How to be an effective makeup artist's assistant

A simple guide on how to be an effective Assistant

This is a straightforward guide on what it takes to become agreat makeup assistant and how to get the most out of your training to help youto become a better artist.

1)    Your main job is to make the Key Artist’s job easier byassisting with tasks to speed her up. Watching and listening are essential tobeing a great assistant as you can learn so much by watching someone’stechnique, how they speak and liaise with clients etc. Listening and co-operating are your best assets; the best assistant is the one thatanticipate everything and needs to be told only once. 2)    Never be late to a job. Always arrive on time, if not a little early. If you are 5 minutes late you are late. Arrive 10 to 15 minutes earlyand make yourself known to the Key. 3)    When introducing yourself to clients/actors/production staff,specify that you are the assistant or wait until you are introduced. It's an important boundary to set early on and quells any confusion about duties or responsibilities. 4)    Arrive on set with a basic makeup kit, skincare kit and basichair tools. Your brushes and kit must be clean and your appearance should besmart, neat and inconspicuous (wear black and no bright colours). It is common practice to speak to your Key prior to starting work and discussing what makeup is needed in your kit. If there will be O.K. work, ordinarily the Key will have these supplies and you can decant what you need for the day. If your appearance or your kit are not professional and give the wrong impression and it cannot be rectified on set, you will not be employed by the Key again and you will be sent home. 5)    Unless otherwise specified or approved, mobile phones should be switched off and not brought onto set. 6)    If you are sitting down while the Key is hard at work thenthere is something wrong. You should be not resting or taking a break unless the Key Artist has specifically told you so, otherwise you ask politely what she would like you to do. 7)    Do not post any assisting photos on your website without prior approval from the Key. Once you receive the approval, you must indicate thatyou were the Assistant: presenting your work without crediting yourself as an assistantis seen as an attempt to steal work and is considered false representation.This is bad practice, will result in a bad/no reference and will damage yourreputation with the artist and in the industry. 8)    No cameras allowed unless authorised by the Key. When the KeyArtist takes photos she has previously sought permission and often uses them to test how things look on film and for continuity purposes, not for promotional use. After the shoot, some shots will be made available to you if appropriate. 9)    Never hand out your business card whilst on the job; this isseen as an attempt to steal future work. Instead give the Key a few of yourbusiness cards at the beginning of the day. If you are assisting and someone asks for your contact information, tell them you are the assistant to the KeyArtist and that it is not appropriate for you to give them said details on the job. 10)    Keep talking to a minimum, do not gossip and do not flirt.Never say anything that could insult the client or other departments. Rememberthe old saying ‘don’t talk about religion, politics’ etc. even if the client does, you keep a neutral position and don’t express an opinion. 11)    Set etiquette is of utmost importance and should be second nature. We need to know that if we walk off set, you can be trusted to handle anything that might come your way. 12)    If you are going to make a suggestion to the Key, be appropriate and avoid unsolicited requests in front of a client. If you’reunsure of why a particular product has been used or how, feel free to ask questions after the job is done. Remember that many Key Artists know their products and what results will be achieved with them and will feel no need to change.

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