Marketing push

Within the next month I will be reworking, alongside the lost project team, my marketing strategies in line with the new projects that are in the pipeline.  

The plan is to create images before I start my new film projects, then whilst I am working on that we will be teaming up to create some new elements and portfolio pieces in video and stills form. 

Marketing tricks

As a major part of this, we do have something special in the works so for those wondering what is planned, stay tuned. 

The primary concern over the next few weeks is about character work, starting with simple CLEAN beauty shots and some small scale out of the box fx such as cuts, scars and bruising.  We will be trying new products and be experimenting more with colours such as red, yellow and blue to create something advertorial based to promote JamesC and the lost Project.  

The logic behind this is we want something fresh to show and a chance to mentally clear the artistic decks before a return to South Asia.  

Marketing is a major part of any business and after doing a basic website check up and of course, with my new contracts being drawn up, it just seemed like a smart move.  

choosing a door

This might seem like a strange title for a blog but I want you to stick with me on this, when I talk about choosing a door I am using it as a metaphor to describe your career.  

choose your door

There are no shortcuts however you can make choices that will elevate you and take you in a better direction.  When it comes to choosing a door, many people now look to the bridal and fashion industry for the associated glamour.  if you find it would you please let me know.  

Personally, I prefer the realms of film and writing has become a major part of my time and energy.  

The film industry works on similar principals to many businesses: circles of contact and gradient levels of skill. Like any business there are three tiers: 

  • Top end and luxury which in this context would be a list celebrities in Hollywood etc.
  • Mid-range which is often second-tier actors from TV and with a lower budget aimed at the TV sector, satellite or increasingly the digital download market. 
  • Lowest in the chain is micro and low budget, speculative and often without a marketing strategy outside of social media posts. 

The two top ticket options will generally have a business model and a marketing budget behind them which makes them more inclined toward profit.  

So with these established hierarchies how can you get a foot in the door.  Well, the good news is the lower end of the market does have an open door policy and skill level is not really an issue you just need to network and work on lower budgets.  Its open to trainees and skilled artists alike, just don't expect to be paid well. 

To move up the food chain and get into the two top ends of this becomes more tricky and is not for the faint-hearted, as it will involve a great deal of critique and your skill set will be questioned.  Assisting will be a common entry point to this world.  

Look at the options and decide what is the path you want to take and which door is going to be best for you.  Is it a career or are you looking for a hobby?  You really need to be realistic about what your expectations are.  

negotiating tips

Something that people seem to be missing when I talk to them is the ability to negotiate a contract or talk financial terms when it comes to the business side of makeup. 

There is something fundamentally wrong about the arts and media that makes people unwilling to negotiate and they accept or degrade the value of their business.  You need to be able to negotiate and reach terms that work, you run a business, its not a hobby.  

So what do you need to do to make this work?  Well first off lets look at simple economics.  You spend on average £25 on materials per day on a shoot, then add in your travel costs.  

business tricks

Here's a simple way to work it.  When you want something in any aspect of life set a bar, figure what is the lowest you are willing to take and then what is the maximum you think you can get, cars are a great way to illustrate this: 

You want a Mercedes, you know that you will get declined and told to lower your expectations, so what you ask for is a Bentley or a Rolls Royce.  This will allow you room to negotiate.  

Same principal applies for work:  "my day rate is £350 a day but I am open to negotiations." 

This will open the door to new jobs and show you as a business minded person instead of a hobbyist desperate to be noticed.  Showcase the skill set and work within parameters you know you can work with rather than undercut your own business.  

stepping out

I wanted to take a huge step away from some of my current duties, what has ended up happening is what I was treating it as a part-time endeavour and something to use as a marketing tool, has become a full time job and its really not what  I wanted especially as it was never part of the contract. 

portfolio

Part of this is me just having spent weeks negotiating a contract and doing a huge amount of marketing for my clients and not having time to do the things I want to do.  

With this in mind I am stepping out till I leave for my next film, while I get that all finalized, I want to work on the creation of some new portfolio shots.   I want to do this and shoot the images myself.  A sort of creative clear out of my own head.  

The thing about being an artist is your head is constantly full of images, concepts and creative plans, you can't really switch it off. 

Having spent the day on the phone and online with Mac cosmetics, confirming my new pro account.  This will allow me to grab some of the more fun makeup that I have put off playing with such as pigments and mixing mediums, in other words, I will be able to play.  

The choices I make are really about working with my own principals and making sure that my business moves forward. 

coffee and reality

I got an email this morning with a screenshot, the person sending was appalled that a fellow makeup artists business was being dissected and critiqued.  Here's the clincher, no-one involved in the conversation had spoken to the artist direct instead favoring rumor and speculation.

coffee thoughts

Now I have had this done to me several times and its part amusing and part scary. 

