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Makeup Artist
Tai MUA
Posts: 783
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Hi, I need some advice about how to get in to the movie story and understand each character and create makeup for movie?

About the script, it's a lot to read all of it when English is not my first language so I'm a very slow reader. I wonder what is other option for me in my case.

And if you work on indie film with no continuity person how to deal with this?

I want to know from the person who really have experience in Film business. Thank you so much for your time and hope hear from you shortly big_smile
Jun 10 13 09:37 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Jessica Vaugn
Posts: 7,320
Los Angeles, California, US


I would imagine if you get it electronically you can translate the body of text to your native language for a second read through. Perhaps having an English speaking friend read it aloud so you can listen and visualize the characters might help you as well. I would do both if possible, so anything you miss in one reading you can absorb in the second.

It might help you to have headshots or see the actors before reading so you can see the person (in your mind) saying what the script says. That might be easier to visualize how you'd style that person, rather than not being able to place a face and imagining makeup on a generic placeholer in your mind.
Jun 10 13 09:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Heather J M
Posts: 707
London, England, United Kingdom


Honestly? You can't presume to do the job without knowing the script backwards and forwards. Look at it as a chance to apply everything you know about English rather than trying to find a shortcut. All the second language English speakers I have worked with in film would not breath a word of complaint against the chosen script language.
Jun 11 13 01:20 am  Link  Quote 
Wardrobe Stylist
Tiffany_B
Posts: 1,262
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, US


Jessica Vaugn  wrote:
I would imagine if you get it electronically you can translate the body of text to your native language for a second read through. Perhaps having an English speaking friend read it aloud so you can listen and visualize the characters might help you as well. I would do both if possible, so anything you miss in one reading you can absorb in the second.

It might help you to have headshots or see the actors before reading so you can see the person (in your mind) saying what the script says. That might be easier to visualize how you'd style that person, rather than not being able to place a face and imagining makeup on a generic placeholer in your mind.

I have to strongly disagree with the first part of this advice. First of all, depending on the movie itself electronic copies of the script may not be available and using a translator program can have horrid results since the English language is in many ways needlessly complex and there are certain words which will simply not translate properly which could result in confusion that could easily be avoided. Beyond that there may be a clause in the contract of the OP that disallows disclosure of the project to anyone not working on it. Considering this the one real option is for the OP to take the time to read the script and make notes on anything that is unclear so that she can ask someone involved with the project.

The second part of this advice is stellar! As the OP will be doing make-up being able to see actual shots of the characters is key, more so since it may help to humanize the script.

Jun 11 13 08:40 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Tai MUA
Posts: 783
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Tiffany_B wrote:

I have to strongly disagree with the first part of this advice. First of all, depending on the movie itself electronic copies of the script may not be available and using a translator program can have horrid results since the English language is in many ways needlessly complex and there are certain words which will simply not translate properly which could result in confusion that could easily be avoided. Beyond that there may be a clause in the contract of the OP that disallows disclosure of the project to anyone not working on it. Considering this the one real option is for the OP to take the time to read the script and make notes on anything that is unclear so that she can ask someone involved with the project.

The second part of this advice is stellar! As the OP will be doing make-up being able to see actual shots of the characters is key, more so since it may help to humanize the script.

Thank you and that what I was thinking... Yes the costume department work along with me  and they are very helpful. And I also got some great advices from another makeup artist who key on many big movie. It's help a lot.

Jun 11 13 10:38 am  Link  Quote 
Hair Stylist
rick lesser
Posts: 648
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US


First of all congratulations on booking the key spot!  I know it's a big deal as I have been in your shoes.  I met with the "powers that be" they gave me their take on what they wanted and left it all up to me.  Granted my first big movie as key hair was a light comedy so I am not sure what kind of film this is?  I got my script only a few days before we started to shoot.  If your working with the costume department that's great.  Remember, your in charge.  You say what the looks are.  As the shoot unfolds things will get easier and you will find a grove.  You can always ask to see play back, ask the director how things read on camera etc.  And trust your key hair person.  You two are a team.  But don't let people think you don't know what your doing.  Good luck and again, congratulations!  R-
Jun 11 13 05:05 pm  Link  Quote 
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Makeup Artist
TheMakeupMan
Posts: 3,731
Los Angeles, California, US


Tai MUA wrote:
Hi, I need some advice about how to get in to the movie story and understand each character and create makeup for movie?

About the script, it's a lot to read all of it when English is not my first language so I'm a very slow reader. I wonder what is other option for me in my case.

And if you work on indie film with no continuity person how to deal with this?

