There are a ton of tutorials done by fantastically talented amateur makeup artists. There are a ton more done by professionals.
I’ve watched quite a few, but I’m sure I haven’t even touched the surface.
That’s what scares me about doing my own YouTube channel. I keep asking the question…How do I set myself apart from the millions of people doing the same thing?
There’s a slew of people out there reaching towards the same door, but not everyone’s getting in. What can I do to make sure I get picked?
Here are some ideas on things you and I can do to move ourselves toward the front of the line.
Don’t Stop at Horror
When I first started getting into makeup effects I really just liked grossing people out with my horror skills. It was horror that got me into makeup in the first place.
But the fact is, horror projects that actually put good, lasting food on the table are few and far between.
I learned that I need to broaden my horizon and include some knowledge in beauty makeup and high fashion. (I must say I’d LOVE to work for MAC.)
There are also things like covering up minor imperfections, bringing out someone’s natural beauty under stage lighting, or creating subtle variations in an actor’s appearance.
Adding these skills will grant you more job opportunities than if you’re just a horror bloke.
Learning photography will help you to understand lighting techniques and related makeup needs.
There are things I never would have thought of like shadows and spots that can have a negative effect on a photo.
Sure, photos can be (and most often are) retouched, but the makeup artist who can accomplish the goal with little need for photo retouching is a makeup artist in high demand.
Knowing photography is definitely an asset.
Study Art History
Yes, art history.
There are makeup artists who have college degrees in art. It helps with designing makeup for certain periods and purposes, among other things.
A theater production of Romeo and Juliet, for example, or a film project like The Scarlett Letter requires a makeup artist with a true understanding of art history.
Other areas of study that can potentially increase your job offers include the history of theater and film.
Learn to Draw and Paint
When a potential job asks for your ideas for their project what’s the first thing they’ll see that represents your talent?
Learning to draw can be easy with just a lot of practice and patience.
The materials used in professional makeup effects are complex and require a true understanding of what they’re made of.
Knowing what the chemicals in your tools are and how they work will make you a better effects artist.
You’ll be able to assess the needs of a particular job quicker, you can identify potential problems early on, and you will know when to alert actors of potential allergy triggers and other interferences.
It’s not going anywhere, but practical effects certainly are dwindling.
We have to broaden our horizons and get into computers as well. It’s just that simple.
I showed you a video of Rick Baker sculpting a head in clay, but did you know he created the concept digitally first?
This is an absolute must have skill that cannot be ignored.
Being proficient in all these areas will prepare us for a whole heck more jobs than if we’re not. It gives me more confidence, too, that I’m more valuable than just knowing makeup and FX.