Do You Wonder How C.G.I. Will Effect The Art Of Makeup?

It seems that C.G.I is taking over the makeup world. You see movies like Avatar, Clash of the Titans, and even the new Star Wars where the creature characters are created in post rather than a makeup effects house. Some people say that special effects makeup is a dying art, others say it is just evolving into a new partnership between the effects artist and the graphic artist. I recently got the pleasure of working with John Slowsky the preproduction Art Director from Lord of the Rings and his vantage point was very interesting. According to Mr. Slowsky, makeup artists are not excluded in the digital creature creation process.

So what exactly is does a preproduction Art Director do? Well, that person is responsible for creating the overall look and feel of the film. They literally create the style guide for the on set Art Director and crew to follow. So essentially, that person is key in the creation process which results in the finished product we see in the theaters. John Slowly is not only the visionary behind the design of films like Van Helsing, The Incredible Hulk, and The Lord of the Rings, he has been around since the dawn of the computer graphics revolution and he is an expert on what role Makeup Artists will play in film making in the world of C.G.I..

Please join us Monday April 19th to meet John Slowsky and find out more about how makeup and computer graphics work together in this new age of film production. For details about this event visit:

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick


April 9, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Networking, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

How Do I Finanically Plan for My Hair or Makeup Career?

When I first started working as a freelancer, I never once considered setting up a budget for my career. I was just like everyone else out of school, I put out resumes and promo pieces using my credit card.

Let’s face it, you have to spend money to make money. Yes, there are a lot of free ways to promote yourself online but that will only take you so far. You still need to have a website, business cards, demo reels, and office supplies for things like your resume, software, a computer, and other tools of the trade, not the mention the cost of networking and having lunch with people. Since most of the work you will get as a freelancer will come from referrals, networking events and “doing lunch” will also be a very important part of your budget. There are many networking organizations out there that hold monthly mixers but they all cost money to attend. My advice is to understand your is income vs. your monthly expenses (rent/ utilities). Once you understand these two things you can:

1. Create a monthly allowance for promotional materials and networking events
2. Open a separate checking account that you use for only business expenses so you don’t overspend

By doing these two things you will never be too broke to advertise your services and you won’t be debt financing your career. So take the time to create financial plan. You will be surprised on how much easier it will be for to get your name out there, and you won’t be stressed out about money while you are doing it.

To create a solid financial plan visit our website and download a financial planning spreadsheet to get started at

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

April 8, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. 3 comments.

Stop Being Lazy & Start Networking!

I’m always amazed at the small turn out of Hair & Makeup Artists at our networking events. As you all my know, we co-hosted the opening night red carpet gala for the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival. The event was a huge success! There must have been over 300 people at our event (most of which were filmmakers). Attendees included Sprague Hayden (24), Ileana Douglas, and Director Cheryl Hines. There had to have been over 200 filmmakers presents providing hair & makeup artists with optimum networking opportunity. Still the turn our for hair & makeup artists were low. I really don’t understand the mentality of today’s young professionals. There really seems to be this strange sense of entitlement with our peer group. It’s as if they expect that the work will just fall into their laps, or they believe that getting an agent will solve their problems. Agents certainly help, but there is not substitution for self-promotion. I have talked to agents and top artists alike, and the response is always the same. Agents from both Celestine and The Rex Agency have told me that an agent can only do so much. It would make their job easier if the artist would continue to network. I know an artist at Cloutier Agency who tells me that she needs to self-promote because her agency is only pushing the top artists.

People tell us that they would join our network if they could get work out of it. Our response is always the same. We are not an agency. We are a networking organization. Our job is to provide you with the tools for success by putting you in the same room with producers, directors, filmmakers like Cheryl Hines, and other celebrities so you can promote yourself. However, the work will not come to you unless you show up and participate. Ninety nine percent of all success if just showing up. If you are looking for a hand-out in this business, or if you are sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, you are in the wrong industry. You are self-employed which means it is up to you to bring in the clients. Job referrals will always come from people who know and like you, but that will never happen if you don’t get off the couch and build the relationship yourself. This is not an industry where you can just join a website and the work will start poring in. You must take control over your career and put some real effort into it if you want to be successful. So stop being lazy, stop waiting for the phone to ring, and start networking! For more information on our organization or networking events visit:

Photos from our Red Carpet Gala:

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

April 2, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Networking, Party Event, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

Reinvent Yourself In 2010

I was on set this morning and the caterer all of people made a very valid point about creating an image in Hollywood. I know that it may sound strange that the caterer was handing out advice on self-image, but she used to manage top recording artists in her early days in Hollywood. As the caterer and I talked, she gently pointed out how she was surprised I was the makeup artist for the shoot because I was “dressed down”. She said, “she usually sees the celebrity makeup artists dressed like a million bucks.” I could have take offense if I didn’t already know that she was right. For as long as I have been in Los Angeles I have been dressing for comfort and not for style. I guess it has been a combination of being lazy and heavily influenced by my super casual surroundings. In Hollywood, people wear jeans and flip flops every where they go! It astounds me that people show up to movie premieres wearing jeans rather than a dress. Where did the glamor go in Hollywood? I guess I can’t really talk because I have been doing what everyone else has been doing. I forget that if you want to work with the celebrities and their people you have to also look the part. It was suggested to me that I take sometime in 2010 to reinvent myself and my image if I want to attract better clients. Now, I never show up looking like what the cat dragged in but I do dress for comfort. I was told that I should take some time add some more style to my wardrobe and add some highlights to my hair. It may sound strange, but this is Los Angeles where image is everything. And if you want to run with the movers and shakers, you have to look like them as well. It may sound crazy but I know this personal Makeup Artist for a well know dance show. She dresses to the nines every time I see her. Her hair is perfect and she always looks hot, but more importantly she works all the time! So maybe there is something to be said about creating an image for yourself by the way you show up dressed to work. It certainly is something to consider when you are out networking in this town. So I suggest we take the artist manager turned caterers advice and reinvent ourselves in 2010. Think about where you want your career to be and project an image that will make you stand out. After all your image is your brand!

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

February 18, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Networking, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. 1 comment.

Are You Spending Too Much Money On Your Portfolio?

I just did a presentation today for the a local beauty college in Los Angeles and many questions came up about building your portfolio. One of the main points I addressed was that building your portfolio shouldn’t be costly to you. Yes, you will need to spend some money when building your book, but you should still be smart about how your money is spent. In the beginning, I would use photo labs to print photos for my portfolio. Each custom photo was between $75 and $100! The most frustrating thing was that I would very quickly replace the photos with better ones. That meant I was wasting a lot of money. It was then that I realized my money would be much better spent investing in an Apple computer, Photoshop, and a large format color printer. By doing this I could customize the photos myself and print them straight off the computer. So, when it came time to replace the photograph, I had only spent a couple of dollars. An Apple computer costs between $1500-$1700. Large format Epsom ink jet printers cost around $500 and Photoshop can cost around $600. Today, large format ink jet printers can produce amazing photos. I know it might seem like a lot of money up front, but you will be saving yourself thousands of dollars in the long run. Imagine if you are testing every week and replacing old photos with new ones twice a week. Then imagine it taking you two years to build your portfolio. How much money do you think you would have spent then? There is something to be said about being penny wise pound foolish. So be smart and make the investment. You will have saved yourself so much time and money in the long run. Your career is an investment in your future.

For more career information and tips go to

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

February 10, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

The Hair & Makeup Artist Network’s Testimonial For Success!

About a year and a half ago I got a phone call from a Bollywood production company looking for a Makeup Artist with a background in film. Immediately I started going through the profiles of artists in our database and called all the artists that they worked in film. Out of a hand full of people, only Makeup Artist Robin Slater returned my call. Since we are not any agency, I just gave her the direct contact information for the company. I didn’t know it at the time, but the film had fairly decent size budget. Not only did it have a decent size budget, it is now being backed by Fox Searchlight! Robin Slater not only got to work on the film, she and an assistant spent most of last year working in India. Now that the film is complete, advertisement for “My Name Is Khan” are popping up everywhere including in Times Square! Who would have ever thought one little advertisement for The Hair & Makeup Artist Network in LA411 would provide one artist with such a life changing experience! As Robin Slater puts it, “If it wasn’t for you and your network I would have never worked on this job.”