I want to know from the person who really have experience in Film business. Thank you so much for your time and hope hear from you shortly big_smile

I know when ive interview to deptment head , I sat with the director going over the script and characters , fx ect ect , but even before I met with the director , I read and re-read the script and took notes , so when I did sit and speak with him , I had relevant questions about the character and their looks , and what happens to them as the plot moves on

there is no other option for me other than reading the script over and over again , I try to watch the movie in my head , imagine the charaters and their dialog , use your imagination ......

Your job is continuity regardless if there is a script supervisor or not ....... a script supervisor is for ,makeup someone to check with if you have a question but really its your job to know the continuity and keep up with it, if there is a screw up in your deprtment with continuity its your fault and not the script supervisor 

I wish I had an easy anwser but if it was that easy .......everyone would be a deptarment head

My suggestion .... get a REALLY STRONG key

Jun 11 13 05:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
E E S
Posts: 768
Los Angeles, California, US


Just to clarify Anthony's answer-


For union films and tv, the Department Head is #1, the Key is #2.

For non-union films/tv/commercials, the Key is #1 and anybody under that is just "Makeup"


So he's suggesting to get a really strong 2nd.
Jun 11 13 08:30 pm  Link  Quote 
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Makeup Artist
KJB
Posts: 1,181
New York, New York, US


Tai MUA wrote:
Hi, I need some advice about how to get in to the movie story and understand each character and create makeup for movie?

About the script, it's a lot to read all of it when English is not my first language so I'm a very slow reader. I wonder what is other option for me in my case.

And if you work on indie film with no continuity person how to deal with this?

I preface by saying, this is only my opinion -

Why would you take a job heading a department with no prior experience?
Most of us have worked our way up in Film/TV from  - day-player, to third to second to key to head of department - over a period of time as we learned the job and gained experience.

I don't understand why anyone (not singling out the op) without proper qualifications, would take a job and potentially put a project at risk due to their lack of experience.

Sorry, I just don't get it.

Tai MUA wrote:
I wonder what is other option for me in my case.

The "other option" I suggest, is not accepting a job you aren't qualified for. Advise them to hire someone with actual film experience and assist them so you can learn.

Jun 12 13 09:03 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
E E S
Posts: 768
Los Angeles, California, US


Kevin,

Maybe I'm an anomaly, but I started my career Keying low budget non union films, right out of makeup school (which didn't teach us about continuity or character development). I didn't start assisting until I got in the union. She's doing the right thing about asking, which I didn't have the benefit (the internet) of.

It might be a really low budget film, which more experienced artists might turn down because of the (non) pay.
Jun 12 13 09:24 am  Link  Quote 
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Makeup Artist
KJB
Posts: 1,181
New York, New York, US


E E S wrote:
It might be a really low budget film, which more experienced artists might turn down because of the (non) pay.

Even a really low budget film deserves to be keyed by someone who can at least read and breakdown the script.
Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it's reality.

Jun 12 13 09:32 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Lindsey Sharon
Posts: 306
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Re-read, re-read and re-read again. The script is your most valuable tool and it determines everything you do.  If you aren't confident that you can read and understand the script, you shouldn't have taken the job. Sorry.

This may sound rude, but if you don't understand the script and mess up on the makeup, it can affect the work of that entire crew and cause major damage to your reputation. Don't be that person. Bring in a great key artist to assist you, and then next time really consider what you can do.  There's no shame in suggesting they hire a friend and said friend then bringing you on to help you learn!

Side note; I was once brought in to head an independent because the original head didn't follow the script and had no knowledge of the injuries needed and continuity. She didn't take a single photo for continuity!  She was kicked off set and I had less then 12 hours to prep and breakdown the script for the next days shoot. Last I heard, she's gone back to school to become an accountant. It was a great boost to my reputation though!

Best of luck!
Jun 12 13 09:56 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
E E S
Posts: 768
Los Angeles, California, US


KJB wrote:
Even a really low budget film deserves to be keyed by someone who can at least read and breakdown the script.
Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it's reality.

Yes, that's true. But she's in Vegas. I doubt the pool of (film) artists is large. Maybe they're taking what they can get. And she is trying to do her homework. I'm giving her the benefit of a doubt because she was in my shoes 15 years ago. And I have 3 feature films that I Department Headed in theaters this year smile.

Jun 12 13 10:27 am  Link  Quote 
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Makeup Artist
KJB
Posts: 1,181
New York, New York, US


E E S wrote:
Yes, that's true. But she's in Vegas. I doubt the pool of (film) artists is large. Maybe they're taking what they can get. And she is trying to do her homework. I'm giving her the benefit of a doubt because she was in my shoes 15 years ago. And I have 3 feature films that I Department Headed in theaters this year smile.

