Forums > Hair, Makeup & Styling > Kit Fees and Film... how does this work?

Makeup Artist

Tegan Lynn MUA

Posts: 511

Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

So I understand that kit fees only belong in film and everyone hates them for TF etc, but there wasn't really any information in the FAQs on how they're actually used.

I may have the opportunity to work my first paid independent short film (I tested with the director/crew he works with last month) and I'd like to know how exactly kit fees work in film.

Is there a standard way the kit fee is decided upon? Do you charge a certain amount per day? Per face? Per job? Do you up your kit fee if you have to buy specific items for a character? Does the process differ from job to job? I have no idea!

It's just a local film, but I want to be as professional and knowledgeable as I possibly can. Any advice you have on the subject would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Dec 03 12 04:48 pm Link

Makeup Artist

BMR-MUA

Posts: 548

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Tegan Lynn MUA wrote:
So I understand that kit fees only belong in film and everyone hates them for TF etc, but there wasn't really any information in the FAQs on how they're actually used.

I may have the opportunity to work my first paid independent short film (I tested with the director/crew he works with last month) and I'd like to know how exactly kit fees work in film.

Is there a standard way the kit fee is decided upon? Do you charge a certain amount per day? Per face? Per job? Do you up your kit fee if you have to buy specific items for a character? Does the process differ from job to job? I have no idea!

It's just a local film, but I want to be as professional and knowledgeable as I possibly can. Any advice you have on the subject would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

First, look at Misunderstood/misused words and phrases for a simple definition of kit fee and other industry terms.

Since you're in Toronto, see Commercial Production Association of Toronto (CPAT) for current kit fees. Union rates (hourly) for feature films in Toronto are listed here

Dec 03 12 05:27 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Tegan Lynn MUA

Posts: 511

Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Thanks for the links, there's a lot of good information there. I understand what a kit fee is, and that it is charged in addition to daily rates. I was more wondering how the process of deciding what to charge for it is typically done. From the CPAT website I would infer that kit fees are charged on a daily basis. Is this typical?

My question is, since a kit fee is there to replenish the products and tools used, do you charge the same kit fee every day, or do you adjust it based on how much you used (ie: per face, even though that particular term isn't professional)? If you just did one actor's face and nothing but touch ups all day, would you charge the same kit fee you would if you did a whole bunch of faces? I haven't found an answer to this yet. I'm just wondering because since the kit fee is there to cover material costs, to me it logically makes sense that it would vary based on how much material was used. But since when were people logical? I don't want to assume and get it all wrong.

Dec 03 12 06:10 pm Link

Makeup Artist

BMR-MUA

Posts: 548

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Tegan Lynn MUA wrote:
Thanks for the links, there's a lot of good information there. I understand what a kit fee is, and that it is charged in addition to daily rates. I was more wondering how the process of deciding what to charge for it is typically done. From the CPAT website I would infer that kit fees are charged on a daily basis. Is this typical?

My question is, since a kit fee is there to replenish the products and tools used, do you charge the same kit fee every day, or do you adjust it based on how much you used (ie: per face, even though that particular term isn't professional)? If you just did one actor's face and nothing but touch ups all day, would you charge the same kit fee you would if you did a whole bunch of faces? I haven't found an answer to this yet. I'm just wondering because since the kit fee is there to cover material costs, to me it logically makes sense that it would vary based on how much material was used. But since when were people logical? I don't want to assume and get it all wrong.

Kit fees are usually paid by the day. Many makeup artists are hired on a day-by-day basis for films since sometimes there are days with many background performers when more makeup artists are needed and other days with only the principals on set. Kit fees are a set rate per day; it may be a standard rate for that production or individually negotiated. It would be a nightmare for the accounting department to try to cope with a variable kit fee! Kit fees only apply to "industry standard" makeup and tools. Prosthetic makeup is handled in a different way.

Dec 03 12 07:06 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Denise

Posts: 1916

Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

Technically the kit fee is a 'kit rental fee'. It is intended as a fee for wear & tear on your tools, brushes, etc. not to replace products used. Production usually provides a budget for items such as alcohol, sponges, tissues, disposables and any skin care or makeup products that need to be purchased specifically for the show or special requests by the actors. As Barry said, the daily kit fee is determined during pay negotiations/offers and included in your deal memo.

Dec 03 12 11:23 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Carmen Make up and Hair

Posts: 323

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I just recently did a few short films for students at Sheridan in Oakville.  They couldn't afford to pay me much so I asked them what their budget was. We agreed on a 'kit fee' that would cover products used AND wear and tear.
It was more than the 35$ maximum that was stated on the link posted above.  But it was much, much lower than my day rate.  I think that when you're not in the union, it is really dependent on the project.

Dec 04 12 11:21 am Link