Many different routes, reporting from set:
DOM TORRES …… (make-up artist/hairdresser)
I asked an intelligent question of a visiting lecturer who then recommended me to a make-up designer, and I got my first job as a trainee on Mister Selfridge, where I met a make-up artist, who recommended me for a theatre job. I worked in west end theatre for 4 years, and then was recommended to a make-up designer as a daily. After which I joined their main team and have been working full out ever since, shortly off abroad once more on a long period drama.
One line advice….’HAIRDRESSING COURSE FIRST AND TRY THEATRE’’
JAMEY-LEIGH WEBER……(make-up supervisor)
I sent out multiple (BUT INDIVIDUAL) emails to designers, (btw never phone it’s not good) I did my research looking at make-up designers I wanted to work with and by perseverance I struck lucky and now work as make up supervisor on set. I trained originally as a hairdresser and did a 9-month intensive course as Brushstroke.
One line advice…’ ITS NOT JUST ABOUT SKILL, POSITIVE ATTITUDE AND FLEXIBILITY COUNT’
TONIA VERNAVA……(make-up artist/hairdresser)
I found that applying to skillset did it for me. I had almost given up, having trained as a hairdresser, and done a 9-month intensive make up course at brushstroke. Through skill set I got a position as a trainee on a six-month job, and since then I have worked with that team and am now working as a make-up artist.
One line advice…’BE PRO ACTIVE’
MARIE DEEHAN… (make-up designer).
I studied at the London College of Fashion on a year-long course. I was lucky enough to get work experience on a comedy sketch show while still studying, which was a really busy show with wigs and prosthetics. Working first hand on set taught me so much about the industry and the many different skills needed, as well as set etiquette and communication between departments, things you don t necessarily learn in the classroom.
Investing free time does pay off as you learn so much, I was unpaid, but you make valuable contacts. After I had completed my course, I got offered a trainee placement on a comedy show with the same team, and I haven’t looked back since!
One line advice…. ALWAYS WATCH LEARN AND LISTEN.. KNOWLEDGE IS WEALTH.
CHERYL MITCHELL…(make-up designer)
I trained for three years as a hairdresser and beauty therapist. I worked as a therapist for 4 years on cruise ships before returning home and doing a short intensive make up course. After which I contacted her majesties theatre, asking for work experience which led to two days, the moment I stepped into the theatre I knew I had to be there! Later I discovered that the person who set the wigs in the morning was shortly leaving – right time right place – yes, but because I could roller set well, it was easy. I took the part time job and meanwhile practiced dressing hair in 1870 s style and finger waving, so that when a full-time roll came up I was ready and got the job.
After that came Glyndebourne, and then Covent Garden, where I met freelance artists, who were trained at the BBC, and I transferred seamlessly into film and TV.
The best place to learn period hairdressing and how to work with wigs is theatre and opera, invaluable… Rome wasn’t built in a day, these skills take time to learn. Respect the people who have taken the time to learn their trade.
Finally keep your head down, work hard, don t moan, don t be pulled into politics, use your initiative but be a team player, most of all learn how your colleagues like their tea, and don’t Let their cups be empty.
You are only as good as your last job.
One line advice….GET A HAIR QUALIFICATION, DRIVING LICENCE AND INTO THEATRE.
RACHEL LENNON (Make-up artist/hairdresser)
I didn’t go down the conventional route when I started in the industry. I was very lucky to have a kind contact who was able to start my training in make-up and she advised me to get a hairdressing qualification asap. I did my research and found that I could work as a trainee on set during the week and then do my NVQ level 2 hairdressing on Saturdays, over a year and a half. This was tough but it really boosted my confidence, with hair. This was one of the best pieces of advice I have been given and I make sure to always emphasize this to trainees now. I then branched out and worked with different designers. There are so many fabulous and creative ways of doing things in this job, and by working with different teams, you enhance and extend your skillset.
One line advice… HARD WORK/ ORGANISATION ARE CRUCIAL, THINK AHEAD. GOOD LUCK!
