login info join!
Forums > Hair, Makeup & Styling > Advice for rebuilding career needed please! Search   Reply
Makeup Artist
Somica Spratley
Posts: 52
Birmingham, Alabama, US


Hello everyone,

I've written in the forums before with no success of feedback from others here but my model friend suggested that I try again so here goes....

I am not sure what it is that I am doing wrong but I am having an extremely difficult time trying to make this work as a career and profit from it. I will just give the basics of myself, experience and what I have done already. Now I know our industry is hit or miss, last year things were great for me. I had a few local publications and some local film projects, so things have not always been on a down slope.

1. I keep other jobs unrelated to the field so that I do not have to rely solely on doing makeup as my main source of income. That way I always have something coming in.
2. I attend different workshops to obtain a variety of skills so that I can pick up all kinds of makeup jobs and that I am not limited but I do have main focuses as well.
3. I network and volunteer all over my city, some surrounding areas, and some out of state to further expand.
4. I travel to nearby states additionally for work when I can afford it.
5. I have enforced contracts and deposits in the past to cover myself, especially when folks are no calls/no shows and cancellations. I stopped using them BC a lot of people here didn't want to work with me BC I guess they felt restricted or maybe that I would screw them out of a refund, I am not sure. They always say "oh, I'll get back to you" or something along those lines and of course, don't.
6. I've reached out to other photographers and models so that I can keep my portfolio current. But the majority of people in my area do the same type of work and it is also difficult to get images that display my skills fback rom them. For example, I rarely do weddings BC most clients would like to see that kind of artistry beforehand but NONE of the photographers that I worked so far will provide me with photos, whether I offered to pay or not. Which is really strange.
7. I have also worked at makeup counters, other beauty jobs like salons, and have done a fair amount of TF work to gain more exposure. I always been open to doing either paid & unpaid work, as long as I can benefit in some work but at the end of the day, exposure doesn't pay my bills so I can't accept every tf project offered to me. Especially if it's something I already have in my portfolio so I think that is fair for me to turn some of them down.
8. I have also searched for mentoring and assisting opportunities, and even applied to all of the haunted houses in my area. No luck.

I have been here for 7 years now and I am not in a position to where I could relocate unless I just applied somewhere else altogether and got a job where I could move. Right now I have one part time job and currently looking for a 2nd one so that I can just work on photo shoots and films VS doing makeovers, weddings, and those sort of things. Of course I know that both ends have issues, but I have more creative freedom with magazine shoots and films. I am more comfortable in those settings and would like to get away from doing special occasion makeup, period.

All feedback is welcomed and appreciated. Thanks!
Sep 07 13 12:59 pm  Link  Quote 
Body Painter
BodyPainter Rich
Posts: 17,847
San Francisco, California, US


Makeup is a competitive field.

The economy stinks.

The area where you live is not known for fashion, entertainment, or commercial work.

The best you could hope for where you are (from what I can guess) is to EVENTUALLY get a reputation in your area as the "go to" artist for high end weddings... but that takes a VERY long time and even then...is there much demand there?


Plus there are other possibilities, things I have seen with others in the past that COULD be an issue, only you would know.

Some people do AMAZING work, but they are bad business people.
Some people do OUTSTANDING work, but they are not seen as friendly or attractive by others in the business (networking is AT LEAST as valuable as skill)
Some people are EXTREMELY GOOD artists, but have no clue when it comes to marketing.

Any one of these (and many other reasons) could be holding you back if they apply.
Sep 07 13 01:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Somica Spratley
Posts: 52
Birmingham, Alabama, US


BodyPainter Rich wrote:
Some people do AMAZING work, but they are bad business people.
Some people do OUTSTANDING work, but they are not seen as friendly or attractive by others in the business (networking is AT LEAST as valuable as skill)
Some people are EXTREMELY GOOD artists, but have no clue when it comes to marketing.

Any one of these (and many other reasons) could be holding you back if they apply.

I have no clue if it applys to me personally or not. For example, I have worked at a big name makeup brand but I did not share the same amazing experience that other artists have with the company. Luckily, my assistant manager was very honest and upfront with me about where I struggled and what areas of my personality and expertise that needed improvement. I took her words to heart and have worked hard on all the things she suggested. I know have much to learn so I don't know if it's just me, my style, or the economy. Pretty much every other artist I know is doing alright.

Sep 07 13 01:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Somica Spratley
Posts: 52
Birmingham, Alabama, US


My apologies if I posted this topic in the wrong forum.
Sep 07 13 01:29 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Laura McDermott
Posts: 105
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Your port is very good - I'm not critiquing wink - and you have talent.

It was said above, but maybe you should focus some of your time on learning how to market yourself. Books I've found helpful for the business side of things are "the wealthy freelancer" and "your network is your net worth". I don't know the authors off hand, that's what google is for wink

Best of luck and keep going
Sep 07 13 03:36 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Top Gun Digital
Posts: 1,190
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Just because you want to make something your career doesn't mean it's feasible.  How is the MUA market where you live.  Is there a shortage of MUA's or are there too many.

