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Jessica Jean Myers
A great way to begin out whether or not it’s straight from school or even w/out any schooling is to assist or intern w/ a senior artist. Assisting or interning w/ a senior artist is a good method to get your feet wet on set and learn how a proper set works (which may be very different then any classroom environment you’ll ever be in) plus you learn all sorts of tips & tricks from another artist which is invaluable in itself.
Nobody should ever think they’re above assisting…it’s important to remain humble on this biz b/c there’s ALWAYS someone better than you that you could learn a thing or two from! I know when you leave finish school you might think you are the shit b/c you were top of your class but trust me…you actually know NOTHING lol…the quicker you realize this the higher! I wish I had more assisting experience actually b/c there are SOOO many fab artists that I am sure I could learn a lot from…I’m positive there are a ton of things I could be doing quicker and more efficiently (esp. w/ hair) but I just do not know b/c no one has ever showed me a distinct way! What’s funny is I will be completely honest…assisting freaks the shit out of me more then keying in a way lol…I am always paranoid I am suddenly going to find out that I do not know methods to match foundation or I am doing something completely wrong lol!
So where to begin…hmmm…I guess first is perhaps how do I become an assistant Well, research artists in your area that you admire and email them! Ask them if you might be capable of take them out for coffee or lunch and pick their brains a bit concerning the biz, or ask them in the event that they would not mind looking at your book and giving some advice to a brand new artist. Yes, it would sound scary b/c you might think these BIG, IMPORTANT Makeup Artists is perhaps snobby bitches but the truth is I’ve found most of the higher up makeup artists to be very humble and really generous w/ their information. Esp. for those who write to them in a well thought out and sincere way. Most understand what it’s like to start out and the way hard it was and therefore like to assist new, enthusiastic makeup artists.
Personally, I am always very flattered anytime anyone asks for my opinion about products or their work so I am always more then happy to attempt to help out. Maybe after you’ve got built up slightly rapport through email or in the event you meet for coffee then you possibly can enquire about the potential of assisting them on a shoot. A whole lot of big makeup artists get tons of emails of ppl wanting to help them so sometimes it is nice if they’ve slightly bit of a relationship w/ you first b/c they do not just want to bring any stranger on set b/c curly frizzy hairstyles that could make them look bad and that is the last thing they want! Plus in case you just email them w/ no introduction about yourself or your work and just say “hey can I assist you ” they’re going to go next b/c they already have a bunch of other ppl asking. Consider asking to help a makeup artist like applying for a job. Make a cover letter if you want, send them references of your work or a CV, tell them your goals and why they should bring you for a job w/ them.
If you haven’t any real experience and you’re looking to assist an artist you might need slightly bit of trouble finding an artist to take you on…at the very least for paid jobs. This is b/c nowadays an assistant basically needs to be an accomplished makeup artist in their own right and infrequently (no less than in my experience) the assistant will basically be an assistant hair person…remember how I keep banging into your heads the importance of getting good at hair! If you don’t have any experience or little or no experience you may be brought on in more of an unpaid intern type of level. Again invaluable if you’re looking to learn. You might only be doing things like cleaning makeup brushes or powdering noses on set while the key Artist continues engaged on other talent but it gets you on set experience and it is a foot within the door and the more the artist begins to trust you the more responsibility they offers you!
So for instance you are being brought on as an assistant for a job – whether it’s paid or unpaid there are some very important rules to live by.
1. BE ON TIME!!!! The truth is be early…I always try to live by an old actor rule that was burned into my head during theatre school – Early = On Time, On Time = Late, Late = Fired! Of course Life happens but really really attempt to be on time…or a minimum of call the important thing in case you are In any respect going to be late. Hell I call/text photographers when I will be a min or two late…and more often than not I don’t even end up being late..but again On Time = Late to me 😉 lol! With that being said for those who do arrive before the important thing wait for them before going into the studio probably. Or call them and allow them to know you’re there and they can offer you further instructions.
2. Ask beforehand what the key expects of you. Different MUAs have different rules. Some want you to hold their bags and set things up for them and bring them a coffee. Some want you to only be on standby in case they need you. Some want you to bring you makeup and hair kit b/c you may be working right beside them while some will just have you’re employed out of their kit.
3. Save your questions for after the job…or no less than when there is some free time. I do know there may be a lot going on and you’re so excited to be working w/ this artist that you just just wish to ask them everything they find out about everything and it’s great that you are enthusiastic BUT when you are on set as an assistant it’s better to just be quiet, keep your head down and work. Things need to be done quickly and you’re there to make everything run smoother and more efficiently therefore the important thing would not need to be distracted trying to answer questions on everything they are doing to the talent and why. If they are free w/ that information while they work great but do not expect them to be a fountain of information in the midst of a job.