We may not be an agency, but we do give job referrals. So does our network help people? You bet! The proof is in the Bollywood pudding! And if you don’t believe me, just ask twenty year industry veteran Robin Slater! Now we don’t promise that everyone will get a trip to India by joining our network, but there is something to be said about networking and being in our database. Not to mention we offer a lot support and other benefits to network members.

To learn more about “My Name Is Kahn” visit
or visit Robin Slater on Facebook:

To learn more about our network:

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

February 1, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Uncategorized, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

Are You Affraid They Will Say “No” To Your Rate?

A few days ago I posted a blog about “How To Negotiate Your Rate.” A couple of the tips I gave was know your worth and be willing to walk away. I’m sure you might have thought, “easy for you say but I need the money.” The truth is that times are tough and we are all hurting financially. Although, I really believe we have to stand out ground when negotiating money.

The day before yesterday, I got a call to do makeup for a very well known person in the music industry. This was a personal request and the artist was going to be paying the rate out of their own pocket. The first important piece of information for me was that the artist was paying and not a large corporation. I know that artists will not pay as much as a corporation for obvious reasons. The assistant asked my my rate and then quoted some ridiculously low rate she was told. I immediately told her, “no I never work for that.” Then I counter offered a higher rate. The assistant told me she had to get approval and would call me back in the morning.

At this point, the conflict is that yes, I could use the money, and working with this person could open some great doors for me. However, I know that this person is established enough to pay my asking rate. I decided to take my own advice and stand firm on my rate regardless. The next morning, I call the assistant and I ask about the job. The assistant told me she decided not to go with makeup. I took and deep breath and said, “thank you anyway” and hung up the phone. For a slight second, I felt disappointed. I knew this could have been a great contact. Then I thought, “I did the right thing by not caving in.” I new that the artist could afford the rate and I really was worth what I was asking. Just as soon as I finished that thought, the phone rang. The assistant was on the phone and told me they changed their mind and to come in for the shoot.

I felt not only relieved but empowered. I took a chance, stood up for myself, and got the rate I asked for! So now, I have not only taken my own advice, but I put it to the test and proved that it works. You may not get the job this way every time, but at least you are not devaluing yourself. The truth is that people will respect you more if you stand your ground. And if they walk away, maybe it was just for the best. I know that I have been doing this long enough where I deserve to be paid for my experience and expertise. So what is your experience and expertise worth to you?

For expertise advice on negotiating rates watch our virtual classroom workshop with Cloutier Agency:

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

January 28, 2010. Tags: , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

Do You Dream About Creating Your Own Cosmetic Line?

Just about every Hair or Makeup Artist I know wants to create their own cosmetic line, but do you know what really takes to start your own business? I think most people believe that they will find an investor and everything else will fall into place. Yes, it takes money to make money, but you have to be willing to give up your life as you know it in order to run a business. You can plan for your business but, as in life, things may not go as planned. Even so, here are some important steps and things to consider when starting your own line:

1. You must start with research: know what is missing from the market place and fill that need.
2. Keep it simple! Unless you are lucky enough to have several hundred thousand dollars at your disposal then you will probably do most of the work yourself. So, in the beginning start with one or two amazing products and build from there.
3. Take some business and marketing classes. You will need it.
4. Get a website and learn the art of viral marketing.
5. Realize if you do not have a history of running a business, then the start investment will be you, friends/family, or a small business loan from the SBA (small business administration)
6. Realize your business could take at least two years before you break even so plan well!

Several months ago, we held a class on this topic. Robyn Bloom of Purely Cosmetics was gracious enough to teach the class. Robyn is an entrepreneur who started her makeup line from scratch and out of her own pocket. Her insight and success was very informative and inspiring. So much so, we taped the class and added it to our virtual classroom series. The class is nearly two hours long, and you can learn how to create your own line from start to finish from the privacy of your own home. For more on this topic go to:

Other links:
To learn about internet marketing:

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

January 27, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Marketing, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

Do You Know How To Negotiate Your Day Rate?

