Wedding shoot

Today I spent some time catching up on calls and doing some strategy work since I am not due to travel for a while (monsoon season delays), I thought it would be a good time to do some o the more promotional based work. 

lola liquid lipstick in lust

As some of you know I work with the wedding films Scotland team and this week we will be meeting up to arrange the final few details of a video/stills campaign that will be released through my magazine network. 

What we are going to do is focus on something a little different from the standard bridal look, yes the makeup will be set around that theme but we decided to forgo the usual pretty church or hotel and go straight into a derelict building and focus on the beauty of the moment. 

I will be integrating this in with some of the brands that have been in touch recently and very kindly given me PR packages as a thank you to these companies.  This will be a long-term strategy which I plan to work with to create something fresh to showcase not just myself but also the companies I value. 

The first of the brands I am focusing on will be the fantastic beauty makeup range from Lola makeup who do work with the bridal sector heavily so its a nice tie up for this particular shoot.  

New Wave Marketing

One of the things I advocate heavily is the use of online magazines and behind the scenes captures.  The reasoning behind this is simple: 

new wave marketing
  • With online magazines, the demographic reach is much larger than print (potentially) with the added bonus of longevity.  
  • Behind the scenes, both stills and video can be used as proof that the work is your own, which sadly is necessary.  It also has the benefit of being usable as a marketing tool.  

 In terms of new wave marketing both myself and my team are looking at ways of utilizing YouTube and online magazines as well as the other social media platforms to create a different form of advertising. 

Now I know some of you will be saying this has been the case for at least ten years, however, many people don't use this effectively and we are now looking at ways to integrate this into the business as a whole. 

A whole host of planning is being put in place to move forward the makeup side of the business and will be adding in elements of product placement and we are talking to brands about integration into the work we are doing.  In actual fact speaking to one of the brands it's a common practice but overused as many of the people asking for it don't have a plan or cannot show any structure that justifies the request for support.  

The next few months will be fun as we push in a different direction and work to showcase not only the JamesC brand but our work with a few select clients on PR and marketing. 

find a middle ground

I have had some really interesting calls and emails in the last 48 hours.  Some good some bad.  The one thing I am seeing a lot is the need to find a middle ground.  I have been referring to the ongoing battles for supremacy over contacts and business as the battle of the sandpit. 

make it happen

What needs to be done is find a middle ground that does not require absolute control and actually moves all business forward.  

Setting parameters about how your own business works is smart, but let's be brutally honest here when you start putting restrictions on work because you want control over the entirety of your region is really dangerous.

Part of the problem I have been getting the calls and emails about is the lack of respect or rather a demand that is solely one-sided.  If it is not given then people are blocked from doing business which I find insane. 

Don't bad mouth someone else's business without knowing the truth, if you haven't talked to someone then don't express an opinion about their work.   Instead of being negative about them focus your energy on your own work, it really is telling that when you complain about someone else's achievements and focus all your energy on running them into the ground you are losing a chance to push your own work forward. 

It really is disappointing when I hear things like this, there is room for everyone in this industry and no one is holding you back other than you.  

It's time to be smart about the business we are doing and support each other instead of denigrating and letting ego control the work and rule our lives.  

Lola Makeup News

I have to say I am really excited about this, I have been working with the Lola makeup team in London on articles and they have been really generous about supporting this offering up support for each piece and sharing the details across social media.

blusher lola

As an expansion on this, they are offering me a major support package and additional PR which I am really happy about, the plan is to support several shoots and video work I have planned whilst my travel arrangements have been reshuffled (again).  

What this means is that Lola has offered me access to the range and will be a part of the shoots as a sponsor which is an amazing offer and I am extremely thankful for the support.  

To be supported by a brand is an honour and of course something I am really proud of and I am happy to be able to put this in place for my clients and of course the brand.  

Lola has a fantastic reputation for their makeup and have supported such shows as Britain's next top model season 12 and is a huge brand partner for the wedding shows in London, so for them to come to the table and work with me is something I am taking on with great pride.  

