A Day in the Life

Makeup and Hair On location

The actors arrive for the contemporary drama. One needs a wig and make-up, another one character make up. We need to get this done swiftly and painlessly so that we can deliver the talent to the set in good spirits. 09:00
On location. We check hair continuity from the previous shoot before we go for the first take. 11:30
They leave, beaming, and looking the part. 11:45
Grab a sandwich as I know I'll probably have to work through lunch. 12:00
Clear up the caravan. It's a bombsite! 12:30
Talk to programme designer about the future scenes 13:00
Make up new artist that's been punched in the face- no not really, he just has to look like that! 13:30
About to grab a coffee. Did I get lunch? Now we're off to a new location out of the rain. 14:00
Twenty people are squeezed into the front room of a tiny farmhouse. Camera man, camera assistants, sound, production manager, sparks, wardrobe, producer and of course the actors and the director! 15:30
Return to first location, phew! Extras arrive for a scene later, they'll have to wait. I've too many people to deal with just now. Apply blood to the nose of man who got punched. He looks awful. Good! 16:30
The wind's coming up so we need lots of clips and spray to hold hair in place. 17:00
Keep an eye on the make up, especially in changing lighting conditions. My assistant prepares the extras rapidly for the next scene. 17:30
Rehearsing the main scene, I can still do some make-up's as long as I keep out of the eye-lines and don't interfere with the rehearsal. Move around quiet as a mouse. 18:30
Crew have wrapped, we remove wigs, make-up (a lot quicker than applying them thank goodness!) 19:00
Clear up and prepare wigs etc. for the next day's shooting. 20:30
Arrive at the pub for a little refreshment with colleagues. Mustn't misbehave, it's another early start tomorrow.

What you do: The range of the job?

A make up arist applies make up for two reasons. To make people look normal on camera (Skin tones usually come over pale and washed out on a video camer) or to enhance how people look, perhaps for period dramas, with character or special effects make up or Sci fi or medical injury make up. (We are getting used to pale faced reality TV, but to look more natural the use of make up gives a warmer skin with a bit of colour added)

Qualities: What you need to be able to do the job?

A course in make up design. Energy and stamina, good interpersonal skills, a creative approach to the work.

Career path: How you start and where you can go with it?

Starting as a Makeup Assistant, you will progress to take on more responsibility to become a Make Up Designer and perhaps a Make Up Supervisor and get your name on the credits! You may well go freelance after starting in a large TV company.

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