When you attack someone's business on social media, you forget that they might find out.  If that happens there are consequences.  In my case, I took legal advice and contacted the people concerned with a legal warning. 

In the social media age, its become increasingly easy to attack businesses and vilify because you can block them and in some cases, this has led to a major loss of business and is in my case driving me out of the location to places where skillset is a commodity and my terms are met.  

Here's my issue with that.  The people doing it fail to realize that first off this is libel and slander and is legally actionable, when you attack someone's business you are opening the door to a lot of problems and it does not benefit you in the slightest. 

The second issue is, it really comes down to jealousy, if you are not willing to put the time into your business you have no right to complain about how other people work.  Simple.  

If people put as much energy into their own business as they did attacking other people, they potentially could succeed.  

perception of value

There is an interesting argument I have had put in front of me a few times recently.  The perception of value in a business sense.  Looking primarily at makeup, I have been asked why I get the work I do such as films in South Asia or the deal for the Spanish film.  For me, it comes down to factors and the perception of value that comes with what I offer. 

There is an element in any business of fake it till you make it. 

That's a given, however, there are limits to that and I know my limitations and focus on working with the skill set I have and building on it.  

So let's look at what I offer: 

20 years of experience in theatre, film, TV, and fashion.  There is no way to fake that, you either spend 20 years building your portfolio, CV and contacts within those realms in a broad sense OR you focus on a specific area. 

a cynical eye

Willingness to travel.  I have been willing to travel long distances, India, Holland, Germany and of course across the UK including London. 

Risk taking: I am not afraid to open the door and walk through, meet new people and open a dialogue with a telephone call or email.  

When I talk about my skill set and background I keep it within the bounds of what I know is plausible and possible, so I don't have to go onto social media in a panic and look for advice.  I already know what I can and can't do.  

Here's how it breaks down.  When a client approaches me from South Asia (for example), there are multiple factors that come into play: 

  • Skin color.  Perception of skin color is still a valid concept there.  Light skin and of course European accents are seen as better. 
  • Skillset.  My portfolio matches what I say I can do.  
  • CV:  Again, my CV is verifiable. 
  • I am willing to communicate, negotiate within reason and know my craft because I have earned it.  
  • I know what I can bring to the table.  
  • My portfolio reflects the work they are looking for, social media and "selfies" are not my primary source of work, I have a diverse book of Commercial work.  

My perceived value lies in a mix of skill set, marketing skills and my background that I have worked for and earned.  

By contrast, if you have zero experience and work in shop But really want to break into the same market as me, the way to do that is earn it, by undermining it you will damage your own skills and detrimentally affect your future business as well as the people coming up behind you.  

The perceived value lies in what people are willing to pay for what you bring to the table and what you value yourself at.  If you do not value or trust your own skillset and undercut the market rate to get the job, then your value goes down and the skillset becomes moot, you are setting a low bar for your own business.  

 

time demands

I see this alot with the private sector, IE private clients, no consideration for business hours and a demand for attention at any given time.  

When you run a business its a big undertaking and it can take up alot of your time and energy, so when you switch off your phone or set a deadline for not taking calls and texts, you need to make that clear on your website and social media marketing. 

"I work the following business hours and inquiries made after 6 pm will be answered the next day." 

My evenings are spent working on marketing and catching up on the other bits and pieces of work that need dealt with such as the non urgent work like social media.  This is also the time that I spend working on articles or researching for a piece.  Which admittedly is going to slow down as I am now focusing on the film side.  

I don't appreciate people texting or calling me at random late at night especially when it can be handled by email or by booking an appointment. 

demands

Consultations for me are part of the service and while I am happy to talk to you in brief about your needs or wants, you will be asked to book a time slot to talk to me, this goes for new makeup artists as well.  I am no longer willing to indulge you by email or on calls.  You will book a consult and pay for my time.  

Demanding attention or most recently for me, expecting me to treat a part-time practice to become a full-time job without pay, is not going to happen.  I appreciate that your call/text/email is important to you and whatever reason you have chosen from simple skincare advice to business consultations, can be in your head the most important thing in your world, its not mine and I have other things on my plate so please remember that before you decide you need my immediate attention.  

I can almost guarantee that you would be extremely angry if I phoned/mailed/text you at 10-30 at night asking if you were free to talk about something minor and demand your attention.  So remember that next time you feel like the question in your head needs to be answered Right away.   

Zero Justice film and much more

Over the next few months, I will be working with the Lost Project team and Tanezcor films toward finalizing the feature film Zero Justice to be shot in Spain. 