I graciously disagree, there's plenty of artists in LV with "some" production experience.

I guess I'm old school ...what ever happened to assisting, paying your dues and working your way up?
It's a whole new world of fake-it 'till you make-it.

On that note, I will step down off my soapbox and excuse myself from the rest of this conversation.

Jun 12 13 12:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Lindsey Sharon
Posts: 306
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


E E S wrote:

Yes, that's true. But she's in Vegas. I doubt the pool of (film) artists is large. Maybe they're taking what they can get. And she is trying to do her homework. I'm giving her the benefit of a doubt because she was in my shoes 15 years ago. And I have 3 feature films that I Department Headed in theaters this year smile.

Congrats!  3 films is awesome!!

I'm in Edmonton Alberta, we have an overabundance of MUA that can or have worked film before, including heading independent films. With the way that schools pump students out nowadays I don't think there's a town out there that doesn't have waaaay more artists then it can support. And every school I know now teach how to break down the scripts.  I can think of three very talented, experienced film artists in Vegas right now that can't find steady work due to the amount of artists they compete against. Heck, my high school had under 700 students in total and I went to school, in Vancouver, with 5 other people from it!  I know of 20 artists from the same school in a retirement and farming town of 6k.

She's an amazing artist, her work speaks for itself, but both she and the people who hired her are taking a risk. I truly believe that if she buckles down and reads that script as many times as she possibly can, if she makes herself a really good breakdown and takes continuity photos, that the work she can provide will knock them out. But I was also in her shoes just 2 years ago and I am now once again in her shoes due to a move and I've seen some people really excel and others fall flat. Crews know that there is always someone else out there to replace the MUA if needed so now even super small budgets have super high expectations. I worked steady in Vancouver, often coming in to replace other MUA that couldn't deliver.

She's really talented but I don't think she understands the risk she is taking and how it can affect her reputation. As artists and self employed workers we need to push our limits everyday but we also need to know when to step back and say "maybe this is more then I'm ready for right now".

Jun 12 13 01:06 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Lindsey Sharon
Posts: 306
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


KJB wrote:

I graciously disagree, there's plenty of artists in LV with "some" production experience.

I guess I'm old school ...what ever happened to assisting, paying your dues and working your way up?
It's a whole new world of fake-it 'till you make-it.

On that note, I will step down off my soapbox and excuse myself from the rest of this conversation.

Please don't. I think you're advice is wonderful and a lot of new artists who may come across this thread can benefit from it. Far to many people out there are busy telling us how wonderful and easy all this is to do if we just give it our best and we need a good dose of reality.  I learned more assisting in a day then I was able to learn in a week on my own. And sometimes doing your best just isn't enough.

Jun 12 13 01:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
E E S
Posts: 768
Los Angeles, California, US


KJB wrote:
I graciously disagree, there's plenty of artists in LV with "some" production experience.

I guess I'm old school ...what ever happened to assisting, paying your dues and working your way up?
It's a whole new world of fake-it 'till you make-it.

On that note, I will step down off my soapbox and excuse myself from the rest of this conversation.

No worries, Kevin...I'm just picturing production paying so little that artists with some experience would turn it down. It might be a short or a student film. So they go with someone who really wants to do it. Guess I'm playing the devil's advocate. But it sounds like she already has the job, and a good/bad experience will be the ultimate teacher.

What's funny is that since I've mainly Keyed early in my career, I've had to learn how to assist...but believe me I've paid my dues doing free shorts, $25/day student films, and $75/day crappy low budget films. And I got into the union the hard way 60/60/60, which very few people can claim for the past 15 years.

Jun 12 13 07:06 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Davis W
Posts: 1,270
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


I think the issue here is that one should specialize in makeup and not be a jack of all trades, master of none.

Your website and videos show me an editorial/print artist.

I do not see how you can dabble in film and do anything genuine. If you wish to do film, then put yourself under an experienced key.

This new breed of, do anything, do any project, I can handle it all makeup artist is not the way to go IMHO.

Find one thing and specialize. I would not fool around in film without the right training. If you do not know how to do a script breakdown and a character design sheet, or build a photo morgue for a production or know set skills, like terminology, do not know WHIMIS safety guidelines and do not have a valid DCG (Canadian version, I dont know what you call it in the US) card, then IMHO, you don't have any reason to be doing a film.

Listen to KJB, he has been down that road and his advice is spot on.

Sorry but thats how it is.
Jun 12 13 09:30 pm  Link  Quote 
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