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Makeup Artist
ShannonJennings MUA
Posts: 118
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia


I am just wondering about assisting experienced artists (I am about to start sending out messages to very experienced mm'ers in my area) & if it is normal to work for free when you're starting out or if it's more normal to pay something? I really don't mind either way as I am brand new to all this, still have a casual job that pays well & don't need any money for assisting.

I just don't want to be taken advantage of. (while I certainly don't need or expect to be paid, I wouldn't turn my nose up at some extra kit-cash!)

I did a forum search & I didn't come up with anything on this subject but if anyone else finds anything please link for me.
Dec 26 12 01:26 pm  Link  Quote 
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Makeup Artist
TheMakeupMan
Posts: 3,752
Los Angeles, California, US


Id say its a bit of both for most but this also depends on who you are assisting ................


Sometimes you are paid in Knowledge and Experience
Sometimes you are paid in cash

Every artists is different and depending on what level they are at and what you are getting out of it also can lead to negotiating on your part

Some old timers from the days of when this craft was handed down from Artist to Artist will probably not pay you in cash , but you will get a hell of a lot of expeirince and training , to them Knowledge and training is your pay

But for newer artists , lets say with under 10 years of experience , you can negotiate for some pay

Im really weird about this sort of thing , ive been working for a long long time but if I allow someone new to assist me on a job they get paid ,   why ???? 
1 ) Becouse only slaves work for free 
2)I made a commitment to myself to always make sure everyone gets paid becouse I was "Tortured " in the old days trying to learn this stuff
and
3)  becouse I don't have time on my jobs to hold someones hand and explain everything , they are "thrown into the fire " so to speak , nothing that I belive is above their capabilities , but enough to push them, they learn on the job and  they work hard, and if they are not in the trailer working beside me , they are on set touching up the actors or models 
I expect everyone who works with me to bring something to the table regardless how new they are , I really dont need someone to hold my pallettes or wash my brushes , you have to be able to offer me something weather , its great energy, fun to be around , calming...... or some makeup skills   

I think you have to be really picky about who you assist as well as it HAS TO BE A PERSONALITY MATCH

dont get discouraged in you quest , the right match is out there but also you have to keep in mind that we spend anywhere from 6 to 18 hours " on set" a day so I better enjoy your company

hope that helps
Dec 26 12 04:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
ShannonJennings MUA
Posts: 118
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia


Thanks, this about what I expected but really helpful. (i just didn't want to look like a wally to be honest) Thanks a lot smile
Dec 26 12 05:29 pm  Link  Quote 
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Makeup Artist
TheMakeupMan
Posts: 3,752
Los Angeles, California, US


SJenningsMakeup wrote:
Thanks, this about what I expected but really helpful. (i just didn't want to look like a wally to be honest) Thanks a lot smile

Best of luck !!!!! 

See if anyone elese has something to add , this is a great topic and I'm sure you'll get a few different answers from different artists

Dec 26 12 08:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Crystal Rose Make up
Posts: 486
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


When I use an assistant I ( the company ) will pay and I usually organize the price on their behalf.

With that I expect a certian amount of experience and on set ettiquette as a given thing. 

I have been the key H&MUA on a few small films, where I have had paid assistants working along with voluntary ones,  who were happy to be given the experience.

I dont think there is any set rule if you can benifit from the job whether it be in $ or in experience. 

You will probable know when you are ready to take on paid jobs.
Dec 26 12 10:57 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Star
Posts: 17,925
Los Angeles, California, US


Part of the question is are you going to be a first assistant, a second assistant or a third assistant. As a first assistant you must have the right skills to assist (meaning you must already be pretty good and understand how to assist vs how to be key)

Another part is who are you assisting

if you are first assistant for an ok make-up artist who has little to teach you and barely needs to give you any direction you should be paid

If you are assisting and the key (or first assistant) needs to really watch you/train you in everything from application to set behavior than you are most likely costing the person more in time and effort than they are making off of having you on set then you shouldn't be paid.

If it is an unpaid test on the part of the key, you probably shouldn't ask for pay.

As with everything in life your level of skill matters. I, personally, have only once or twice used a non-paid assistant as a photographer but I have many times paid someone the equivalent of min wage to assist who has no experience in photography and taught them how to assist.
Dec 27 12 12:07 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Elizabethmakeup
Posts: 338
Hereford, England, United Kingdom


If you are just assisting, then don't expect any payment and I don't believe that you will need to worry about whether you're the first/second/third assistant; you only need to worry about that if you are working on a film in the MU department.
Dec 27 12 08:35 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Star
Posts: 17,925
Los Angeles, California, US


Elizabethmakeup wrote:
If you are just assisting, then don't expect any payment and I don't believe that you will need to worry about whether you're the first/second/third assistant; you only need to worry about that if you are working on a film in the MU department.

My last major editorial the make-up artists brought first assistants only, but I know some who employ up to three assistants on a large campaign shoot. Stills can be just as involved as video.

Dec 27 12 12:08 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
iva leah
Posts: 17
Brooklyn, New York, US


I got a bag of very fancy makeup from the last person I assisted - she had a lot of it from promotional work I think.
Dec 27 12 12:28 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Tara Pagliara MUA
Posts: 702
New York, New York, US


If I am getting paid my assistants get paid. If its an editorial they do not nor do I when I am assisting larger artists. But the amount of things you can learn in one day from watching them and observing their technique and their kits is pretty worth your time.
Also things to remember, NEVER GIVE YOUR CARD OUT EVER. Pay attention to them do not be on your phone the entire time. Be prepared to get coffee ect too smile
Dec 27 12 01:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Hair Stylist
Angel Graves
Posts: 2,358
Fort Collins, Colorado, US


As an assistant I've been paid cash and experience both but usually it's been for credits in the final product or gratis from the group I was working under.

I've paid assistants in gas cash + images/credits and just in experience + credits too depending on the work they were brought on for.  Bridal assistants always get a cut of the income and ad work is usually negotiated by what they need from the production.
So really when I choose an assistant it's for a) they need exposure to the work b) they are providing an invaluable service to me and then we negotiate from there.  If they need something I have no problem helping them get it if I can.  I've had a lot of valuable help as an assistant and believe in paying it forward wink
Dec 27 12 01:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
ShannonJennings MUA
Posts: 118
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia


Angel Graves wrote:
So really when I choose an assistant it's for a) they need exposure to the work b) they are providing an invaluable service to me and then we negotiate from there.

Getting a little off topic now, but I am reading this a lot in some older posts too about assisting & I guess I hadn't thought too deeply about what I can provide (beyond clean brushes, good company & hot lattes) when you say invaluable service, what does that mean to you Angel?

Dec 27 12 02:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Hair Stylist
Angel Graves
Posts: 2,358
Fort Collins, Colorado, US


I've had assistants who were fabulous at prep work & foundations but wanted to observe the process of an elaborate eye makeup or applying lashes so they watched the portion several times on the models after they did the prep work for faces for example.
My two assistants now each have strengths and weakness but one comes to assist with styling hair so she can observe 'real' situations and get hands on building looks for multiple looks and one who is crazy creative but wants to assist to learn to reign in her need to use every product in the kit and manage her time better.
My hair assistant I've worked on big projects with to let her 'key' all of the supporting players because she's very skilled naturally but needs experience on set and with more time in on hair related situations.
I book a number of test things for them to get the experience without the consequence if they were all alone and one is definitely capable of being on her own in a smaller project and I enjoy doing weddings with her.
So for me, I can do many things alone but welcome the chance to shoot more content with the extra hands they bring to the mix.
Dec 27 12 02:23 pm  Link  Quote 
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