Zero Justice film

This means over the next few months I will be traveling a lot, I have to admit that I missed being on set and sitting in Scotland has driven me insane, so being able to get back into a film is a major plus for me and will give some nice exclusives for my magazine contacts.  

I will be starting the process of designing for the two feature film projects and giving consideration to how I will fill out the makeup department on the project in Europe. 

Nepal is finalized and I will be traveling soon to join the team, this one I am excited about as the potential, the director, cast and crew are stellar.  

For more details on Zero Justice see the campaign details. 

Zero Justice film campaign.  

invest in a set bag

When I talk about investing in a set bag I don't mean as a cool way to carry your kit around.  I mean as a tool to use on set, use it for the intended purpose.  

The purpose of a set bag is to carry "on set" the makeup and tools that are required for touch-ups.  You use it to carry the items you need to do touch-ups and the size of the bag will depend on the scale of the jobs you're doing.  I personally have two (I will be adding a third soon), it's about the practicalities of working. 

The small bag is for when I am shooting a single model or a smaller gig, I bought mine from Get Set Go.  

My Medium bag (from Screenface) is used when I am on a film set and need a little more space to carry kit onto the set.  

In the next few weeks, I am planning to add the Mykitco backstage buddy, the reasoning being it will be practical for my next two films, yes I will take my small bag with me for my assistant to use.  

Practicalities being that I can carry the items I need for touch-ups such as powder, brushes and a palette, perhaps even glue.  I will not, however, use it to carry the full kit on a train or a plane.  It's ostentatious and showy, I am not interested in explaining my kit as I travel.  I want it stored in a case so I can just pick what I need without having to unpack everything so I can have the things I need on hand.  I will use it as intended.  

If you are all about the show and your clients are of the type that needs it, then go for it.  For me it's about practicalities not showing off.  

Kathmandu films

It has been a long year of marketing, phone calls and emails.  Building something solid for 2018 with the team at Kathmandu films.  Its all about marketing and just being flexible in terms of how and where I work.  

over the next few weeks, we will be working remotely before I join the team for the first of what I hope to many projects where I will be a part of the Kathmandu films team.  

It's hugely flattering to be invited into the film and I am looking forward to being a part of the film, which will shoot both in Nepal and then London.  My job will be to work with the lead males and create a three-stage character change from geek to chic which I am more than excited about as the director and cast (details will come out soon), are hugely talented members of Nepal and South Asian film industry and for this honour alone I am happy to be a part of the film. 

While I am there I will be creating some editorials and articles about the film and then time permitting I will do something tourist based to share with Trend Prive and World fashion media news.  

South Asia is somewhere I love, having spent two years in India, I am really excited to be heading back to that corner of the Globe and will of course keep my readers up to date with my movements.  

Brushwork Cosmetics

Brushwork cosmetics started out with some of the most beautiful professional brushes I have seen in years, adding to this with their cleverly marketed social media guru based collections in candy colors. 

Their latest addition, the liquid lipstick collection, is as beautiful and practically priced as the brushes.   

With names taken from some leading artists, such as Monet Nude, they are cleverly adding an extra edge of art to their already beautiful collection. 

For more details on the range check their website: https://www.brushworkcosmetics.com/makeup

to get a 15% discount on your order use promo code JamesC
— https://www.brushworkcosmetics.com/makeup

Film moments

It all started with a single word: Hello. 

it all starts with hello

That's how I find much of the business I do.  Especially the films, when someone is checking out my business on LinkedIn or any other social media forum, this can and does include groups, I check into them.  I send a message to say hello and make an effort to introduce myself and my work.  

Simple.  Right? 

Its all about the marketing.  I have been able to secure some amazing gigs and build a rapport with people across different genres of the industry and with different backgrounds.  Which has opened doors to magazines and film projects. 

Sometimes it's the simple things that make all the difference.  

dispelling a myth

I am not one for posting my entire business and personal life across social media, I find it tawdry.  Especially when it comes to my business.  Yes, I will reveal titbits and snippets of information but its generally consistent with what is coming up and not about boasting.  Contrary to myth. 

So let's look at the outcome of this,  I am a person who works with the indie film sector on an international scale, consulting and writing for magazines.  I created my job and built my business.  It did not happen overnight, I earned that and I have made losses in the process.  However, the key was I kept going.   You cannot give up at the first hurdle.  You need to be realistic, but you cannot give up. 

creative mess and myth

Over the last quarter, I have had a few photographers, makeup artists, and film companies approach me about what I do and how I approach it.  So they are asking to consult with me on the process I use to market and create the business.  It's not a big secret, here's a hint.  Work smart.  

