So You Got Your First Real Job As A Makeup FX Artist…….


Congrats on getting your first real gig.


Now comes the REALLY hard part!!


You are no doubt filled with excitement, enthusiasm, and a little bit of trepidation. Which is all to the good. 
There is nothing quite like jumping in at the deep end to find out exactly how well you can swim. And you are about to!!

If I can offer you any advice for the job it is this: 

BE PREPARED 
Yep, it’s the ol’ Scout Motto. 
And it holds as true for what you are about to do as for a soldier preparing for battle…

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After all, a well organized film crew is like a small army anyway in logistics and discipline. 

Be Prepared– means you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your job properly.”
Film is HARD WORK. Long hours, tiring days/weeks/months. Rarely anywhere enough sleep. And even when its fun, when you have a great cast and a terrific crew, and you’re living the dream, its STILL exhausting. Sometimes the only thing that gets you through is the camaraderie….. 
Film demands discipline, dedication, and determination. (And usually vitamin tablets and caffeine!! Just stay away from the stimulant drinks stronger than coffee- the older you get the more they will mess up your sleep patterns when you do get a chance to rest).

Be Prepared– by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.”
Film requires constant attention, and you need eyes in the back of your head, to be aware of what is going on around you, reading the signals to anticipate problems and correct them before they happen.

Be Prepared– in Body by making yourself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and do it. “
Pace yourself. Conserve energy when you can because there are times you will need everything you have in the tank… When there are wait times, try and get ahead to be prepared for the next thing. The killer is often that during filming you are so busy doing things that you won’t have time to prep for the next day. If you are Key MUA, that gets done AFTER wrap when everyone knocks off… So it pays to be as organized as you possibly can before the start of the shoot. 
But you may also find that something happens and things change so dramatically that you have to be prepared to abandon all of your carefully planned schedule and just wing it to the best of your ability. 
Flexibility is your biggest asset. Don’t be thrown if you have to change tack midstream. It happens a LOT…. 

And a caveat: 
When I say Film is hard work I’m not just referring to you. 
Film is hard on our families and loved ones too. 
Unless they work in the industry themselves they are going to find this a challenge. Film is a harsh mistress, and when you are on a shoot she demands ALL of our attention ALL of the time…
I sometimes, no that’s an outright lie, I always find that location shoots are easier to do for the single simple reason that you are able to concentrate totally on doing your job. 
When you are sleeping at home (because that’s pretty much ALL you will be doing) most other people won’t understand that although you are there, you aren’t really there…. 
Kids always want your attention, spouses likewise. They won’t always understand that you need to focus on the job for this period of time, when there are things around the house that they are used to having you there to do… The longer the job the less patience they may have with being relegated to second place. 
When you have to sleep at odd hours, have horridly early call times, or come home in the middle of the night, it can be disruptive to everyone else’s routines as well and takes some getting used to. 
It can help to discuss all of these things in advance. 

So, I always say, Be Prepared, to the best of your ability. 
Be Prepared, for anything and for everything. 
Be Prepared for the worst to happen, but hope for the best.
And then Be Prepared to change all your plans anyway…. 

Have a blast, you are about to learn more than any educational program could possibly hope to teach you or prepare you for. 
This is your baptism, lets hope its not a baptism by fire, and come out the other side with a renewed passion, increased confidence in your abilities, and with hope for the future. 
And have fun.

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