VICKY MONEY (Make-up designer/ prosthetic HoD)
I trained at Greasepaint Make up School and applied myself fully to the course whilst there, ensuring I took every opportunity to listen learn and practice during the day. One of my tutors whom I had admired, and had worked hard to impress, introduced me to a prosthetic designer on a long running BBC series, while she was attending Greasepaint to demo a make-up. After several persistent (but uber polite) emails, she offered me a two-week trial on her team. I tried to perfect every task she gave me during these two weeks, whether that was assisting her and her team on set, organising her products and stock, or making a round of tea. A short while after my trial had finished, she called to offer me a nine-month contact on her team. Having spent the majority of my six months after Greasepaint working for free, I felt like I had won the lottery! I went on to meet a great number of Make-up artists, Designers and technicians through that role, many of whom have become great friends as well as colleagues. I have been fortunate enough to work consistently since and am grateful for my job every day. My advice to new trainees is to simply work hard and be kind. Being respectful of your colleagues and getting on with your team and your artists will get you your next job. And if you do try to always perfect everything you do, you won t need to compete for work.
People will want you around to support them, for your positive attitude and your commitment to doing everything well. That’s what I look for, and appreciate in everyone who works for or alongside me.
One line advice….POSITIVE ATTITUDE, HARD WORK AND COMMITMENT WILL PAY OFF.
ROSIE OCTON (make-up supervisor)
For me as an employer, hairdressing and wig work is the most important area to learn as early as possible in training, as it takes practice and skill to understand the organic dynamics of structure and waves. I trained in hairdressing in the evening before going to uni to train in Make- up. As a trainee I met a fantastic crowd supervisor who comes from a theatre background and has insane skills. She was exceptionally kind and took a chance on me to do a couple of period jobs, which in turn showed me the difference there can be in the range and level of skills different people have, and I realised I wanted to specialise in period hair. So I did. I left TV for a little while and had an amazing time touring the UK an doing festival seasons in Rep theatres, PAID to gain skills! I now go on as many courses as I can to update and revisit areas for improvement. No one knows or excels in everything so never stop leaning as it can only improve you especially startingout.
One line advice: knowledge/skills come with time, don t rush it, use initiative to gain it.
WHAT IS A DESIGNER LOOKING FOR?
- Ability to get on with people.
- Independence – not too many questions,
- Skill Initiative.
I did Louise Constads’ short make-up course and afterwards, began assisting her. While assisting on a commercial I met another Film make-up /Hair designer, who happened to need a trainee for her next film, who had to be able to drive as well. I was working full time in an office at the time but they were very supportive and gave me a sabbatical leave to go off and do it.
I then decided to do a 2-year Fda course at London College of Fashion, and I continued to work whenever I could while also studying hard – that way when I left after two years I had built up some contacts, and I wasn’t starting out completely fresh.
You learn so much on a job that can’t be taught in a classroom and working at the same time as doing my course made me appreciate what I was learning more, as I knew I could then put it straight into practice.
When I first started out, I worked for free for new designers and other Make-up and hair artists. It’s risky for Designers to take on new trainees, and designers don t always have the budget or time to take that risk. For every freebie I did I always got something back, either knowledge, contact or recommendation. Learning how to deal with a new designer can be tricky as everyone has a different way of how they like to do things, but my advice, be intuitive and positive.
Most people starting out don’t realise that most of your work will come from your classmates, and other artists recommending you, it’s important to have that supportive circle around you..
If I could go back and change anything about my training? I wish I had done a hair cutting course sooner. It’s an important and necessary skill to have. Quite a few of the trainees on our last few films have got their foot in the door thanks to their hairdressing training.
One of the things I love about our job is the fact that you always keep learning, knowledge and generosity of knowledge if what is so lovely about our industry.
1 LINE ADVICE. BE POSITIVE, INTUITIVE, PRO- ACTIVE, DO HAIRDRESSING, AND DRIVE!!
I studied at greasepaint doing their short course in tv and film hair and make-up. Having no background in hair or make-up I was keen to learn everything. I made sure that I was the first one to arrive at college and the last one to leave. I was proactive, asked questions and practiced in my own time. 2 weeks after my course finished my tutor, who I really looked up to, put my name forward to a designer who was looking for a trainee for a sky comedy series. I was very lucky to meet her and her team who all took the time to teach me and helped me gain confidence. The best advice given to me was to do a hairdressing course which I did every Saturday for a year and a half. I am now qualified as NVQ level 2 in cutting and colouring which has been invaluable.
1 LINE ADVICE ..BE FIRST IN & LAST TO LEAVE AND LISTEN TO ADVICE IF GIVEN