UNPAID WORK & THE LAW
Many new entrants see unpaid work experience as the only way in to working in the media. However, the law is very clear about what constitutes as work experience and, generally, if you are doing a job for someone then you should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage.
It doesn't matter if you would happily work for free to gain experience - if you are working and carrying out duties, the law says the company must pay you.
Working for nothing is a vicious circle and simply devalues our craft.
WHEN IS DOING WORK EXPERIENCE OK?
When it is properly paid;
If you are just "shadowing" then NMW rules may not apply;
If the work experience is part of a full-time course organised by the academic institution and the work experience is a required part of that course, then you do not have to be paid.
This is only a very rough guide - contact the organisations listed below for guidance:
WHAT IS A CV?
A CV is a marketing tool used to let potential employers see what your experience, skills and training are - and, more than likely, you will only have seconds to impress!
DO I NEED TO WRITE A COVER LETTER?
In most cases, a cover letter is vital and it should complement your CV, not simply repeat everything on there:
Use it to demonstrate how your experience and training (as outlined on your CV) makes you an ideal candidate for the job or company.
It is important to tailor your CV and cover letter to the job and company you're applying to.
New entrants don't need to "fill out" a CV with irrelevant information. No one expects you to have lots of experience at this stage.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO
The links below will help you construct a CV and cover letter.
Here are some important things to remember - it's amazing how many people forget or don't bother with these simple "rules":
Check your spelling and grammar, then get someone else to check it;
When contacting people, be professional - don't use "text speak" or be over familiar;
Read the job spec and only apply if you meet the criteria; Applying for jobs you are not suitable for annoys the employer and wastes their time;
Keep your CV easy to read, concise, relevant and clear;
Don't lie, overblow your position or claim other people's work - you will be found out!
Finally, have a professional-looking email address. "firstname.lastname@example.org" is not a professional email address!
SO YOU WANT TO BE A MAKE-UP ARTIST?
Many people unfortunately assume that being a make-up artist will lead to a glamorous future. However, the hours and work conditions, in most cases, are long and hard - and even the most thorough training cannot ensure a successful career.
Competition for jobs is fierce and there are only so many industry jobs out there. Despite all this, you may wish to find out more.
WHAT AREAS TO WORK IN?
There are different areas in the media a make-up artist can work: film, television, theatre, editorial, fashion and so on. Some areas are similar, and some are quite different and require different training, though the core skills and elements (like health and safety) are the same.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE JOB
The hair and make-up department is responsible for the design, application, continuity and care of hair and make-up during a production. It ensures that actors, performers, presenters, models and others have suitable make-up and hairstyles before they appear in front of the cameras or an audience (be it for television, film, theatre, catwalk or photographic) and that the looks are maintained.
Some productions or types of work have separate hair and make-up departments, but for many jobs you would be expected to have both hair and make-up skills. There are also specialist areas like body painting, wig making, prosthetics, making contact lenses and making teeth.
These are just some of the key skills and attributes you need to be a good make-up artist:
Make-up skills including corrective, glamour, period and ageing;
Specialised techniques e.g. making and applying bald caps; applying and dressing facial hair; creating casualty effects (burns, skin diseases, cuts, scars etc.); tattoos and body art;
Hair and wig dressing;
Continuity hair cutting;
Good communication and diplomacy skills;
Good organisational and presentation skills;
Ability to work effectively as part of a team as well as having initiative when working unsupervised;
Ability to work under pressure to external and departmental deadlines;
The right attitude and work ethic;
Willingness to work long and often unsocial hours;
Knowledge of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures - and good working practices and hygiene.
TRAINING & EXPERIENCE
To start down the road of becoming a media make-up artist:
completing a good foundation training course in media make-up is important;
getting good on-the-job experience and training is vital.
Hairdressing is also an important skill for most areas of make-up. Completing an NVQ in hairdressing is advisable.
HOW DO I FIND A COURSE?
There are lots of foundation courses out there. With a little persistence and research you should find the right one for you. Contact the organisations listed in the column on the right under "Find a Course" for further help and guidance.
WHO RUNS MAKE-UP COURSES?
As an association we do not endorse or recommend any school or college. Many of our members run their own courses and private schools advertise courses in most women's and fashion magazines (and these courses are not subsidised). Many Local Authority colleges run media courses which often include both make-up and hairdressing.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A COURSE
Make-up artistry and hairdressing are hands-on professions and, therefore, have to be taught in a classroom environment:
Live models should be used (even if you just practice on each other) for as much of the course as possible.
Tutors should be readily on hand to offer guidance, assistance and criticism.
Important! Look at what the tutors have done within the industry itself. Many may be qualified to teach, but do they have proper and substantial industry experience?
Doing a course does not guarantee you a career in make-up! Some colleges do not emphasise how hard it often is to get (and keep getting) work and may even promise you a glittering career if you train with them. NO ONE can guarantee this.
Doing a make-up course does not make you a make-up artist! There is a career progression and it takes time to gain the right experience to progress.
After completing a foundation training course, you are a trainee. There is much for you to learn, not only about hair and make-up but about how a production works, set ettiquette, continuity and so on - things that a course can only teach in theory.
After being a trainee you progress to being an assistant and, after several years of solid experience, you may then be considered a make-up artist.
Being a film or television make-up designer takes many years of experience and NASMAH cannot stress this enough - simply doing a make-up course does not make you a designer!
You never stop learning and developing your skills and there are lots of "top up" short courses on a wide variety of subjects.
Skillset supports skills and training for the creative industries. Free helplines:
England & Northern Ireland 08080 300 900
Scotland 08458 502 502
Wales 0800 0121 815
Helpline - call an advisor for free on 0800 100 900 or go online and complete the enquiry form.
FIND A COURSE
NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE ADVICE
Helpline 0800 917 2368
Free and confidential advice on pay and work rights.
A forum run by highly-experienced TV and film crew, including the imfamous Sweat Team who work to stamp out NMW breaches. Ask for advice, help and guidance. Sign up for free and it is anonymous.
WRITING CVs &
M a k e - u p C a r e e r
T r a i n i n g C o u r s e s
W o r k E x p e r i e n c e
Life as a professional make-up artist is hard, erratic, challenging, exciting, varied - and extremely competitive! Even the most thorough training does not guarantee success
C V s & C o v e r L e t t e r s
C a r e e r P a t h
K e y S k i l l s