Make-up Artists are key members of any production team. They work across multiple disciplines, ranging from fashion to music to commercials and films.
In any video or film, both hair and make-up are an important element. A good Make-up Artist could easily transform a modern man into a Victorian woman in a snap; or a worn out support artist into a supermodel! It won’t be too much to say that they possess a magical brush that could change the fate of any average Joe.
Not surprisingly, they are often the first port of call for any cast member. This first meeting with the talent is really important as it sets the tone for the shoot. A good Make-up Artist can gauge the nerves and do his bit to relax them. It’s all the more important when the shoot involves shedding inhibitions or clothes in a début or a nude scene.
Often a Make-up Artist acts as a confidante, playing the part of a sounding board for the talent. You could easily think of them as being in the counselor’s chair in addition to their own. Contrary to popular beliefs, Make-up Artists don’t just slap-on the make-up; they are experienced in every manner of production and know what is required. They adapt quickly to the needs of their client, at times working at a minute’s notice.
Experienced make-up artists go through the script and shot list for the day in advance, just so they can assess timings and any alternative actions that may be needed.
Some make-up types may require a hefty amount of time, for example the prosthetic make-up can take four or more hours. Their role is also crucial as the directors and producers are often busy with the shoot and only get to look at the talent when they arrive from the green room. Getting the look right is thus, that much more important!
When a complicated set-up is involved, such as period drama wasp waist corsets, beehive hair styles, wigs and white faces; the Make-up Artist would factor all this into their proposal for the team to play around.
A good make-up artist would offer shelter to the talent from all the madness going around on the set, in the comforts of the green room. They can’t get involved in all the ruckus as any mistake on their part would mean wiping all the make-up off and starting all over again.
Once their work is accepted on the set, they continue to pamper up the actors working under hot lights. Continuous action sequences or repeated changes in weather lead to periodic make-up changes as well. A good Make-up Artist takes the heat off the director.
When it is a large shoot, the Chief Make-up Artist would work with the top stars and others in the department work with the cast. Sometimes, they might just be applying make-up to an endless stream of extras without setting their foot on the set.
There may be times when they are brought in as consultants on previous projects they have worked, and other times they might just be focusing on blood and guts in the prosthetic department.
However on smaller shoots, Make-up Artists share more responsibility and are more deeply involved in the actual filming. They may have to meet with the production team and work closely together with them on the overall look and feel of the project, or help decide on 3rd party suppliers for things such as prosthetics.
They not only help with the make-up part, but also are responsible for creative inputs to the director. They also remain aware of any allergies that the subjects may have and make sure that they don’t affect the application process.
Make-up Artists go from creating a look to touch up to creating another look, all in a span of hours on the set. They are always involved and never too busy for a quick perking up of the artist.
By Shubhit S.