Pretty soon I will be opening my pro account with the brand so I can offer more of the range to my clients.  

Smart Planning

In the current social media world there are events popping up everywhere and it can be hit and miss how beneficial they are to you and your business.  Part of this comes down to smart marketing.  

we are open

Now I am not a believer in working for free or paying to work UNLESS I see a solid business plan I am really reluctant to get involved.  The idea that something will benefit me doesn't wash, if you are asking me to work without actually knowing my work or for that matter what I have done then I am inclined to snap back at you and remind you what and who you are dealing with. 

However, there are certain times when I can and will sit and talk.  If I can benefit I will do a cost-benefit analysis and then move forward.  

Any business needs to be smart and evaluate the cost benefits of working on an event, film or TV project. Let's look at events first.  

You are asked to Pay for brand placement, slots as premier makeup staff and media coverage. 

What you need to be asking first and foremost: 

  • Who are your media partners? 
  • What is the cost and is it negotiable? 

From here you start planning.  How can I make this work for me?  It's not a one-sided deal.  You need to be as proactive on the promotion as the person your paying, no point in paying the money if you're not going to maximize the credibility it gives you.  

Credibility: this is the key.  How good is the potential investment in terms of how you will be using it for marketing?  Is it locally focused? Will it give you a boost in terms of media? Does it match the demographic your aiming at? 

All this needs to be considered before you even come close to throwing away your hard earned cash on events.  

revamping my kit

With some date changes to my current schedule, frustrating but workable, I have decided to grab up some extras for my working kit and do something extra to make the work that little bit easier.  

As some of you will notice, I am working with a new product line that has really caught my attention and given me the ability to focus on the key elements of my work and the choices being made at the moment are about downsizing and making my kit workable in different situations. 

Pairing down the volume of my kit is always smart when you travel and if you can find multipurpose products its a bonus. 

However one thing I refuse to pair down and continue to add is brushes, Lola makeup and makethemake are both high on my list for the new and improved kit.  

Something I admit to being really excited about is that Lost Project management has started talks to buy the rights to thriller/horror TV series that they plan to produce which they have asked me to be the head of makeup for.  This is a huge goal of mine as it will also put me in as a producer and give me creative control over the project and means I am answerable to the Lost project team and as the creative director it allows me to be in from the inception.  

Development is underway to edit the script and look at the first six episodes for polishing before we sit and start working.  We are also looking at creating some more editorials and bringing new faces into the fold for print work.  

Lola makeup must haves

One of my most recent finds I have to admit I am really glad I did, Lola makeup (sponsor of Britain's next top model 12).  Looking at the range, its comprehensive and one of the most well-curated I have seen in a while, focusing on beautiful staples and evolving with the clients. 

lola universal powder

An absolute stand out for me is the universal powder.  This transparent powder is designed to be universal and usable on all skin tones which for me and my working kit is an absolute must-have especially when I am traveling, it allows me to have a smaller working kit for traveling and keep my clients happy. 

For those in the bridal sector, just grab up anything from the range and you are good to go.  It's a brand that does love its bridal teams and supports the major expos.  

Even The House of iKons is interested and the CEO herself is keen to learn more. That really tells me something.  As someone who is working with the products and will be taking them with me to Nepal, I can see huge potential for the brand and want more, in time I will be adding a huge amount more, especially the brushes.  The lip brush.......a must have. 

For more information on the brand visit their website Lola makeup or check out my article with Trend Prive magazine

 

Professional changes

In the last 6 to 8 months I have been completely redefining my business and working with my contacts, brands and of course, magazines to bring a whole new dimension to the work being put out. 

success is within your reach

One of the things that I have always maintained is that business is business and needs to be treated with reverence,  in terms of what is coming I am taking sidesteps and risks with reaching out to companies for articles and discussing PR. 

Now I appreciate every PR package that I get sent, I mean wow!  I have been lucky about the support and beautiful gifts that I have received in thanks for my articles.  It has also allowed me to give an extra dimension to my work on those projects that do come my way in terms of film and TV. 