Now I will focus on the makeup artists here because that is my profession:

"I want to break away from working free on shoots and doing weddings I really want to do film and TV."   

I have spoken to people about how to get a foot in the door and told them what I am working on and made it clear there is work available, only to have them turn it down.  Now my work may not be your taste, that's fine, but when you are talking to someone who is making it clear they are doing commercials, editorial and feature films and you decline it in favour of someone else you found on facebook then you have no right to complain when the work goes elsewhere.  

Stepping up and offering your services with the stipulation that you are EXTREMELY busy and can't take on anything unless it involves international travel will not get you the gig. 

Be honest:  "Look, I am working in a salon and it's really not for me.  I want to break away from it but don't have the experience and would appreciate a chance to prove myself." 

I will have more respect for you if your honest instead of trying to wangle a free holiday and some unearned credibility.   Assisting if you have not done something is not a bad thing, someone like me who works in the commercial sphere does not get to dictate the pace or the work, the client does.  Your working for me and my company, you want to learn the real side of the job then as someone who's done 20 years of it at the frontline I think you will gain something versus working for someone who has no experience outside of indies who does mainly weddings and is only working on a film as a favour.  

Make good choices and focus your abilities.  Working in film and TV is demanding but worthwhile you need to be realistic.  

Something I focus heavily on now is creating the work.  By this I mean I don't wait for the client to come to me  I either create the gig or Market to that audience and pull them in.  My marketing is targeted at the audience I want: while I attract from sectors that cross over its broad enough that I attract 75% of the time, what I want.  I also look at other angles and have co-written projects and will be developing some later with a target audience in mind before  I start.  I shape my own destiny with enough flexibility that I can take on projects that interest me.  Its a long-term strategy versus a short-term gain.  

When you go into business, and I did this as well, you start out thinking that it's all sunshine and lollipops, then reality bites you and you start to realize that actually its hard work.  The idea that makeup artistry is easy is way beyond the realms of truth and I make no bones about it.  

The idea that I am not supportive is in itself a myth:

  If you talk to me and have a clear idea of what you want I am happy to help, come to me with soap bubbles and wishes I can't. 

If you want to be a part of my team then be truthful, talk to me honestly and here's a strange request that seems to fall on deaf ears: call me.  I will not be calling you in on bigger gigs until you have proved your skill set and that you are dedicated, that means you will be asked to do low budget work or just be an extra pair of hands, it's about proving yourself as a team member before I risk you on the bigger gigs.  You don't become the CEO on the first day you work up the ranks.  

Do your research.  I will respect you more if you can ask a question and have a semblance of knowledge that needs expanding and don't blame your lecturers: to learn you need to be able to research and fact check things.  

Take a step back and ask yourself: "is this what I want or am I just following the trends?" If the answer is yes, then feel free to talk to me, you never know you might get an opportunity, listen to rumour and mythology or just generally assume and you get nowhere.  

Travel plans and much more

I want to start this blog by sending a BIG thank you to the lovely and hugely talented Miriam Jacks of Jacks Beauty line, who sent me 7 brushes from her collection which I will be using to create some beauty shots and a short behind the scenes video with later.  

There should also be a big shout out to Kathmandu films and Tanezcor films who are both working with me on film projects and I will be joining each team respectively over the coming months which I am very excited about. 

I will be opening the doors up to sponsorship for those who would be interested in being involved in the future work of the JamesC brand, this can be negotiated and discussed at any stage.  

Both myself and The Lost Project are opening to doors to sponsorship and the option to create film and TV projects with a JamesC slant, product placement and of course integration can also be discussed please drop us an email to talk.  

must have items

Outside of the obvious things like makeup and of course brushes.  I always tell people you need three extra pieces in your working kit: 

  • A bridge camera
  • A notebook or Filofax
  • Business cards
notebook

Let's break this up and look at each piece in context starting with:

A bridge camera:  The reason I recommend a bridge is simple, you do not need a DSLR or mirrorless camera to run a youtube channel or to take decent workable photo's that you can use on your website and social media.  The idea that you need a DSLR is insane, aside from the massive cost involved it's not a requirement unless you are planning to do photography at a pro level. 

 A notebook:  I am a real notetaker, I work out ideas, write down numbers, a Filofax is a major plus as you can also use the diary element and add note pages, post it notes etc which are always useful.  

Business cards: I admit I am redesigning my cards at the moment with a view to changing elements of my business, adding new segments to the artistry side of the work.  However, they are essential tools for promoting yourself.  They are little postcards with details on who you are, snippets and an introduction to your business.  keep them simple, classic and clean.  

