Careers Newsletter: November 2022
Careers Spotlight: Hair and Make-Up Designer
What does a hair and make-up designer do?
In film and TV drama, hair and make-up designers help actors portray their characters by using hair and make-up to create a look.
In pre-production, they work closely with the director to understand the style of the story. They break down the script, noting the hair and make-up requirements at each point and working out who they need to recruit to the team.
They make appointments for actors' wig fittings, prosthetic and dental appointments. They draw up notes about actors, detailing each scene’s hair and make-up changes (these notes are vital for maintaining continuity throughout the production) and work with the camera department on test shots to see how the hair and make-up looks under different lighting conditions.
During production, they are one of the first to the set in the mornings, leading the team, keeping everyone to schedule and managing the budget.
On larger features hair and make-up designers are two separate roles. On smaller productions, they are combined.
Who does a hair and make-up designer work with?
Chief make-up artist
On large productions, the roles of make-up artist and hairdresser are separate. Chief make-up artists work closely with costume designers and hairdressers to ensure that each actors' look complements every aspect of the script. Having created individual designs they make sure that actors are comfortable with their look and note any allergies or sensitivities. They recruit a team of make-up artists and distribute briefs and continuity notes. During shooting, they supervise the make-up process and may work as a personal make-up artist for a principal actor.
Likewise, chief hairdresser is a separate role from chief make-up artist on big budget features. The chief hairdresser reads the script to determine each actors’ styling and then recruits and briefs a team of hairdressers. During shooting, they supervise the whole hairdressing department and may work as a personal hairdresser if requested by one of the principal actors.
Hair and make-up artist
Increasingly, artists are expected to be skilled in both hair and make-up. They apply make-up, wash, cut, blow-dry, style and set hair, apply products using specialised techniques to create specific designs, set and dress wigs and hairpieces and work with facial hair and false pieces, such as beards and moustaches. They may also apply special effects make-up such as grazes, cuts and bruises and bald caps. Make-up and hair artists usually accompany performers on set and standby during scenes to touch-up makeup and ensure continuity is maintained.
In make-up, prosthetics are special effects, like werewolf faces, or bruises, cuts and grazes. Prosthetic artists are responsible for creating these. They break down a script and analyse what prosthetics are needed for what character. They estimate the time and cost of making prosthetics and create bald caps, prosthetics pieces, facial parts and scars, depending on the script. Normally prosthetic artists will apply the prosthetics to performers themselves (which can take hours) with the help of make-up artists and assistants. They usually stand by on set to ensure that the prosthetic is working and looked after.
Hair and make-up assistant
Assistants help hair and make-up artists by supplying brushes and products, helping fix prosthetics, washing actors’ hair, helping to alter, repair and dress wigs and toupees, running errands, and making sure that performers are well looked after. They prepare the actor’s skin and scalp in advance, and make sure that any allergies or sensitivities are taken into consideration. Assistants are also involved in crowd days by preparing facilities, working on the hair and make-up of large numbers of extras, standing by on set to maintain continuity and may even be given responsibility for minor characters.
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Boosting your CV
So what is a CV? CV is short for Curriculum Vitae and is a short document which summarises your unique skills, character, experience and achievements.
For students it can feel difficult to know what to write as you haven't had the time to build up the experience that employers always seem to want.
In this section we will look at ways of making your CV stand out for future employers so you can get that dream job. So far we have looked at after school clubs and voluntary work. This month we consider work experience placements.
Consider work experience placements:
The next logical step up from volunteering is to look for work experience placements. Although these can be hard to come by, they will give you the chance to experience what it’s like being involved in the day-to-day running of a business. Our year 10 students are just starting preparation for their work experience week in July and our 6th form students have work experience opportunities throughout the year.
Some work experience placements are paid and some aren’t, but you should aim to make a good impression all the same. In some cases, work experience placements can lead to full-time or part-time job offers.
We recommend that you take every opportunity you can to help out during your placement, this way you’ll have lots of experience and activities to talk about when it comes to updating your CV. You’ll also have a valuable reference that you can use when applying for full or part-time jobs.