There are many people who want to be Makeup FX Artists. More than there can ever possibly be demand for. Most of them will never ‘make it’. Not because they don’t have the talent, or the drive, but because they get worn down by years of trying and failing, and eventually give up, poor, lost and disheartened. It takes more than just raw talent and enthusiasm to make it in this business.
Many people starting out are often so eager to make a name for themselves and get involved in something- anything! – that they become unwitting doormats, willing to do whatever it takes to follow their dreams. For some reason, perfectly sane people who would never consider behaving like this in any other arena of their lives start belittling themselves or prostituting their skills. They become totally desperate- like drug addicts, taking whatever so-called ‘work’ they can get, to get their next ‘high’… Unfortunately in that state of mind it is easy to be taken advantage of by people who really couldn’t care less about your desire to prove yourself, they are just in it for themselves and don’t care who they tread on on the way.
It is one thing to be enthusiastic and helpful and excited about finally getting to pursue your dreams, and another thing entirely to get the chance to do something that is going to help you actually do that.
The word “No” is often completely eradicated from peoples vocabularies at this stage, because they are so terrified of somehow losing out if they dare to refuse a ‘job’.
Well, here is a reality check for anyone who is at that point:
The FX Artists Reply to Unreasonable Demands:
“No, I will not work for free on your project”: unless you are a good friend and we are working on something that is going to benefit us both. I have living expenses to pay, and I have far more important things to do with my life than to subsidise YOUR dreams at the expense of my own.
“No, I will not provide work in exchange for a credit in your film”: See Point 1… also and unless you are of the calibre of Peter Jackson or Steven Speilberg or Joss Whedon, and we are making something really cool for fun, that is guaranteed to end up not only recouping its costs but actually making money for everyone who worked on it.
“No, I will not ‘help you out’ for free or for almost nothing just because you are new at this/struggling/poor/misunderstood”: unless YOU can offer ME some tangible service or skill that will help me out when I need it. Can you do my accounts? Repair my plumbing? Clean moulds for free? Walk my dog? Its all about perceived value, people….
“No, I will not allow you to use my work for free in the hope that it will be a good advertisement for me”: how about YOU pay for it first, and then if it actually does bring me some distinct and tangible benefits that I can directly and easily connect to your use of my work, I may consider some sort of reciprocal arrangement that I think is an appropriate gesture of appreciation at that time?
“No, I will not take shortcuts in occupational health and safety, I will not work stupidly excessive hours without a damned good reason, and nor will I compromise the health, safety, or artistic integrity of either myself or any assistants and staff I employ, just so that you can get top end film-quality work on a non-existent budget”: You want it, you pay what its worth. If you cant pay that, then you accept what you CAN afford, and I will make sure you get the best possible value for your money. If you don’t want to pay what I need to cover my costs and time, or you have totally unrealistic expectations of my obligations to you, then you obviously have an over-inflated sense of your own importance. I do not wish to work with people who do not appreciate anyone else’s hard work, nor do I need to put up with your shit, so go see if you can screw over someone else.