4. Going along w/ that…just be quiet and don’t give out a lot information or talk to much and do not GOSSIP. That is something that I have actually struggled w/ b/c naturally I sometimes just start talking esp. if someone is talking about something that interests me…it’s a bit of the previous bartender in me lol plus I have a sort of bold sense of humor (in the event you didn’t gather from the blog already 😉 ) and it may be misinterpreted w/ strangers sometimes. This has actually gotten me in trouble in a few situations…esp. when you don’t know someone and they do not know you you never know WHAT is going to OFFEND them. Trust me I’ve said things that you’d think nothing of and somehow it offended someone and then I got in shit for it :S
5. You might be there to be a second pair of hands to the important thing To not mingle and network w/ everyone on set. After all it is polite to satisfy ppl and get their names and say hi and everything. If your Key is nice she/he will probably introduce you to everyone. However, you are not there to try and network w/ the client or photographer. You might be there to make the important thing look BETTER! This might sound stupid but suprisingly it has happened – NEVER HAND OUT Your small business CARDS ON SET WHEN You are ASSISTING! It makes you look BAD and unprofessional and it makes the other MUA look BAD and remember your job is to make them look GOOD! One thing that is not tolerated in this biz…and it is a very tiny biz is backstabbing and trying to steal clients or contacts from another artist…easiest method to get blacklisted and nobody wants that right at first of their career lol! If someone does inquire about your information refer them to the key or talk to the important thing concerning the situation. I’ve tried to set my assistants up w/ the photographer’s assistants on things. I figure they’re both starting out so that is an excellent networking relationship to have.
6. If the important thing wants you to do something and you don’t know how or you’re unsure about what exactly they are asking don’t be afraid to let them know or get clarification. I might rather someone ask me a few questions or have me explain something again then must redo all their work b/c they did not know what they were doing or I did not make myself clear enough the first time. After another explanation if you continue to do not think you can do it let the key know you do not feel comfortable. Personally, I would rather know something was beyond your skill set then have you ever screw it up completely.
7. Do not text or call ppl while you’re working. Again I comprehend it appears like an obvious one but hey it’s got to be said.
8. Also, don’t look bored or impatient like you’re dying to go away. Yes sometimes being on set is boring…we have all been there. Hell chances are high if you’re bored the key is bored BUT you’ve gotten to remain professional and which means not complaining. You’re there to get experience and guess what being bored on set is definitely an actual experience so get use to it lol! Also don’t ask if you possibly can leave early or anything like that. Unless you’ve gotten arranged ahead of time w/ the important thing that you’ve to leave at a certain time b/c of prior obligations understand that you are there until they tell you that you’re done.
9. Wear comfortable clothes, shoes and clean but professional makeup. You is likely to be standing for long periods of time and the very last thing you need to do is be crying inside b/c your feet are killing you or constantly pulling on that basically cute mini skirt you’re wearing. Also, I do know newbies think that makeup artists must all look really glamorous and “MACed” out on set but the reality is from my experience we’re not! I am their to watch over the talents makeup Not to be preoccupied checking myself out in the mirror ensuring my black eyeliner remains to be on my waterline. After all I wear makeup on set, I must look professional afterall but I keep it pretty clean and basic…I am not the main focus – the TALENT is!
10. Remember you are basically an extension of the key for that day meaning your hands and the work you do is just about the property of the key. I know this may be a hard one to comprehend but basically you are finishing up their vision. They have instructed you on what to do so even in case you execute THEIR vision the final work continues to be THEIRS. So even when you assist an artist and do hair prep curly frizzy hairstyles usually the ultimate styling remains to be theirs and they give the ultimate yay/nay before it goes on set therefore any pictures produced from that shoot are theirs and never yours and no you can’t use them in your portfolio so probably do not ask unless they are saying you may…but they probably will not. Remember you are assisting to get EXPERIENCE not pics in your book. A photographer’s assistant sets up lights the way the photographer tells them to…yes the assistant did the labour however the concept and final product is still the photographer’s b/c it was their vision and their final execution that created the finished picture. If you are lucky the MUA will try to get you an assisting credit or they’ll write you a letter of reference or something but don’t expect these things b/c all of it goes back to you’re their to make the key look BETTER and you are their to learn and it’s the EXPERIENCE that’s INVALUABLE!
So I hope this helps you guys out and offer you some useful information. Great things can come from assisting beyond just all the great tips & tricks you’ll learn. Once the MUA knows and trusts your work they’ll pass along work to you that they can not do or that’s below their budget. You will get to meet new ppl and get tons of on set experience on jobs that you’ll have had NO WAY of engaged on otherwise.
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