When you are watching movies or TV shows with astonishing makeup on the actors making them look like zombies or being cut down or in general making them look creepy is a job for a special effects makeup artist. If you find that interesting and maybe thinking what a beautiful job that is for you, or maybe planning on dedicating yourself and build yourself a special effects makeup artist career, this is the article for you.
This job will make you proud of your product while being hidden behind the curtain. Everyone seeing the movie or the theatre play will be amazed by your work. Other than actors, you can find gigs on Halloween to make someone’s costume perfect so they can enjoy the night more.
We made this article to show you that being an SFX makeup artist can be a good career choice if you are good enough and if you know how to be your own manager and find your own gigs.
What does it take to become a special effects makeup artist?
If you decided to become a special effects cosmetics artist you will need to attend a course to educate yourself on how makeup works. Applying makeup is not an easy job, it requires skill but patience also. On the course, they will teach you first about the base coat that you have to apply to the skin. The base is made from different materials like rubber, latex or maybe making a mixture of wallpaper glue and water so it becomes a dough-like mixture. The most important thing about the base is that it must not irritate the actor’s skin.
Additionally, special effects sculping is another vital skill you will need to learn to become a true SFX artist as suggested by CMU College.
After they teach you what you need to know about the base, they will teach you about colors. The colors are the most important thing in the mask. They are the thing that captures what you wanted to present and what you intended to do, so make sure you know your palette right. For an instance, the blue color represents a bruise or a hematoma. The red color represents hyperemia, an open wound, blood, or burns. The yellow is representing pus or the bubbles on the second stadium of the burn marks.
You will have to know what some injuries look like if you need to present them. For example, if you need to make up a burned man you will need to know the stadiums of combustion. If you need to make up a deep cut, you will need to know how to make the surrounding tissue, how to make the blood look real.
Other than injuries you will need to manipulate your actor’s age making them younger or older. With molds or just applying the base, you can shape it on their face and add wrinkles or if they are older individuals, you will make their skin smoother.
Hairstyling is also one of your jobs. To capture the essence of a character, you will need to work a lot more than just the face. You will need to style their hair too. Attaching wigs will be one of the things you will do the most. As opposed to adding hair, sometimes you will need to make them bald. How can you do that? You smooth their hair fist and then there is a special mold that you put on their head. With regular makeup, you make the transition imperceptible.
What you really need to do?
After learning how to apply cosmetics, you will need to constantly improve your skills. To become a good makeup artist, you will need to be creative and have a different thought process, you will need to be inspired easily and implement things you see in a photo on your actor. You will need to follow through with some rules as well. Also, you will need to practice more to become better, with every makeup that you do, you learn from your mistakes and become better automatically.
Other than applying makeup, you will need to work extra time in order to prepare yourself for your character. Making sketches, trying out designs, watching stuff on the internet is just some of the things you will need to do. Also, preparing your cosmetics, using new things that are better for your actor’s skin is essential.
Sometimes to capture the character you will need to read the script and that takes time. You will need to communicate with the costume designer to align things up and coordinate yourself. But remember, everything you do is a sort of advertisement for you so you can get more and better projects.
Is SFX makeup artist a good career choice in 2023?
Is SFX cosmetics artist a good career choice? I would say yes! Why? Because there are a lot of regular makeup artists, but few special effects artists. Since there is little competition, you have more chances to become employed fast and become successful. Also, since there are not many people doing this type of special effects makeup, you are more likely to be paid better. People that are SFX cosmetics artists earn just below 100k annually with chances that the price will become bigger these next few years.
You will have a chance to be employed in a theatre or get a movie project. If you are self-employed you will need to have some marketing knowledge since your work depends on you getting the projects.
If you are patient, have a creative mind, and think differently than others, this job is for you. You should use this quarantine and self-isolating period to learn and start to work immediately after this situation ends. Other than getting paid, you will have a chance to hang out with famous actors and actresses which is a benefit in and of itself. You will love your job and you will never feel bad every morning you have to go to work. One thing to consider is that there might not be free weekends like in other jobs. Your free time will be up to you and the projects that you accept.