Thursday, April 29, 2010


I’ll let you in on a little secret which very few people may be aware of.
For 18 years I worked as a patternmaker for the Fashion Industry. As the head patternmaker and production manager in the design room it was my duty to ensure that all the new designs were drafted into correct fitting patterns for cutting and sewing the new seasons range by a specific deadline.
Most of the time my assistants and I would be able to do this even though we were under a lot of stress however, some of the time, we would require outside assistance in order to achieve the deadline.
We had the option of hiring somebody on a contract basis to help us – but that would cost money and because we had already spent our funds on the range we just could not afford this option.
Rather than accepting this and just working harder and/or cutting down on some of the luxury spending that happens we decided that we would do something which is completely immoral and very illegal – it’s something that happens in the Fashion Industry a fair bit and is also happening in other Industries more and more.
We took advantage of young aspiring designers by telling them that we were now hiring for a new patternmaker, all they had to do was come in for an unpaid trial and if they passed the trial they would have a paid job in our work room.
We would give each of them one or two designs from the new range so they could make patterns for them under the guise that this was a trial to see how they worked.
Little did they know that we had no intention of ever hiring any of them fulltime, instead what we were doing was getting them to make patterns for all of the designs that we could not complete in time.
We were getting them to help us do our paid job for free.
They went away feeling as though they might have struck opportunity, never heard from us again and continued looking for work – meanwhile we went on to continue in our role, being paid well and the range would go on to flourish and make huge profits.
This is exactly what is currently happening in the Film/TV Industry and still happening in the Fashion Industry with all talents and all job roles, not just Makeup Artists (even though they usually are the first to be used and abused).
But I here you say “Oh yes but I only work for free if I get something out of it”, you may think you’re getting experience but I am telling you it is not a real experience, you may be getting pretty photos for your portfolio but are they truly showcasing your talent or someone else’s?
When I first started Makeup I did some free work and it was not until I was on a paid gig that I realised that my experience was absolutely useless and that the photos I had in my portfolio were not close up shots of my work, they were usually showcasing the photographer, model or clothing – not my makeup.
No matter what you think the opportunity is or what you think it may lead to DO NOT EVER WORK FOR FREE!
Chances are you are being used and all you are doing is diminishing the value of your craft by setting an unrealistic ideal of the real costs involved in your Industry.

Friday, April 23, 2010


WARNING! – May still contain traces of bitchiness.

I posted a blog entry yesterday about this topic and found that it was a tad too bitchy so I decided to delete it and make an amended version.
Believe it or not this is the less bitchy version.

Here are a couple of exercises for upcoming young Directors, Producers and Photographers to complete prior to approaching Hair and Makeup Artists to work on your film/shoot.

1. Walk into a Hair Salon, tell them you want your hair cut, coloured and styled – say it’s for a special function and then tell them you have no money and cannot pay for it, but you’ll give them as much as you can afford now and, if everyone at the function likes it, you give them the rest later.

2. Phone a tradesperson and tell them you a going to refurbish your home. Say you want them to do it because you love their work and need someone with their experience. Now tell them you want it done for free.

Now, you know that word that they said to you - the one starting with ‘N’ and ending in ‘O’?
Keep that in mind when you next feel the urge to ask a professional Hair and Makeup Artist to work for free.
If you are going to require the services of a professional you are going to have to budget for it. Didn’t your parents teach you that?
This mentality that you can make a film or stage a photo shoot for no or little money of which you are going to benefit/profit from is simply childish. GROW UP!!!
If you are going to play with the big kids then make sure you are actually able to or you are going to be laughed at.
So to all those little film students and aspiring independent amateur film makers out there that constantly ask me to work for free – remember the lessons learned from practicing the exercises above.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I am always asked about where I buy my blood from, I don’t buy pre made blood as it is too expensive, too pink and stains everything.
I make my own.
There are a lot of great blood recipes around but my recipe is inexpensive, can be mixed to your own liking and doesn’t seem to stain (as told to me by a well known wardrobe mistress).
Blood is not simply one regular colour or consistency, it changes depending on where and how deep an injury is and whether it is coming from the heart or going to the heart.
There are also differences between bleed outs, such as dripping, spraying or gushing.
You should do some research into the injury you are replicating in order to achieve more realistic results.
Some Directors want you to have many different bloods available for the one film so you must be prepared at all times when doing blood work.
I have two basic recipes which I use all the time and if something different is required I work on those to produce the required end result. Both recipes are non toxic.
The colouring agents I use are available at any supermarket in the cake making section and cost only a few dollars.
One recipe is for all over use - meaning that it can be used on the body, in the hair, on textiles and inside the mouth and nose. This blood remains runny and does not congeal. This is "Recipe 1".
The other recipe, while also being non toxic, is to be used only on the body and on textiles and does congeal. This is "Recipe 2".
Here are the links to my blood recipes, have a play with their colour and use them at your leisure.

