As an accomplished commercial makeup artist, I understand the intricacies of the industry and the importance of making decisions that enhance both efficiency and professionalism which lead to success working on set. One of the eternal debates in the makeup industry revolves around the size of your professional makeup kit and the choice between carrying several makeup cases versus opting for a more compact, condensed and streamlined setup. In our world of makeup artistry, perception is everything. Clients often form opinions based on the artist's appearance, demeanor, and, yes, the size of their makeup kit. Striking the right balance between a well-equipped inventory of products and tools and streamlined efficiency is key. In this blog post, we'll get into the pros and cons and why I highly recommend a more compact and streamlined setup to work in commercial, TV and film makeup.
Here is a scenario: Picture this…you are the client who hired a makeup artist for a 1 day in-studio shoot with 1 male talent. All makeup looks are natural, no makeup makeup looks. Now, picture the makeup artist arriving to the shoot and unloading their kit which includes: 3 rolling cases, 1 backpack, set bag, chair and a light.
When your hiring client see this, these are the thoughts which may run through their mind:
Wow, that’s a lot of stuff!
Is this makeup artist experienced? Do they know what they are doing?
How much time will it take them to set up?
I’m so glad we are in the studio and not on-location.
I’m glad we only have one location.
It’s just one male talent.
We don’t have a Production Assistant available to help them carry all that inside.
*(This may sound exaggerated, however I have witnessed a similar scenario!)
In fast-paced production environments, time is of the essence. Since commercial work is fast paced, showing up to set with lots and lots of cases may cause the producer to question their hiring decision! Clients may think you are either a new makeup artist, not completely confident in your skills or lacking on the set experience. Don’t let this be you:-) We all start somewhere but learn from those who have gone ahead of you. Now I know for some artists, an extensive range of products and tools provides comfort knowing they have absolutely everything they need. And truth be told, I’m not one to re-pack my kit for every job because you run the risk of forgetting something. However, I am a commercial makeup artist speaking with 20+ years of experience working on thousands of projects and sets. I give you this advice. As you develop as an artist especially working in commercial, TV and film you should strive to:
Gain situational awareness and soak up everything around you on set.
Get continual experience working on all types of sets with all types of makeup, skin tones and ethnicities.
Develop a wealth of knowledge in products, tools and techniques.
Ask questions and decipher the needs of each shoot.
Think outside the box when it comes to your products and tools.
Learn, fine tune your craft and trust yourself.
With all of this being said, I do recommend you opt-in for the simplified and streamlined makeup kit setup. Here’s why…
Makeup artists who opt for a more compact setup prioritize efficiency and mobility. Carrying a streamlined makeup kit allows for quick setups in any type of spaces and easy transportation, making it a favorable choice for the industry and working on many types of sets. Large and heavy makeup kits can hinder mobility on set, especially in tight or crowded spaces. Maneuvering through sets, trailers, or locations becomes challenging, potentially leading to delays in getting the talent camera ready.
A compact and well-organized kit will not only be easier to carry but also contribute to your overall well-being. Your back will thank you! Transporting a heavy and bulky makeup kit shoot after shoot can be physically demanding.
Maintaining a streamlined, curated kit packed with essential, purposeful products and tools demonstrates professionalism and preparedness. It shows that you understand your craft and can anticipate the specific requirements of a project and work quickly and efficiently. A well-thought-out kit also allows for quick adjustments and improvisations, showcasing your adaptability and knowledge as a makeup artist. Too many options can be overwhelming and may hinder your ability to think quickly on your feet.
As a successful makeup artist and considering their kit, the key lies in understanding the demands of each job, type of job and tailoring your kit accordingly. This is also where experience, resourcefulness, confidence in your skills, knowledge of products and your intuition will guide you. I’m wrapping up this blog post with two very important rules of thumb:
TWO RULES OF THUMB TO REMEMBER:
1. Never arrive to a shoot with more gear than the camera department.
2. On the flipside, carrying too small of a kit may make the client feel like they are not receiving their full value. It’s a delicate balance.
Want to learn how to craft a complete yet streamlined and condensed commercial, TV and film makeup kit? Want to learn how to make your makeup kit work for you and get you more jobs?
Create your commercial makeup kit and catapult your makeup career!
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