The Social Butterfly. The hardest crew member to nail down unless you have a bit of cash.


"Hopelessly in June"

Makeup Artists (MUA) are one of the crew members who must be both talented at what they do and personable.

You may think that all members of a crew should be personable (I agree but this varies depending on the position), but Makeup Artists specifically need to have a special touch since they are dealing with talent personally, some insecure and others just yearning to look the part.  Talent needs to trust that their Makeup Artist is doing what the Director wants, what will make them look the part (and usually: look good) and also, not use anything on their skin that may give them an allergic reaction.  The second that trust is broken you are left with an insecure actor which is not at all beneficial to any production.


I always appreciate a Makeup Artist who asks the following questions as they take on a job:

Can I get a copy of the script?

Can I get headshots or screen grabs of the talent?

Do I need to worry about continuity with other scenes and if so, do you have screen grabs from that footage that I can take a look at?

These questions - although obvious - are important especially if a Makeup Artist is coming into a project after production has started.  There is nothing worse than a MUA getting to set, jumping in feet first and doing the wrong look/type of makeup for a character.  As a Producer, I certainly don't have the time to think about these things and make sure the Director is communicating this information as I hire you.  So please just ask!  Ask as many questions as you can!

On Set

"Love Sick Love"

When you arrive on set, find your designated space to set up and do so immediately.  You are the first stop when an actor arrives.  If you are not on time the entire production can be held up.  When you get underway, estimate the amount of time you will need to complete each actor's make up.  There is nothing worse than seeing a MUA chatting away with the talent (while working) with no idea when the make up session will end.  If the AD or the Director asks how long it will take, have an answer and be accurate.  Two seconds is not an answer unless the talent is standing up from your chair.  If your MUA is also doing hair, the process will take longer and the AD needs to know just how long.  When you are on set it's all about timing, scheduling and accuracy.

Last Looks

After rehearsal the AD and/or Director (and sometimes the talent) will ask for Last Looks. There's nothing worse than calling Last Looks and the MUA is no where to be found.  Once you are done with talent in the chair, bring your makeup bag and be on set.  Look at the monitor and know what needs tweaking before someone calls Last Looks.  When they call you in, jump in, make adjustments quickly and clear frame.

One of My Favs

Erin LeBre

Erin LeBre is one of my favorite Makeup Artists as she possesses all of the characteristics I mentioned above. Additionally, if she can't work with me on a production, she is ready and willing to help fill the spot with someone competent and she'll give them notes and a mini-interview so that she knows the person she is giving me is on top of their game.  Erin also is one of the few who never has a problem with talent.  She makes talent feel comfortable and secure.  Erin always asks questions about he production needs and the talent.  She takes make up notes for continuity so that we can continue shooting a scene another time if necessary. She's quick on her feet and when presented with situations like sun burn or horrible tan lines - she jumps in and does what she can to remedy the situation.  And the talent always looks amazing!

To contact Erin LeBre directly click here or please fill out the contact form here and I'll make sure she gets in touch.

Final Thoughts

Although it shouldn't matter (but it certainly does) the first red flag when hiring or meeting a MUA is when they aren't wearing any makeup or their own makeup doesn't look good.  If they can't put their own makeup on, then they have no business doing someone else's.

When you are able to, hire a MUA and a separate Hair Stylist so that they both can do their job to the best of their ability.  If a MUA isn't strong with hair, and you ask them to style hair, you are setting yourself up for mediocre hair and a hold-up in your schedule.

Special Effects, Prosthetics and other fun stuff - this is a different skill set than Beauty/Glamour make up.  Make sure you are upfront with a MUA about the needs of the production before asking your MUA to produce a wound on your talent's body or help with blood.  Also, these additional requests mean additional money, so be prepared to pull out the wallet.

Over the next few weeks I'm going to talk about the different members of an indie film crew and what I feel is important for these individuals to possess. It'll be the do's and don't's and I'll even feature some of my favorites and a few true stories!  From Make Up Artists to Production Assistants... it will all be here: From a Producer's Perspective.

Purgatory, Inc.

If you follow me on Twitter or if you are friends with me on Facebook then you probably think, "Oh Allison, that super busy producer who runs around L.A. like she owns the place?  Yeah, she's working on everyone's project."

Well that just about sums it up. My philosophy is to figure out what it is that you love to do and then do it with passion and vigor and at some point it will all pay off.  Since coming out to L.A. in 2004 I have produced over 100 DVDs (menus, games, features, read-along's (and read-to-me's) as well as my fair share of short films and PSAs.  While I'm still doing all of these things on a limited basis, it's been since the end of 2008 that I've been engrossed with film productions big and small.

SOLO Day 3 Episode 1
SOLO The Series

What I am most excited about is that the feature film and the two webseries I'm producing are all at that figurative edge of the cliff and the F18 of hard work and opportunity is about to wiz by and take us on a journey.

Hopefully you'll be right there with me enjoying Hopelessly in June, S.O.L.O. The Series and Purgatory, Inc.

Check back with me here - there will be updates and I may reveal scandelous info (and pics!) about the cast and crew I work with (my attorney is shaking his head "no way" and my publicist is clapping... we'll have to wait to see who wins...).

Hopelessly In June

From the beginning we are surrounded by stories. Our life is a story; the things that happen around us are stories and we create stories to entertain ourselves and others. Stories pass on information about history, other lands and other ways of life. Stories also teach us lessons in life. Characters and situations make up a story and those things, are our favorite elements. Create a character out of background, upbringing, and environment and put them in a specific situation to see how they react, overcome and interact with others. This is the essence of creating a story.

"Junkyard" producer, Allison Vanore, and writer/director, Michael Skvarla, traveled to Tucson, Arizona this October for the screening of their short film during the 2009 Tucson Film & Music Festival.

Other notes about the festival:

Hanson Film Institute

Visit the festival online at Tucson Film and Music Festival. This year's line up includes several films by Media Arts alumni includng Allison Vanore, Keith Ozar, Chelsea Cole and Michael Toubassi. In collaboration with Upstairs Film and the Tucson Film Office.

UA Media Arts Alum Blog

“Junkyard” will be screening as a part of the shorts section at the Crossroads Cinema on Swan and Grant, on Saturday, October 10th at 1:30pm.