Blood Recipe 1
Blood Recipe 2

Saturday, April 17, 2010


One of my Makeup Artist friends was hired to do a Music Video where she had to paint black eyes on the members of the group. Because of the sweat factor the makeup was a nightmare to keep in place and needed constant retouching, so I thought I’d mention alcohol activated makeup.
Alcohol activated makeup (AA Makeup) uses a special polymer base which readily dissolves in alcohol, but not in water. It is an extremely valuable tool in effects cosmetics. If needed, makeup can remain in tact for days. It is completely waterproof making it ideal for aquatic makeup or scenes shot in the rain.
It is highly opaque to the level that it is beginning to see regular use as a concealer; replacing thicker heavier oil-based makeups. It applies very thin and is flexible, allowing the makeup to resist cracking. It blends simply by re dissolving already applied makeup with additional alcohol.
A few grams of makeup base can last for years of professional makeup applications.
AA makeup is most commonly supplied as a dry cake in a pallet or makeup pan. 99% alcohol must be purchased to activate the product.
Lower concentrations of alcohol, such as 93% are ineffective at dissolving the makeup. Additionally, there exists a product called Iso-gel manufactured by Telesis which is a gelled alcohol suitable for use in applying AA makeup. Its higher viscosity helps to prevent it from dripping, and has a significantly reduced odor.
AA makeup may be applied by brush dipped in alcohol, or the product may be entirely dissolved into alcohol and loaded into an airbrush. Urethane foam wedge sponges are not as recommended as a large amount of makeup can go to waste in the center of the sponge.
AA Makeup can be removed with additional alcohol, soap and water, or any of a wide array of makeup removers. Overuse of alcohol as a makeup remover is not particularly recommended, as it can cause excessive drying of the skin.
So next time you need a product that will withstand sweat and/or water make sure to purchase some AA makeup.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


There will be a lot of Makeup Artists out there that will cringe at what I am about to say but I don’t really mind, everyone is entitled to there own opinion.
Popular belief is that you are required to apply a primer prior to applying makeup.
Makeup primers are used to form a smooth surface on the skin so that makeup can evenly adhere to it.
The key ingredients in these primers are usually,
Dimethicone – used to form a water proof barrier.
Cyclomethicone/Cyclopentasiloxane – used as a spreading agent.
Dimethicone Cross Polymers – mostly used to give a powdery smooth finish.
What most people don’t consider is that most moisturisers contain these same ingredients – even the inexpensive ones.
Just because a cosmetic company tells you that you need something doesn’t mean that it’s true – they are simply charging excessive amounts of money for a product which is completely unnecessary.
I find that if your skin is cleansed well, exfoliated well and moisturised prior to applying makeup you don’t require a primer.
The first thing I do before I apply makeup to a client is apply Cetaphil moisturiser to their face and paw-paw ointment to their lips.
Then I make certain to apply foundation all over their face and neck including their lips and eyelids – believe it or not that is the skin “primed”.
You will find that the moisturiser creates and even texture, the foundation creates an even colour and the powder sets the whole lot.
Then I apply all the colour, eye shadows, blushes, brows, eyeliners, lips etc.
If you wish to seal the makeup once everything has been competed then use good old hairspray - but you must make certain the client knows to completely wash the makeup off prior to bedtime as this does not allow the skin to ‘breath’.
But hey, primers don’t allow the skin to breath either and that is why so many people suffer from blemishes when they use a primer and don’t wash it off properly.
So before you start purchasing expensive primers and sealers try using products you already have – they do exactly the same thing.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Okay, so you went out and bought this expensive, ‘whiz bang’, metal, makeup case with many shelves and compartments – how professional of you.
This case may be great for interior Fashion and Beauty shoots, as you do need to appear professional and “Makeup Artist-y”, but when you go on location it is nothing more than a nightmare!
It’s heavy, cumbersome and when it’s in the elements it’s similar to an oven - so you can watch your expensive makeup products melt into a huge, colourful muddle.
Also, when there is a shoot on the beach, sand and water are your worst enemies.
What you need to do is purchase a soft, fabric, zip up, drink cooler with wheels and use that as your kit for the shoot. It stops sand and dirt from getting in to everything, it’s water resistant and it helps keep your products nice and cool.
You can buy some really tasteful designs now so you won’t look like you have arrived for a family barbeque. Mine cost me about $40.
Another thing I suggest is to purchase a cheap, plastic, cylindrical cracker container with a lid for about $3 (the ones you keep your Jatz in) and use this to store your brushes – it keeps them clean and allows them not to squash into weird shapes.
Location shoots can happen anywhere, you never know the type of weather you are going to have to endure and usually you are moving quickly from one location to another – so stop worrying about your expensive makeup case and products and try being more resourceful and practical. This will allow you to concentrate on your job – doing Makeup!