*As a side note, I will be changing the business email for this site very soon to make it more in line with what I am working towards. 

 

Equilibrium and Lost Project

Over the weekend I will be shooting with Burhan Javid and his clothing range Equilibrium, the plan is to shoot both stills and video to create an advertorial and a small commercial video of the behind the scenes aspect of the shoot. 

Video shoot

The reason for this is multiple, The Lost project and Equilibrium will use this as marketing material for the brand and I will be able to add this to my site. 

In actual fact, we are talking about shooting some portfolio pieces that will go to magazines and of course filmed to create a more comprehensive marketing tool for all parties involved.  

The process will be worked again to create something for fashion and later, for film and TV to showcase my work as a creative artist.  

One thing we have been discussing is brand placement, once this video is shot we will be doing a specific shoot with brushes form the fantastic Jacks Beauty Line collection.  

 

Rules for assisting

I am being approached a lot recently by people looking for advice on being an assistant or more often looking to gain a foot in the door with the work I do.  I applaud anyone who wants to advance but there needs to be some realism in the process.  

ask and learn
  • You are not going to be lead to a job that  I have booked.  
  • You are there to assist me and follow my lead as a principal artist.  
  • No, I will not decline a gig and step out so a fresher artist can take it, that is not sensible and bluntly it's not happening. 
  •  If you are looking to assist someone, look at their work, talk to them.  If they are barely scraping past five years AWAY from college and asking you to be their assistant then I would be dubious. 
  • Do not come to the table and assume that my job is easy.  I work extremely hard on my marketing, take the time to find and book clients, I am time served and have worked across the Globe and still consult.  So no, I do not see you as competition.  
  • I am happy to support new artists,  I am happy to give opportunities but you need to be open to whats on offer and I will not chase you around to get you on board.  You want it and I have offered it.  Then the onus is on you to communicate with me.  

I do a huge amount of consult work and PR, my business is geared toward different areas and until you learn how I work do not assume anything,  After 20 years in this Job I am working hard on the development side that is not something I do in a massively public way, not every job goes into the public domain I have different marketing strategies.  So you need to actually be a part of it to understand and that won't happen if you don't talk to me and actually show some sort of an effort.  

Let's break this down:  don't come to me for support if you are not willing to learn.  

Editorial, behind the scenes and other things

I am a big blogger now thanks to my websites easier to use platform and I do enjoy the extra support it allows me to offer my clients in terms of PR.  

Over the weekend I am planning to do something new with the team over at Equilibrium clothing.  Something I have been talking about doing for a while is behind the scenes videos and with my fun little bridge camera (a worthwhile investment) I will be doing that for my next few shoots. 

Alongside the team at the Lost Project, we have been working on the development of some of the PR and its gratifying to say that The Territory of Dust, has been making small steps toward reaching their goal and the team are in regular contact over this.  

Jim Manclark one of our favourite directors to work with announced that his first film Mystery Shopper has now been accepted to two film festivals.  Everyone is very excited and the second comedy piece he has written called The Tourists has been filmed and is now in the edit suite getting prepped for entry.  

 

The Tourists

Today was a first for a while, usually mired in meetings and planning, I got to go to Glasgow with Jim Manclark and Richie Holt to "play." 

behind the scenes on The Tourists

We were in Georges Square filming, although the make up requirements were minimal, I still got to do my job and catch up with a few familiar faces like Tony Mcdonald and new people too. 

A relaxed, very low key shoot I was there with my trusty little bridge camera to capture some behind the scenes moments and document the shoot.  

More will be coming soon as the edit is now underway for this project and I will be spending some time going through the images and choosing extras to share with World fashion media news.  

A big thank you to the cast and crew who were stellar and so easy to work with.  A total team effort I cannot wait to see the end result.  

 

Film shoot and other news

JamesC face chart

This weekend will be a fun little break for me, I am teaming up with some familiar faces to work on a short comedy sketch that will be documented in images, for Jim Manclark who is a fantastic director and one of my easiest clients to work with.  

With a bite the bullet moment also being on the cards as I (finally) apply for a Mac Pro card since I have decided to update my portfolio and a few other interesting options on the table it was a really should I or shouldn't I moment when I started the application. 

Although I am a fan of their brushes I have never really been one to buy into the hype. Yet here I am with an application in and my artistic brain working through the options and choosing colours to mix and work with for some of the beauty concepts I have been planning.  

Although I do have an exciting little release coming soon on a German makeup brush company that I really covet, and they have been extremely kind about setting up promo codes, one to watch out for in Trend prive soon.  

More details and some fun images will be released soon.