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Art! The Perspective in the Creative Process: Part XII

A Hollywood Make-up Artist (Part 1)

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In as much as the audience of Dagogo Magazine is a part of that quintessential sector of the society who are often referred to as Audiophiles, Music-system-enthusiast and what have you, it is almost for certain that the majority of individuals of that shared ilk in and of high-tech-sound reproduction, are also quite aware of the major part the visual side of that technology plays in this modern day realities perspective of things including sound, or what one is hearing. And in this heavy visually oriented society there often seems to be a “look” to have for so many things. Maybe sad but true in some cases, but often times it’s the picture that sells, promotes so much of what’s out there; even when it comes to the sound of music. “The hills are alive…” ha ha. Excuse me there, got a little carried away with parallels and analogy. Anyway, this installment will be another two part presentation, with this first round giving a generalized take on things, while the second part will deal with some of the specific’s, i.e. technical involvement of the artist craft as it were, in the working procedure with a make-up artist.

Our make-up artist in interview for this piece has about 30 years of experience under their belt in the business of the ‘Make-Up Artist’ world of things. From the likes of the print-work medium; of magazines, brochures, album & CD covers, etc. to music video work and television commercials of an extensive variety. Television sit-coms, award shows, mini-series, episodic’s and so on, but the field they spend most of their time working in is, of course, film. The Hollywood film industry almost exclusively. That ‘ol ‘Tinsel-Town’ madness of the monster entertainment machine that is a dominant force of visual production all over the planet is the primary setting for their work.

Indeed name drop we won’t here, but suffice to say this individual has worked with film actors that range from those of the 30’s out of Vaudeville, to those working heavily in the 70’s; and many popular faces in the range of comedies and drama in the 80’s that were abounding up through the 90’s. And as well there is the present day number of new stars gallantly going through the motions of Stardom-Seeking. Athletes, Music Stars, Political personalities, and Comedians alike doing commercials as well as feature films, independent movies, etc., the field has been thoroughly covered by this Hollywood make-up artist. It is an extensive career that has allowed them to travel the world with the numerous locations in the various film projects they work. And with this wide range of prospective and experience they bring to a set; it has earned them accolades and respect amongst their peers in this highly competitive and often extremely whimsical profession.

Television and movies are running 24 / 7 somewhere no doubt, and all those actors and models and even some of the contestants certainly can’t be allowed to go out on a set without having make-up applied. News commentators, runway models, the person posing for a tractor ad, etc. the whole lot of them get some powdering. And besides those mediums there is the serious glut in volume of glamour magazines out there that have some things in common with the others; and one of these things is a person (or persons), working as Make-Up Artist, to aid in the “enhancement” or “highlighting” of the presentations. You might refer to it as very well done job, nice effect, or “beat ‘em”, as a make-up persons slang might suggest (like a bang-up job), on some model or actors make-up session.

Although not without its fair share of insanity with the general zaniness of the business itself, i.e. the commanding personalities of stars, producers, directors, and every other position (of which there are many), are factors that take-up much time and energy while work is done in the shooting process alone. The work schedules can be quite heavy-duty as well; such as the case with working times on jobs often averaging 14-17 hours a day on set and location. Moving gear and reading scripts, keeping continuity books and other fine details are all part of the scene-by-scene standard procedure of things along with the other sorted and sundry bits of routine that are the norm in these positions. This artist has a love of the work and knack for dealing with all kinds of people, and the journeyman credentials that supports the raw talent and experience that has been a key to their longevity.

The behind the scenes involvement that goes into making a movie is something that the average movie viewer never really gets to see. Even with the advent of the DVD presentations with the ‘out-takes’ and ‘directors cut’ that give one a lot more of an idea and glimpse of the procedures and goings on behind the scenes, there is a whole atmosphere of that process that cannot be seen readily by the viewer. There really is nothing quite like the real-time day-to-day work schedule. Even for those who get to see a major motion picture studio tour realize they are only getting to scratch the surface a little bit more in this filming and production side of the movie machine. Inside the trailers and on the various sites of location where those in the business are going about the motions of doing their jobs, is what few others on the outside get to see.

Tools of the trade are too numerous to get into here, but suffice to say the “Kit”, as it is referred to, often times brings in a separate fee all its own. The ‘trailer’ a make-up artist works in on location is also a unique piece of machinery in and of itself as an extensive tool used, which also varies somewhat from production to production. Just imagine for a moment the daily, inner goings-on in the make-up, hair, and wardrobe trailers of the stars while movies are being made. Another one of those exclusive settings of the work place that is peopled and seen by only a few in this production process that turns itself into a motion picture where the end results are seen by yet so many.

The “Industry”, as it’s referred to, is certainly in a class by itself, and only a few get or have the opportunity of working there. It’s most certainly a unique entity-machine, and at the same time a major communication tool…

More next time…

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