As an example, look at the entertainment industry.  There are many talented people that can sing or act but very few actually make a living doing it and even fewer become famous.  Some industries simply have too many people competing for too few jobs.
Sep 07 13 03:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Body Painter
Lisa Berczel
Posts: 3,954
Corona, California, US


What services are Clients paying for in your area? Bridal? Catalog? Corporate head shots?

We have to cater our portfolio to what the Market is booking for. In other words, you may need to focus on the *boring* stuff and back off the *fun stuff* that we think shows "range". All that range can be seen by conservative clients as too much.

I can't tell you how many times I've had Clients look at my work and say something along the lines of "Wow. You're great! Can you paint a zebra?"

Why? Because I didn't have a zebra in my book at that time and apparently that's what Event people fixate on.

If you're Market isn't booking for anything but Clean Beauty - then than back off on the wild and crazy and make sure those few remaining images are beyond strong.

My portfolio really doesn't follow these rules because I'm old, jaded and diversified enough that I don't care to make 100% of my living as a bodypainter or makeup artist.
Sep 07 13 06:05 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Somica Spratley
Posts: 52
Birmingham, Alabama, US


Laura, thank you for the compliment and I will look into those books. Thank you for sharing.

Top Gun & Lisa, I can definitely see where you're coming from. Thank you for your feedback.
Sep 07 13 09:23 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
TheMakeupMan
Posts: 3,744
Los Angeles, California, US


Some really good advice here

What I'd tell you is this and just this

You have to be everyone's best friend as a makeup artist.
People want to work with the coolest funniest sweet person and so do other artists
I have to feel safe and entertained with the people that work with me as well as you knowing your job on set ,   It takes a certain personality in this field , I know for me personally half the time I get hired is becouse , im fun ....we all have fun and get the job done and are also 110% committed on it while we're together , but even more importantly we all enjoy each others time together ..... Got to feel the love , and when we are back together on another job it's like a family reunion.   
I guess I'm saying it about building teams and your relationships
More than half the jobs I do almost any competent makeup artist can do so I ask myself why they hire me ,,,,,,,,,, becouse we enjoy our time together and it's always like a new adventure

Other thoughts , your close to Atlanta , tons of filming going on there , perhaps the career you want just isn't in Alabama .........
We have to be gypsies a bit for our career ,,,,,, I left Hawaii to live in LA and peruse/ continue my career when it was too much of a struggle in Hawaii and it was the best move I could have done career wise. I know a ton of artists that have moved or travel and stay in other state for work for jobs , most of my colleagues are filming in different states than they live I. To make a living and work on certain projects

Really hope something in this helps
Sep 07 13 10:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Body Painter
BodyPainter Rich
Posts: 17,847
San Francisco, California, US


I have had the privilege of watching Anthony (The MakeupMan) work, and network at trade shows.

He is not lying, or boasting.

He is REALLY good at makeup, but he is BRILLIANT at being fun, being easy company, and having a memorable personality.

And he is hitting on a KEY lesson that I myself am just getting in touch with.

If you get hired for a job and you do adequately, you might possibly get called back.
If you are hired for a job and you do really well, they might call you back.
If you are hired for a job, and you are easy to work with AND do well, there is a pretty good chance you will get called back.
If you are hired for a job, and you do really well, and you were easy to work with, and people enjoyed having you around, and you keep in touch... you WILL get called back.
Sep 07 13 11:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Hair Stylist
rick lesser
Posts: 685
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US


In reading everything your doing I got a memory of someone I had worked with years ago.  She did everything you are doing.  However it was all about her.  She wasn't a nice person.  Oh she seemed nice in the beginning but it was fake.  She was always husband hunting, client hunting, job pouching.  She was beautiful and talented.  But no one really liked her.  She was too in your face. Too much.  I was key hair on a movie and I needed hairdressers so I got her a spot.  She cozied up to one of the stars and tried to move me out.  Which didn't work as the star had my back and ran her ragged.  When it came time to add names to the credits I for some reason forgot hers.  See where I am going here?  Make sure your not so pushy you make people uncomfortable.  We are all trying to make a living.  Your still doing better then most.  R-
Sep 08 13 06:17 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
ArtistryImage
Posts: 2,706
Washington, District of Columbia, US


Somica Renee MUA wrote:
rebuilding career...
I am not sure what it is that I am doing wrong...

First and foremost you have received tenured wisdom from industry professionals in this thread... it is to be cherished...

That said, during my formal training I was advised by my instructors that enduring careers for a makeup artist are in retail sales (high end)...  it is commission based and requires a keen sense of business savvy...  several of my instructors did this and pulled in over $1K on a good weekend...

