The Importance of Defining a Career Path

I often meet up with our network members to have one-on-one talks about their career. One of the first things I ask is, “what is your ultimate career goal?” Meaning, do you see yourself working in film/ television or do you see yourself working on national print campaigns? I recently met up with a young aspiring artist who said she wanted to work in film and television, but she was trying to build up a print portfolio so she could get more national advertising jobs. I asked, “I thought your said you ultimately wanted to work in film and television. She responded, I do but national advertising pays a lot.” I told her, “ I understand that but it takes a lot of time and energy to build a portfolio. I’m just afraid you are going to waist your time spinning your wheels.”

The point to this is that you should decide where you ultimately where you want your career to take you. Once you decide that, every choice you make should feed into that end goal. If you want to work in film and television then don’t spend a whole lot of time building a print portfolio. Everything you do and every career choice you make should bring you a step closer to getting to where you want to be. If film and television work is where you want to be then all your job choices should be centered around building a fantastic resume and getting into the union.

Avoid the pitfalls of being too scattered. When you are all over the map it simply takes you much longer to reach your destination. It’s like deciding to take a trip to Mexico from Los Angeles and deciding to visit the Aspen Colorado along the way. You may get to Mexico but it will just take a long time to get there.

When you decide your end goal, the steps to get there will become clearer to you. Every choice should bring you closer and closer to your dream. So make sure you make choices that are constantly feeding your focus.

For more advice go to: http://www.hmartistsnetwork.com

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September 13, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Networking, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

The Power of Networking with Your Peers

I was recently told by an artist they didn’t feel like our networking events were working for them because it was “just a bunch of Makeup Artists standing around staring at each other.” Yes we are a network of Makeup Artists and if you attend one of our events you will find yourself in a room full of your peers. I think the real problem isn’t that our networking events are filled with a room full of other artists. I think the issue is that Hair & Makeup Artists are under the misconception that all fellow artists are just their competition. But here are the hard facts: most of your work is going to come from other artists.

1. Film & Television Hair/Makeup Artists work in crews and that crew has a department head or a key that will hire you (not the producer).
2. Makeup Artists often bring the hairstylist onto a project (and vice versa) so take the time to network with them.
3. Network with more established artists (they often need an assistant or extra person on a job).
4. There are many times I am unable to do a job and I pass off work to other artists I know and trust with my clients.

Networking is sometimes an uncomfortable thing. It forces you to step outside of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to strangers. It’s not that networking with your peers doesn’t work because it does. It usually isn’t working because either you feel too awkward to introduce yourself or you feel intimidated by other artists. Or maybe it’s not working for you because you just don’t know how to network.

1. You have to feel confident enough to introduce yourself to others.
2. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you do and ask to trade work with them.
3. Don’t just give someone your card and expect they will magically call you. You have to ask for their card, make a note on the back about where you met, and take the time to follow-up with them.
4. Don’t just keep bugging people for work. Take the time to build the relationship with them over a period of time (lunch, dinner, drinks, event invites).

If networking with your peers isn’t working for you then I would reevaluate your approach. Start by building your networking of peers with a group of five people. Pass off a job with one or two of them and see what starts to happen. I’m sure you will start to see your jobs increase. And if you don’t, you need a new network of artists (either ones who are working or know how to network). Take these steps and your career will turn a corner, I promise.

September 6, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Networking, Party Event, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

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: http://hmartistsnetwork.com/events.

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick
www.hmartistsnetwork.com

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

Do You Know How To Stay Ahead Of The Competition?

The best way to stay ahead of the competition is by understanding a bit about business and keeping your artistry skills current. The most successful artists in our industry are the ones who understand this very basic concept. Never let your successes go to your head to the point where you think you don’t need to learn anything new, and never get too comfortable with your existing clients. Trends change rapidly in the fashion and beauty world and so do the people who hire you. My philosophy is that you always have something to learn from someone else (even your assistant), and you have to stay head of the competition through education. You do do this through product, business, and continuing artistry education. It’s not enough to just be a good artist. You must be a shrewd business person as well. This means that you must know your industry inside and out. By doing this, you will have the respect and loyalty of your clients.

One of The Hair & Makeup Artist Network membership perks is having unlimited artistry and business education through our virtual classroom. We have classes with top artists and industry experts and you can watch them at home. Visit: http://hmartistsnetwork.com/virtual-classroom

Or to learn more about paid membership perks visit: http://hmartistsnetwork.com/artist-signup

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick
http://hmartistsnetwork.com

April 6, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

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:

http://hmartistsnetwork.com/

http://hmartistsnetwork.com/events

Photos from our Red Carpet Gala:

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick
http://hmartistsnetwork.com/

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

Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival

You should know by now that we host monthly networking event for Hair & Makeup Artists. This month we have teamed up with the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival to provide you with an opportunity to meet filmmakers. The festival has been in operation for over six years and is host to hundreds of filmmakers each year. This year we are co-hosting and organizing both the opening night red carpet gala and the closing night party. These events are expected to have over 200 filmmakers in attendance providing you with an opportunity to build relationships and a stronger client base. So please join us Friday March 26th and April 1st for our big gala events both starting at 8:30. This year director Cheryl Hines and Jennifer Tilly are expected to attend the opening night of the festival. For more information or to purchase tickets call us at 323 913 9375. Also be sure to check out our upcoming events:

April 19, 2010 – Networking Dinner with art director from Lord of the Rings Jon Slowsky
June 2010 – Networking Dinner with guest speaker celebrity photographer Stewart Volland
July 2010 – Networking Dinner with guest speaker television director and television icon Anson Williams
August 2010 – Networking Dinner with guest speaker fx artist Edward French

For more information on these events visit: www.hmartistsnetwork.com/networking_events

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick
www.hmartistsnetwork.com

March 15, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Networking, Party Event, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. Leave a comment.

