What happened to the real Production Makeup Artists?

Have you had a hard time finding a decent makeup artist who knows what is happening on set?


As the new generation of production professionals grows, this seems to be a common occurrence in the industry today. We pro MUAs are hearing countless stories from producers, photographers, and directors who are experiencing difficulties in their Makeup Departments. Scenarios such as, heavily overdone makeup, makeup vs. lighting issues, not knowing when to step into the shot for touch-ups, and not knowing basic set etiquette have become rampant these days.

Recently I was called last minute to a production because the makeup artist that was hired had no idea what she was doing and was slowing down the shoot. Unfortunately, said MUA was found on Instagram and hired because her rate was so cheap. What was perceived as a savings ended up costing the production far more in the long run. As we all know, in our world, time is money.

So, what the heck happened to the real Production Makeup Artists?


Makeup Artistry has gone viral, that's what has happened. Social media these days is flooded with Makeup Enthusiasts calling themselves Makeup Artists.  Our industry has been saturated with wannabe professionals who have no business in the production world. They present deceiving filtered selfies and disguise themselves as professionals with their thousands of followers and likes. They have dominated web presence and pop up in every social search feed available. True pro MUAs have been drowning in the reflection of their overuse of highlighter and glitter lately.

How to make sure you hire a true professional  Production Makeup Artist?

If you do not have a referral from a trusted source (i.e. another production professional, Production Hub, film directories, IMDb, etc.), go back to basics. It's time for you to hit Google for your search. Do not rely on social media alone to find a Professional Production Makeup Artist. A true pro will have an extensive website which includes a portfolio and a resume. Not having a professional website can be a sign of inexperience. 

The search engine term "makeup artist" is no longer enough.  Optimize your search by using the additional keywords like production, commercial, on-set, television, film, etc. when you are hunting. Stay away from the search term "celebrity". These posers have caught on to that keyword and use it relentlessly in their hashtags, SEO, and social media posts.

It is imperative that you dive deep into your perspective Production Makeup Artist's website. If they do not have a resume or client list on their website do not engage. Look for a professional portfolio. Meaning, the images in their portfolio were shot by a professional photographer.  Look for published works in t.v. and film as well. If their portfolio is filled with selfies and iPhone shots, the likelihood that they have never been on-set is close to 100%.

Get them on the phone. Have a real conversation with them, put them on the spot. Make sure they know and understand the complexities of the job you have available. Ask them questions like, “Have you ever worked in television?” “What was the last commercial you worked on?” “Do you have a full makeup kit?”  Trust me in your situation there are no stupid questions. What may feel like a silly question for a seasoned pro will catch a novice off guard. In turn, if they ask stupid questions like, “What is a call-time?” or "What's a deal memo?" you have uncovered huge red flags.

Finally, if their rate seems too good to be true, it probably is. Remember you get what you pay for.  A seasoned Pro knows their worth. More evidence of this is in this fantastic article by Margina Dennis.  Click here to check it out.

Seasoned Pros are still here.


Even though the waters of our industry have become a bit muddy and we've become a little bit more difficult to find, we are still here. We understand set etiquette, we understand lighting, we know how to communicate, we know how to interpret our client's vision, we love being on set, we know it's about what's best for the production and not just us. So we implore you to take the extra steps and reach out for a real Pro Production Makeup Artist for your next shoot.

Mary Rockwood-Crabtree, Professional Media Makeup Artist

www.maryrc.com  www.makeupartistbiz.com