And that is why I do it.  People value the work I do and what I offer, I treat the whole thing as a package deal and business transaction.  Which the brands love because of the legitimising of the deal.  

I spend time on calls and talking to brand managers, PR departments and building a relationship that will benefit us both.  That's what its all about: building a rapport.  Over time I will be completely changing the nature of my business and while I am proud of my skills as a makeup artist, I think I will be doing more production crew work and taking on projects that interest me or allow me to travel. 

With this in mind, I have started negotiations with a brand and will meet with them in July, to see if there is scope for me to work with them long term, this is what I do, this is a career for me and the direction has changed over the course of years, that's natural, but I am open to it and it ties in with my previous blog about intrinsic value. 

Mentoring will b something I give serious consideration to over the next few months and possibly in time more creative management with the Lost project.  The strength of my contacts, the ethos of my work and the sheer determination to get to the point I want to reach is helped and supported by my family and friends.  

Building on the past 20 years, the next 20 will be even bigger.  

 

 

makethemake brushes

As many people know I am a huge brush fan and do have promo codes for some of the brands and have openly talked about pro brushes several times.  When I found makethemake brushes I just had to do a piece on them for trend prive

I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to talk about the brands I do and when the brands are happy I know I have done my job right.  

makethemake blush brush

Makethemake sent me 2 full sets of the brushes and they are divine.  I do a lot of very specialized commercial work in particular male grooming.  So these brushes are just a revelation and I will be very happy to use these on my next few projects and being able to focus on the skin which with my male models and actors its a major plus as they prefer something more natural which is what makethemake is all about.  

A big thank you goes out to www.skincity.com who kindly supported the article and provided the images as well as a wonderful PR package that I have to say was an absolute dream thank you gift I could not ask for more from a brand.  Such an amazing team and a revelation of a brand.   

Beach shoot

While the weather is good and I do have a small window of opportunity, I want to go out and do a beach shoot.  It is one of the major advantages to living where I do, I have easy access to a beach and can shoot new content for magazines. 

on the beach

This means I will be working with the team from Lost project to do the casting and finding maximum 2 new faces to work with.  I really want to create something different and finding new faces is a big part of that. 

I have been working on the designs and concepts but will keep the look reasonably fluid and flexible with a baseline concept. 

Once I get my next film project out of the way I will be back on track and the team will be taking the lead and working towards designing for our first book and film project. 

Stay tuned for news and updates.  

Making choices

When it comes to my business I am a really hard line person about what I will do and how I will work.  Sometimes that can be seen as arrogant but I am just being realistic and working to parameters that suit me. 

A prime example of this is a recent conversation with an event manager who wanted to recruit me (at a price to me of course) until I made it abundantly clear my position on pay to play work.  

stop and think

I do not pay to work, you want me, you pay me.  Simple.  

We all need to start working on our worth.  I am happy to negotiate but let's be really clear about this.  I have been a makeup artist for 20 years, I work across the UK, Europe, and South Asia.  Why?  Because I earned it and I get booked on my skills. 

Your event or film is not my priority the money is.  

Now I appreciate everyone has to start somewhere and that your art is important to you but so should your business be.  Don't undercut or undervalue yourself.  End of.  

for the film and event people here is my take on getting it for free: 

OK, first of all, you cannot guarantee the support that you are being offered on paper is what you will get.  

Verify and check references, just because they can tell you a good story about their skills, doesn't mean they can carry it on the day. 

When you do the background checks and pay for the skills you get the 100% backing of the artist or team you are hiring.  

Eat a small loss at the beginning and gain it back in profits later.  

If we all worked smart then we would thrive in business.  Don't compete with others, compete with yourself.  

 

MisMacK Glitter

I have avoided the glitter fads that people tend to fall into because I just never found a range that suited my needs until now, having found MisMack biodegradable glitter I am in love.  

