Tuesday, June 26, 2012

But I Play One On TV: My Indie-Filmmaking Makeup Station

***Disclaimer: I am not a professional hair or makeup artist. Far from it. I can not stress this enough. I have no formal training, and am not licensed. I am just a well-informed amateur who has learned from experience and observation. Thank you.***

If you are a DIY indie filmmaker, or are thinking of trying your hand at some shorts, or maybe a local film scramble, this post is for you. This is not for folks with a budget who can hire a pro. By all means, if you can afford a professional, hire a professional. We hope to one day be able to, ourselves. For now, I've put together this kit, filled with essentials to keep us running.

Okay, let me say this one more time, just to be clear: I am not a professional hair or makeup artist, nor do I claim to be. That said, sometimes when Thomas and I are filming something, special makeup is required. Maybe we need a zombie; maybe we need people to look dirty and ragged; maybe we need to bruise an actor and he's just not comfortable with Thomas beating him around the neck and shoulders. Actors...

That's when my handy-dandy at-home makeup station comes into use.

As you can see, this is a super high-tech operation. The cart and counter-top organizer both came from Target, and I think were around $20 total. I like that the cart has wheels, because, if we're filming in our home studio (aka: the guest room "office"), I can roll it wherever I need to. Also, in a pinch, I can take the counter-top organizer off and use the top of the cart as a make-shift table. Not pictured is a small folding stool for the actor to sit on.

Here's a close-up of the smaller counter-top organizer. It's perfect for little items and disposables. Let's look inside!

I'm not going to be too detailed in these descriptions. If you really want me to go product-by-product, I can. Just let me know in the comments. This first drawer holds all my eye stuff. Pencils, mascaras, brow gel, some primers, a gel liner, and some individual and strip lashes with glue. You'll notice some items are sample-sized. That was a cheap way to expand my kit, up the quality of product, and use up some items that otherwise would have probably ended up in the trash.

Here are the smaller face items and a few lip products that really didn't have anywhere else to go. I've got my bruise and death wheels, Ben Nye setting powder and Final Seal, a couple of small HD powders (the better to toss in my travel kit if we shoot on location), some tinted moisturizer and mineral powder (for guys), lipsticks, lip pencil, primer samples (again, the better to travel with, my dear), a pigment, and some flesh latex and tooth color.

The last drawer is really the most important, in my book, anyway. These are my disposables. This isn't the best picture, since some things are stacked and layered, but this is where I keep my sponges, puffs, and all manner of applicators. I have individual mascara and lipgloss wands, so no two actors use the same. Each actor gets their own puff. Spatulas let me scrape out clean lipstick, gloss, gel/cream liners...etc. There are hand sanitizers and sani-wipes, and rubber gloves if need be. If you take nothing else away from this, please take this much: There is no sharing in makeup! Thou shalt not double-dip! I don't care if the person you're making up is your best friend, sister, or mom--you never share! Germs love mascaras, lipglosses, lipsticks, and pretty much anything else you can think of that's makeup related. Keep your hands clean, use disposable wands, change out your sponges, and clean your brushes and you'll be fine. It's okay to be paranoid.

This is the first drawer of the main cart. I also keep my brush belt in here, with E.L.F. studio brushes for use on greasepaint and to take on location shoots. They're only three bucks a piece, so if they get lost, broken, or what have you, I can afford to replace them. If I'm at home or in an indoor, low-key setting (not running through a cemetery), I prefer my Real Techniques brushes for non-greasepaint work. They're not terribly expensive, either, but they are a little pricier than the E.L.F. Here, you can see some face wipes, the larger HD powders (look for a difference between the E.L.F. and Make Up For Ever's HD powders. I dare you!), a tub of q-tips, and a whole buncha palettes. There's a Ben Nye foundation palette (and my deal of the year! Got it for less than $30, and it's normally closer to $60! I worried for days that I was getting an empty palette.), a couple of concealer palettes, a lipgloss palette, and a Z-palette with some depotted eye shadows, powders, and lipsticks. Then there are some Wet 'n' Wild palettes, a couple of single shadows, and my Pokemon-esque collection of Profusion palettes. I gotta catch 'em all!

The next drawer is the hair drawer. I wish it were more organized, but you work with the space you have. There are a few different hairsprays, a couple of volumizing mousses, extreme-hold gel, texturizing gel, volumizing powder, several pomades with different finishes/purposes, some samples of Fekkai glossing cream (I should just get a tube. it's awesome), a spray bottle for water, a comb, a couple of hair flowers that I know I'll be using on our next shoot, some spray temporary hair color, and some bobby pins, brushes and clips (not pictured, because I just picked them up today). Way in the back, under the hair flowers, are also a styling cape and an apron. I often have to work on people who are in costume, while wearing my costume. That is a recipe for disaster...and stains. These little protective coverings are vital, and they only cost a few dollars at the beauty supply shop. Please invest in them.

You'll also notice that I don't have any scissors or hair color, or anything like you'd find at the salon. That's because I'm not trained and licensed. I won't do anything that won't wash out immediately. If you want something more permanent, go to a pro. I do have hot rollers, a curling iron, and some velcro rollers, but they have homes in my bathroom, since they're mine and not the company's.

This last drawer is my special effects stuff. Here you'll find the edible fake blood (mint flavored!), a tub of white greasepaint (the rest of the rather extensive collection is in another kit until I can get a second small counter-top organizer for it), spirit gum, spirit gum remover, baby oil (for removing greasepaint), baby powder (for setting greasepaint), specialty powders, gelatin appliance bonder, brush cleaner, spray tan, extra sponges, extra containers, extra flesh latex, a couple of spatulas, and (oh, why not?) spray glitter.

So, there you have it. That's my amateur makeup station for low-budget filmmaking. A lot of it's E.L.F. A lot of it's drugstore. Quite a bit of it is on the higher-end, but some of that's made up of freebies, for crying out loud. It's completely about what works best for you and creates the look you want on camera. Just be careful about your hygiene, and have fun.

Do you guys enjoy these posts on what goes into low-budget indie filmmaking? Let me know in the comments.

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