Make up artists often work in theatre, television and film. They are responsible for doing the hair and make up of performers, presenters and models. This make up can range from some light touching-up to help people deal with lights in the TV studio or at the theatre, to re-vamping someone's look entirely to fit in with a role. There are a number of steps that make up artists can take to secure a job.
Take a course
In order to be successful, make up artists will probably need some training. While there is no minimum academic qualifications required, many colleges and universities offer diplomas and degrees in the subject. These courses will give students a good grounding in the different spheres they can work in film and television make up, for example. Practical ability is, of course, more important than academic qualifications, but a good make up artist needs to demonstrate that they are well-versed in current trends. Taking a refresher course, which explains and demonstrates the latest techniques, is a good move for those who want to enhance their knowledge. Artists who want to work in a certain field, should consider following a more specialised course, e.g. special effects make up.
Future employers place much emphasis on the amount of experience a make up artist has, so individuals should focus on building-up their portfolio.
Sometimes, academic courses provide an option for students to go out on unpaid placements, but it's also possible for those not studying to arrange their own work experience. Consider volunteering with a local amateur dramatics group, for example, to gain experience in stage and theatre make up.
Some smaller television production companies sometimes allow people to come in and gain some exposure too. If make up artists can find an established professional to 'shadow' the experience, this can prove invaluable. Not only will it give a unique insight into the job and the working environment, it will enhance an aspiring make up artist's CV greatly.
Some agencies, specialise in recruiting and placing make up artists for television, film and stage work. Competition for places can be high, however, especially when it comes to the more lucrative, high-paid work. Make up artists who are able to show a high level of experience, stand the best chances of success. It's also possible to gain a job through speculative applications directly to broadcasters, production companies or theatre groups. Artists can also advertise their services through specialist media directories, telling prospective employers about the services they offer. All job applications should tell employers where to go for further details. Remember, an informative and professional looking website will give employers a good impression.