Naturally, I have written about the range for trend prive, and I am really happy to say that Missy herself has been talking to me via email and Instagram from Canada, first of all, WOW she is an absolute gem of a woman and I so honoured to have spoken to her direct. 

pink perfect glitter

The best part of this is she was kind enough to send me samples of the full range, I am now in love with the blue shade and the pink.  Just beautiful colours that are going to be integrated into an editorial for the fun of playing with glitter. 

If you want to know more about the range (And I strongly suggest you check it out) then click through to her website to see the colours, not only are they Eco-friendly but they are beautiful.   

MisMacK glitter website.  

Actually I can

I was talking to a friend yesterday about work and discussing what plans are currently in place for one of my larger projects.  We dissected the whole smoke and mirror aspect of working in the creative arts as a writer or makeup artist.  Her comments and quote made me smile as we could both agree that we were hitting the right markers: 

actually I can

Watch the person who has finished the work and can show you the evidence and be wary of the one who talks and can't show the results.

Each of us has been working independently on our businesses with some crossover areas.  The fantastic part is we are now collaborating on some PR exercises and articles planned to do some promotion of my work and of course hers. 

In the next two months I will be released through various channels including world fashion media and news, Trend prive magazine, of course, my own blog and the Lost project team will be fully behind this. 

Something we are discussing is editorial pieces that will cover the full team and give me a huge PR boost, and I have to say that I am really excited about the prospect of what is to come which includes Nepal and further development of two projects with the Lost team that will see me taking the lead as head of makeup. 

For anyone that is putting themselves into the market and wonders if they can succeed, yes, yes you can.  You just need to be smart about it.  If you wait till things come to you, you're not going to move forward.  You need to be proactive.  

When someone says to me you can't do that, my response is "actually I can." 

transporting your kit

I have been working really hard to downsize my kit because I have spent time traveling and will be back on the road again very soon.  What I am aiming for is a condensed working kit that can be packed into a suitcase and just worked out of for a shoot.  

Since I am now booked more for the lead characters, so between one and three actors, so I can justify the downsize for the most part.  What I aim for is an overview of the shoot, I want to know the script in advance so I can plan the requirements with a few contingents thrown in.  

Cost plays a major factor in this process as well, if I need IPA palettes, I look to companies like Mr Dashbo who offer up cost-effective and professional grade makeup.  I do a huge amount of research and do not fall into the trap of "this is what a pro uses."  I do the research and find the products that suit me.  

Image courtesy of Amazon UK

In terms of cases, it really does vary by job and the needs of the shoot.  I have my train case, but I also have a briefcase style makeup kit bag that is small, the reasoning was it would be suitable for my London trips to do fashion.  What I will add is the second one in a larger size, in much the same way that I have different sizes of set bags, this will be worked to suit the practicalities of the jobs.  

Its all about smart packing.  For more details on the case, I use then check out this link for Amazon.  

Brushes though are something I refuse to scrimp on, I always buy quality brushes, I would rather have 6 really good sets of brushes than 300 cheap ones that I have to replace regularly.  

Heres 2 of my favourite brands: 

Mykitco

Brushwork cosmetics (promo code JamesC for 15% off that's how much faith I have in them). 

meetings and portfolio work

The end of the week will see me attending meetings and then we (the Lost project team), will be shooting new images for clients.  Everything is set up to do what I like to refer to as the creative consult work and PR.  

meetings and more

Working with the Lost Project team has completely changed my working patterns in a positive way.  What we have been doing is focusing on the quality of work rather than quantity of the images.  

In addition to this, we are also discussing the potential avenue of bringing the JamesC brand back in a more solid way.  More on this later.  

One of the meetings I have is with the team from Wedding films Scotland who are looking at the PR and marketing that will be put in place to augment the already established website and other elements.  Admittedly this has been a rather back-burner issue.  

Alongside this, there are plans to finally get new images of myself done to add to the website and I will be working with a longstanding and hugely entertaining artist friend; Stewart Nicol Soutar

All in all, May is proving to be a very busy month with a lot of travelling to be done toward the end of the month and will be bringing in some fantastic shots and videos from my travels. 