P.S. There may be some similar cases and containers out there now which are specifically designed for Makeup Artists – but, because of this, they usually end up costing you an arm and a leg when really they are just the same thing.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I was sent an email from a fellow makeup artist wanting to know how much she should charge for her services.
It is always hard to know what you should charge for your services, you don’t want to charge too much or people won’t use your services and you don’t want to charge too little or people may not take you seriously.
For anyone offering services outside of the Film/TV Industry I suggest doing some research into what other Makeup Artists are charging for their services and what they provide for that charge.
Remember, “Google is your friend”.
Some Makeup Artists will have a rates list on their website, for those who don’t; you may wish to give them a call.
I have learned that, regardless of what I charge, the first thing that comes out of my mouth when someone asks me about my rates is, “What’s your budget?”
A lot of Makeup Artists don’t include a rates list on their site because it could have an adverse effect on what they could potentially charge. It is always a good idea to have a bench mark hourly rate though.
For the Artists working in the Film/TV Industry, you are governed by the “Motion Picture Production Agreement”. Everything you need to know is included in this agreement and most, if not all, productions use this as their guide.
If they don’t then they should be!!!
The current agreement for 2007 – 2009 is available at it is the third item down the list. Download it, make sure you read it and keep it as your Bible.
There is a new agreement being renegotiated right now for release later this year, to have your say on the MPPA call the Alliance on 1300 65 65 12 to be put in touch with your state organiser. Don't miss this chance to have a say on the way you work.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


The age old question and ongoing issue, “How long does it take to do Hair and Makeup?”
Of course this will vary depending on the type of hair and makeup being applied and the situation you are working in.
In the Film and Television Industry you are given a ‘call time’ which means the time you are expected to arrive and an ‘on set’ time which means the time when the talent has to be camera ready and on set.
Usually the time between the two is the amount of time you have to perform your magic and it is usually 1 hour. This of course does not include special makeups like prosthetics which can run into the hours and hours.
Most of the time it is pre arranged by the Head of Department as to how long should be allowed for Hair and Makeup, but generally speaking you have 1 hour to do everything which is required.
So to give you a general guide…
For a basic, natural makeup application I usually allow 30 minutes – this includes all over foundation and powder, blush and shading, highlighting, brows, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara and fully lined and coloured lips.
For a basic hair style, up or down, I usually allow 30 minutes – this is the type of hairstyle that is working with the natural state of the hair and does not require blow-drying, curling or straightening.
For all other makeup’s I allow 1 hour and for a more designed hair style I allow a further 1 hour.
As I said before this is just covering the basics and doesn’t include things like hair extensions, wigs and prosthetic applications.
As a Hair and Makeup Artist you not only have to be good at what you do but you also have to be fast – so my advice is to pick up your speed.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I just had a question from a fellow makeup artist who wanted to know if I used a mixing medium and if so, which brand I preferred.
For anyone who may not know, a mixing medium is used to make a powder in to a liquid and makes detailed application easier with less “fall out”, it also enhances the depth of the colour making it more vibrant and aids in keeping the colour in place for a longer period of wear.
The answer to the question is “Yes I do use a mixing medium sometimes” but I don’t buy it as it is usually way too expensive, instead, I make my own.
It’s incredibly inexpensive and so easy to make, just follow this recipe:

1 part Glycerin
2 parts Water

Put into a sterilized eye dropper bottle and shake.

That’s it!!

Now when you use it, place a few drops onto a clean palette.
With a brush, collect the eye shadow you want to use and add the powder to the mixing medium.
Mix until the powder is a paste (not too runny) and apply as you wish.

The great thing about this is that once it has dried you can leave it as is or you can still blend edges well.

I hope this helps.
If anyone has any more questions please let me know, I am only too happy to answer them. :)


Regardless of who is higher in the pecking order or how much experience someone has had, whether someone has treated you well or has said or done the wrong thing, it is vital that you maintain a positive relationship with everyone on set and off set.
Not only does it make your life easier when working on a project with many other creative people but it also reflects on you as a part of a whole.
A large percentage of work in this Industry comes from referral and if you alienate yourself from the team for one reason or another you may find you miss out on many future possibilities.
It is not just a simple situation of turning up and doing the work required it is also how well you cope with being a part of a team – it’s not just your skill, it’s also your demeanor.
Nobody wants to work with an arrogant wanker regardless of how amazing they are.
I have worked with some very talented young creatives who were very welcoming and professional to begin with, but unfortunately during the project they let everything go to their head and got a bit too big for their boots – needless to say that unfortunately their career in the Industry was very short lived.
Do you want to be remembered for one amazing project or many?
It’s all about longevity and not just the here and now.
To all the young budding crew members, actors and even directors out there, make sure you don’t burn your bridges before even crossing them; this is a very tight knit little community and it doesn’t take long before word gets around.
You never know who has done what and who they may know - so grow a thick skin, grow up, keep it real but keep it nice and you shall prosper.