Who’s Fed Up With The Rates???

In my last blog I addressed the lack of professionalism and issues we are facing with our rates dropping. The response I got from my last blog was overwhelming. It seems that everyone is being hit really hard with the recession and everyone is really tired of being taken advantage of. It’s time that we all start to stick together on this subject. I know a lot of people see other artists as competition, but the truth is that we are really are best allies. Most Hair and Makeup Artists work in teams. We hire other artist on as assistants and we refer people we know and trust to jobs we can do. However, the practice of working for free has to stop. The day that the people hiring can’t find a soul in this town to work for free is the day we all get paid. I don’t know of any other profession that excepts this practice outside of an internship or apprentice programs. Our time, expertise, and education is worth something. Not only do other professions get paid for their time, they also have professional associations they belong to. So what exactly is an association? An association is a group of people seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession, and the public interest. It creates a sense of community and standards of excellence for the people in that industry. Hair & Makeup Artists have the union and that’s great if you want to work in film and television, but what happens to the rest of us who are not in the union?

The Hair & Makeup Artist Network was designed to provide networking opportunities, business education (such as rate negotiation), and business resources to self-employed artists. It is also designed to create industry standards in our profession and give everyone a voice. There is power in numbers and its up to us to band together in order for us to get treated like the professionals we are. HMAN is not another social networking website or facebook fan page. We are an association and we want your voice to be heard but this will not happen if you don’t participate. So contact us, email us, and get involved with what we are doing. We want to standardize the rates in our industry so that everyone will get paid a fair wage. Stop being afraid to say “no” to a job. Good negotiation happens when you are willing to walk away based on principle. Help us create better professional standards. Join our network and our cause by visiting www.hmartistsnetwork.com.

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick
www.hmartistsnetwork.com

March 12, 2010. Tags: , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist. 1 comment.

What Happened To Ethics In Our Industry?

I was speaking to a forty year veteran makeup artist sometime ago and he brought up a valid point. He said that there was a time when you were able to do business in the entertainment industry on a hand shake. It really seems the days of ethical behavior has really gone out the window and dog-eat-dog has taken its place. I think it’s really is a sad day when you feel like you can trust anyone. I know things are tough right now, and everyone is in survival mode, but does that mean that you have to screw other people over just to get ahead? One of the biggest issues that that has been raised is the practice of severely under cutting the rates of other artists. There has been a lot of talk about how the newest generation of hair and makeup artists have been under cutting the veteran makeup artists rates so low that they can’t seem to make a decent wage anymore. I know the makeup and hair schools are pumping out new people into the work force every day. I realize that the new people just want to get their foot in the door, but you need to think about who you are hurting in the long run. It’s really important for the new generation to realize that when you grossly under bid for a job, or when you’re afraid to negotiate a higher rate, you are driving the rate down. We the experienced artists, are trying really hard to piece together a decent middle class lifestyle, and that won’t happen for anyone if the new people keep agreeing to work for $100 or for free. The union had the right idea from the beginning, keep the union rates standard and don’t go below that amount. They understood something very basic, when one person works for less then slowly everyone else will too. If this practice keeps up then very soon from now, there won’t be an industry for us to make a living from. It will all just be a cute hobby.

Years ago, when I worked in Washington DC, the makeup artists there all had set rate that everyone adhered to. It was considered to be a huge “no-no” to undercut someone because they wanted to keep the wages at a high standard. We live in Los Angeles here where union is king, but more and more of the work is coming from non-union. It astounds me that there really aren’t any standard non-union rates here. When I moved here, I asked a person who runs a well know workshop what the going rates were in Los Angeles. To my surprise she told me, “its whatever the market will bare.” I’m sorry but that is an unacceptable answer! Now we are in a recession and the “market” or producers will bare $100 for a day. I don’t know about you, but my rent won’t be covered on that day rate! I’m asking you to think long and hard about what you bid for a job and to do your homework before you start quoting numbers. If you don’t know what the going rate is for your craft then call a few other artists or a few local agencies. But please stop working for bare minimum! We must stick together on this issue if we want to keep making a living at our craft. I can guarantee you the day that the standard is $250 a day for 14 hours the producers will get very comfortable keeping it there.

For more information about rate negotiation watch our virtual classroom video on “Negotiating Rates With Cloutier Agency”: http://www.hmartistsnetwork.com/video_list

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick
www.hmartistsnetwork.com

March 9, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, 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 www.hmartistsnetwork.com

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick
www.hmartistsnetwork.com

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 http://www.foxsearchlight.com/mynameiskhan/
or visit Robin Slater on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/search/?init=srp&sfxp=&q=rob%20s&o=2048&lo=2419698&ed=&wk=#/profile.php?id=1039035657&ref=ts
http://www.imakeup.com/pages/main.html

To learn more about our network: www.hmartistsnetwork.com

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick
www.hmartistsnetwork.com

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

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