There is more to being a makeup artist than just brushes and shadows. 

Client feedback is a plus

I got a phone call last night from one of my clients/friends, this may seem a little odd a way to describe him but bear with me.  Burhan has worked with me twice and got some strong images from me that we have used to advertise his brand Equilibrium and to hear that he is happy with what I do. 

During the call he asked me about doing makeup and photos for one of his contacts who wanted to showcase himself in a new light and in truth to be seen, he's worked extremely hard on his fitness and he wants to show that off and Burhan knows that I can do that.  

portfolio plan

Which is flattering that he came to me for this shoot. 

So with this in mind, he asked if I would do a portfolio shoot and put the images out as an editorial with one of my favorite online magazine sites World fashion media and news. 

Once this shoot is done which will include a little video and a lot of still images that will be used as a showcase of his friend.  With this in mind, I will be taking the time to work on a new portfolio of work that will "live" on my tablet as my digital portfolio alongside my website as a showcase of my work. 

Now I do specialize (by sheer accident) in male grooming work and with the film coming up through June being focused on the two lead males I will need to do some creative work with women soon to show that I am not a one-trick pony. The next few months will be interesting and open up doors to a whole host of new opportunities that I am really proud to be a part of. 

 

 

Travel updates

I just received my contract!  I will be back on the road for a month joining a film team in Nepal.  Focusing on character makeup, this will be a fantastic opportunity to not only get back into the film realm on a grand scale but will take me back to South Asia which I have dearly missed for the last few years.  

Travel plans

Now I admit I have done a few smaller projects here in Scotland, and I loved every minute, however, I missed my second home in Mumbai, this will be a nice little compromise and something completely new for me with a hint of familiar territory.  

Over the next few months, I will be working on creating something solid with video and stills to augment my portfolio, this also means that I will be creating some exclusive content for the magazines and online periodicals I work with.  

I am truly grateful that the clients I have had over the years have allowed me to be creative and push forward with a career path that has been a rocky road.  

 

Stop and think

The market at the moment is a minefield of misinformation and gossip, everyone is vying to secure clients and push their own agenda whatever that takes.  This can be insidious gossip or trying to gain access to the little black book of a fellow artist through various means.  

What I find fascinating is, instead of talking to me, it is rumored that people are running my name into the ground then complaining that I am not supporting them.  Which is in itself a catch 22: 

By not taking the time to put their ego aside and talking to me, instead focusing on me not contacting them, they are in effect pushing me further away.  Why would I come to the table and support you when you are slandering my name?  So the circle continues, because I am not interested in a dialogue this justifies the vitriol. 

pen-idea-bulb-paper.jpg

Instead of doing that, contact me.  Start a conversation, by doing this you might actually gain something positive. 

For example, the favorite accusation that is thrown is that I do not support new talent.  By telling people I don't support newer artists, they don't speak to me ergo I am not supporting.  I don't chase people around if you want to assist me and I have advertised the fact I need extra hands, the onus is on you to contact me.  If you don't take the chance that is put out there, then you won't get it.  You cannot accuse me of being unsupportive if you don't approach and ask for help.  

This also applies when you know nothing about my work and attack me pubically without having a full set of information.  You look bad, especially if I refuse to rise to the bait. 

  • "You don't support new artists like me" 
  • My response is generally; "Did you ask me for help?" 
  • "well no, but I was told by.....you are nasty and don't help so why would I?" 

That is a catch 22 situation.  If you believe rumor and innuendo and don't fact check, then I can't help you.  If you refuse to ask for my advice, then how am  I supposed to know you need it? 

You really need to stop and think about what you are doing, I am not here to compete with anyone.   I have my own business and work to contend with, there are numerous ways I can help you but you need to talk to me  See my previous blogs about assisting to get a fuller picture of how it all works with me.  

My success was my own hard work, yours can be too if you put your energy into the right area's and work with the market instead of against it.  

  

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.