Working for a small video production company in the San Francisco Bay Area means that you need to know how to do a little of everything. I have been lucky enough to be with the same production house for over 20 years. I started as a Production Assistant. Now I’m the Production Manager plus in-house make-up artist, occasional editor, camera operator (I won’t call myself a DP), director, producer, wardrobe, props master, and accountant. I’m sure I am forgetting a few things.
But this post is about when I started doing make-up and where I am now.
When I first started working for Atomic Productions in the mid-1990s, I was handed some old make-up and told, “Congratulations, you are our new make-up artist.” I had no idea what I was doing, and I was freaking out that I would mess everything up. Spoiler alert – I did! I mean, I didn’t even wear make-up when I was hired… It was definitely not in my comfort zone.
My first attempt at make-up was comical. Imagine an old black and white silent film; big powder puff applied straight to the face with a big puff of white powder going everywhere. Seriously, that happened, and we were on set. I’m grateful for towels to wipe people down!
Thankfully, I’m a much better artist now. Shout out to my mentors that taught me everything and the clients that trusted me as I was learning!
These days, I get excited when a client asks me to try something I have never done before. Such as creating a caveman & woman look. I altered patterns to sew their outfits, and I got to shop at the Bone Room in Berkeley to create prehistoric weapons and jewelry. I used fire, dirt, and shoe polish to age their clothes. Make-up is more than just what is on people’s faces; it’s the entire look. Props and wardrobe play a huge role in pulling any look off
So, when I was asked if I could do some simple, special effects make-up, I jumped at the chance.