As I mentioned in part one of How To Be a Good Makeup Assistant I receive calls and emails regularly from artists wanting to learn from me, assist or be mentored by me. In most cases out of three dozen or so emails one person might catch my eye and our emails might actually lead to a meeting. And if the aspiring artist reveals a kind, fun, sincere (not pushy) personality with a willingness to word hard (minus the attitude) they will often be invited to assist.
Along with the other guidelines in part one, the following attributes add up to the making of a great assistant.
4) As soon as you arrive on set get to work immediately. If you are standing around, sitting and relaxing or worse primping whether in general or out of the artists kit don’t expect to be invited back. An assistant should always be by their artists side ready for direction. If you are not sure what you should be doing…. ASK. If your artist doesn’t have anything for you to do at the moment, that doesn’t mean you should go to the craft table, flip through magazines, flirt with crew members or start texting… It’s always best to stay close by and wait patiently while keeping your eye your artist in case a need arises. Always check periodically to see if there is anything they need. And if you do want to run to the craft table etc ask your artist if you have time… And offer to bring her something.
5) Skip the complaining and the gossip. If you are fortunate enough to land an assisting gig, the last thing you should be doing is complaining. It doesn’t matter how tired, hot, cold, full or hungry you are etc don’t whine about it. There is another assistant waiting in line to take your place who doesn’t care how long the day is, what the weather conditions are or if the craft service and catering is lame. The same goes for gossip or bad mouthing, refrain from going down that road on set… Or at all. If you know your artist really well and have something you need to share find the right time and place to do it.
6) When you are starting you may not have a great kit, but it’s important to build one as you assist others so that when the time comes you can do any type of job on your own. Many times you can use specific items that belong to the key while on set, but at least having basics along with the proper tools is a must. I meet many artists who want to assist or they want referrals but, they work out of substandard kits so even if the artist is good, I am not always comfortable referring them if they don’t have the proper arsenal for any situation.
7) Use good judgement and common sense when it comes to the details of a job. Ever since the world began broadcasting the highlights of their lives on social networking sites it has become commonplace for artists to share any detail that they think will help further the marketing of their career. Although those tools are incredibly valuable, as with all things discretion is key. Never share details or photos etc of a job either leading up to, while you are on set or afterwards unless you have permission from your key artist. And always be cautious as to how you phrase your posts when referring to jobs that you have worked on. Many artists word things as to infer that they were the key artist when they were not… It’s far better to be accurate rather then claim a client or job was yours when you were assisting. And the same goes for when you are working on a team. If you have been booked by a key artist as part of a team or a group of artists it’s professional etiquette to give a proper shout out to them as well.
Early in my career I assisted a few New York artists and learned right away what was expected and what was discouraged. It’s better to be safe than sorry… And most importantly just because you have been working with someone for a while doesn’t mean you have license to get comfortable and slack off. Trust me, as soon as an assistant starts to get so comfortable that they get lazy, show up late or seem bored, distracted, disinterested or have a cocky attitude, I start looking for a new one. This holds true even if I have a great relationship with them.
The bottom line is every time I step foot on set I am there for business. And even though it’s a fun job, it’s still a job and my team needs to be up for the task at all times.
I would love to hear your feedback so please leave a comment here or on my Facebook page. And my goal is to help take your career to the next level so if you know of other artists who would benefit from this info please share it!