key in completing a single project. For those looking into being a crucial part of the process, someone who is vital to the end result ñ in other words, a Makeup Artist, there are some basics you should know beforehand.
For those of you seeking a profession as a makeup in the film and entertainment industry, training is going to be key. There are a lot of choices out there that will enable you to obtain the proper training and get you started in your career in the film industry. You can begin with obtaining a Cosmetology or Esthetician license in States where that license is offered (keep in mind it isn't necessary but it will help), you can attend a makeup academy like MUD (Makeup Designory) or Studio Makeup Academy in Hollywood, you can learn through a film program at any accredited university, or you can become an understudy at a local playhouse. The important thing is differentiating between makeup for film and makeup for everything else. Some key ingredients to having a successful makeup career in film is understanding how filmmaking works. That entails learning about lighting and story, working with your sister departments in Wardrobe and Hair, and maintaining professionalism while on set. All of which you will learn while working, but some of which you should learn before getting your feet wet. When you are exploring your options, here are some important things to consider:
What Kind of Training Do I Need?
A license: Cosmetology or Esthetician. If you go this route, the road is not a short one. However it is a great foundation. Depending on where you are located, training varies and each license requires set hours and practical application. For a Cosmetology license, you are looking at completing anywhere between 1500-3000 hours or for an Esthetician's license, you are going to be required to complete anywhere between 800-1500 hours. Each one has specific training and depending on how expansive you want your repertoire of skills to be, you will have to choose accordingly. Keep in mind that even with a license, you will still need additional training for film.
Makeup Academies. There are a number of Makeup Academies across the nation and abroad, each one geared towards different things. For film, however, you will need to go to a school that focus' on the fundamentals of film and how makeup and special effects translate on camera. Getting that training can be costly, but in the end, will be well worth it. If you decide to enroll in a specific makeup program geared towards Film amd Television like MUD, you will be enrolled in a complete program and tuitions can run somewhere in the range of $8,000-$17,000. Keep in mind that is not always the case and there are certainly more affordable programs like the Studio Makeup Academy located on the Gower Studios lot. What is most important is researching programs in your area AND making sure these schools fit your personal needs.
An accredited University's Film Program. If you are already pursuing a degree in film you are going to have a huge advantage when you start working. Nothing beats hands on knowledge and training. You will establish contacts and relationships, learn the importance of lighting and story, learn how things translate onto camera, have a concise understanding of the many parts it takes to make a film, and, above all, you will have the familiarity of working on a live set. That experience will be invaluable, as well as giving you an edge in the marketplace once you actively pursue your career.
Unions. There are also Unions you can belong to once you have successfully completed your training. In the U.S., there are two: Local 706 (West Coast) and Local 798 (East Coast). You are not required to be in the Union but for large-scale productions and television series, you will be asked to join. Many well-funded projects do require it but there are plenty of non-union jobs, including most independent films and projects.