However I trained with estheticians who upon passing the state board exam become licensed professional who can/do work in salons... btw, the top stylist agency in my market seeks makeup artist who hold an esthetician's license... there are compelling reasons for this... the take away here is obtaining an estheticians license is a prudent "next" step for an emerging makeup artist.

Somica Renee MUA wrote:
...I keep other jobs unrelated to the field...

While I understand economic necessity you may be better positioned to seek recompense in allied disciplines related to the beauty/fashion industry... for one it will allow you to network more effectively... This has been my path and has served me well... the benefits of diversification within an industry can't be over stated...

Somica Renee MUA wrote:
...just work on photo shoots and films VS doing makeovers, weddings...I have more creative freedom with magazine shoots and films. I am more comfortable in those settings and would like to get away from doing special occasion makeup, period

Somica Renee I'm going to cut to the chase here... everyone wants/desires/longs for creative freedom... a.k.a. everyone wants to be a rock star...

Time for a reality check... I pay the bills with makeover, weddings, bat mitzvahs, special events etc... and I've done so for years... experience is a brutal teacher...  a very precious few make it in the magazine/film industry... competition is fierce, as mentioned above unless you are an amazing ambassador with stellar people skills it isn't a realistic career option... keep in mind there are interdependently wealthy artist who will work for "fame" alone... 

Ok, all is not bleak and grim... I have a colleague who has an absolutely wonderful "day job" painting face for CNN... yep, same crew day after day... airbrush and groom... works well for her and allows her ample time with an enchanting daughter.... cast a wide net and winnow with diligence and care...  but most importantly set realistic goals rather than pursing dreams...

all the best on your journey...

Sep 08 13 07:24 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Somica Spratley
Posts: 52
Birmingham, Alabama, US


Thank you Anthony. I contacted you before on Facebook a while ago and you were really helpful. I think ultimately the career I want to just not here. I have traveled to Atlanta and Nashville for work but financially I can't do much of that right now.

As far going to school for esthetics, I already have and that wasn't a successful experience. I'd like to go back but without financial aid, it is just not possible.

Thank you again to all for your advice.
Sep 08 13 09:31 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
LisaJohnson
Posts: 10,525
Nashville, Tennessee, US


commercial print advertising work is everywhere - you have to work on clean beauty - boring sure, but it's not boring when the bills come 90% of my work is bridal and commercial - clean and boring work (except the weddings - they're cray wink - I happen to LOVE commercial work but I got lucky working with some of the best - master the clean beauty and light hair for set for commercial work and you will go far - it pays the bills and allows you to play with fashion and other more creative pursuits you love more - it's all about balance and marketing - small steps meeting new people - a few hours a month isn't much to get your name out there.  realize this - this is a journey that never ends really - you are constantly reinventing yourself - it is what we are.
Sep 13 13 04:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
J O H N A L L A N
Posts: 9,734
Santa Ana, California, US


I would second what's been said about "clean beauty". That's the first thing/skill I look for and if it's not there (prevalently), I bypass. Too off the wall, is not good either as it leaves me wondering what an important project is going to end up looking like. Good solid clean beauty and some well done fashion. particularly with the more extensive looks, I'm concentrating on things like blending. I'm looking for indications that the artist can execute a great look without me touching up in Photoshop.
Sep 13 13 04:23 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AJScalzitti
Posts: 12,202
Atlanta, Georgia, US


BodyPainter Rich wrote:
The best you could hope for where you are (from what I can guess) is to EVENTUALLY get a reputation in your area as the "go to" artist for high end weddings... but that takes a VERY long time and even then...is there much demand there?

The OP is in a very wealthy part of the state, lots of old money that still spends on high end weddings and coming of age type parties (very traditional souther affair). However if they are not from the south the chance of getting in is very low.

Sep 13 13 04:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
LisaJohnson
Posts: 10,525
Nashville, Tennessee, US


and... this career is made for those with money - and connections - that's the way it is.  it's HIGHLY cut throat by today's standards - and highly saturated worldwide.  you have to have skin of asbestos, incredible drive and passion 24/7 - because someone younger, cuter, richer, better is right there at the door.  that's life.  this is not a career for the squeamish - I have seen a lot of hobbyists with money get ahead quicker than people that have little marketing skills, but a lot of talent - it is a matter of luck and connections in a lot of cases.  also, the money isn't there as it used to be - and undercutters (with money) are making the rates ridiculously low in the industry.  something to consider.  if I had to do it over, I'd get my cosmetology license while I was young any way I could.  otherwise, you will be limited.
Sep 13 13 07:24 pm  Link  Quote 
  Search   Reply



main | browse | casting/travel | forums | shout box | help | advertising | contests | share | join the mayhem

more modelmayhem on: | | | edu

©2006-2014 ModelMayhem.com. All Rights Reserved.
MODEL MAYHEM is a registered trademark.
Toggle Worksafe Mode: Off | On
Terms | Privacy | Careers