I know, its hard to have to negotiate money. As artists, most of us would rather just do the job and have someone else negotiate the money. However, the hard reality is this; agents only want to take on established artists. So this means you are going to have to do the negotiating until your career is at a level where an agent will take you on.

I think most of us don’t want to negotiate money because there are so many emotional attachments we carry with it. According to, ” There are four emotionally charged reasons that this happens:

* You don’t believe you deserve it.
* You don’t believe other people think you deserve it.
* You know you deserve more, but not how much more.
* You know precisely how much more you deserve, but you don’t know how to get it.”

I think as women this is particularly true (whether we want to admit it or not). I don’t know about you, but I was raised to be sweet and accommodating. This a great notion for the 1950’s housewife, but it serves no purpose in the business world. Growing up, I don’t know how many times I avoided the opportunity to make a better deal because I just didn’t want to create conflict. I just wanted to make my purchase and get out of there. It didn’t matter if I could have gotten my item for less as long as I didn’t have to deal with the hassle of haggling. But why? Why do we undermine ourselves? I think in competitive job market we mostly do it because of the fear centered around not getting the work. What if we over-bid for the job? If anything, I think we mostly of grossly underbid. This might happen for a number of reasons starting with not knowing what your rate should be, and not putting a value on your time.

Good negotiation happens when you know what you are worth and you are willing to walk away based on principle. Negotiation isn’t just about a dollar amount. It’s putting a value on how much time it will take you to drive to the job, how many people you will have to prep, how much product is being used out of your kit, how much time they are giving you to prep each of the talent, what the talent you are working along side you is being paid, and ultimately how beat up will feel at the end of the day. It’s not about how much you are asking or put some mascara or hairspray on someone. It’s about how much your time and expertise is worth. So do your homework. Know what the going rate is for your area, level of experience, and the medium you are working in. Then you have to know if your time, effort, and financial investment is worth what they are offering you. If it’s not, then be prepared to take a stand and walk away. CNN advises:

1. Don’t look at a deal as an either/or proposition
2. Know what you can part with — then part with it hard
3. Figure out the other side’s timetable. Then use it
4. Show people that you understand their position
5. Stifle your emotions
6. Don’t believe everything, but don’t call anyone a liar
7. Devise a backup plan that you could live with

I think that is great advice from a well respected resource. The day we all know what are worth, is the day we all get paid a fair wage. Just ask yourself, “What is that producer or actor being paid for their time?” It’s probably more than what you are getting.

For more career advice go to and watch industry interviews on HMA Network TV. Or watch our virtual classroom video on rate negotiation

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

January 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. 1 comment.

How Do You Stay Possitive In Broken Economy?

Sometimes its just hard to stay focused and motivated in a tough job market. If you work in the entertainment industry, you will know that January an extremely slow time for work. So how do you stay positive when business is slow going? It might sound corny, but there seems to be some physical benefits to positive thinking.

I was working on an early morning gig before the holidays when I came across a book on set by Cheryl Saban, PHD entitled “What’s you self-worth? A woman’s guide to validation.” I thought, “oh great, another self-help book talking to women about their self-image.” Out of boredom I began to skim through the book and one chapter, “The Law Of Attraction” really caught my eye. I really liked her message so I’m going to share it with you: Dr. Saban wrote, “It has been documented & written about since the early 1900s and states that there is a physiological foundation for positive thinking. Based on the reality that there are many forms of energy and energy cannot be destroyed, the law of attraction suggests that you essentially attract to your life whatever you give your attention, energy, and focus to, be it positive or negative.

The of Law f Attraction states you can purposely project specific vibrations. So try vibrating these four things:

1. An aura of affection
2. Optimism
3. Openess
4. Positive Intension

When these four elements will collide, all manner of doors will open to you.” So you see, you create your own reality. If you believe there isn’t any work out there then there isn’t. If you believe you will have an academy award for best makeup/hair then you will. So focus only on what you want and why you want it. The rest is just a negative thought process that will keep you from moving forward. It is all up to you and what believe system you chose to subscribe to. Stay positive and keep your eye on the prize.

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick

January 25, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Networking, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. 2 comments.

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