representing the brand

In 2018, JamesC will be redefining the brand.  A new year and a new chapter.  With the lost project set to launch as well and plans to work on development of film and print projects, JamesC is more than just a make up designer. 

Once things are settled and the festive season is over, the whole team will be sitting down and discussing the future of the brand itself. 

Now given that JamesC has been on the back burner a little bit lately whilst we focus on other areas and aspects, we have come to the conclusion that a manager will be appointed to deal with bookings, marketing and setting up other areas of the business in the near future. 

This will be publicly announced at the beginning of 2018.  

Contrary to myth, JamesC is a freelancer with no current affiliations or agency representation in Scotland and will continue this way for the foreseeable future as it gives a greater degree of control over the business.   

department designations

While I look around for a new assistant to be a part of my next few editorial shoots I thought this would be a smart time to show the department designations for make up so people can understand the order of things. 

The focus of this will be on film and TV projects and later I will show the fashion side of it and the requirements for that. 

Juniors and trainees:  They are responsible for setting up and maintaining the hair and make-up stations. They prepare all the equipment and observe senior staff to learn.

Make up artist:  The make-up artist creates looks and hairstyles to meet the requirements of the make-up designer.

Make up supervisor:  They are the make-up designer's right-hand person. They help manage the team, book staff and are often responsible for the principal actors on the production.

Make up designer:  Essentially the head of department and works with the director on the look and feel of the production. They manage budgets and decide on the supplies required.

Information from the BBC Academy website.  

*This will vary depending on the artist in charge of the department.  

editorial and the need for an assistant

As my year comes to an end and I start the last stage planning for three editorials this month, I find myself more and more in  need of extra hands to handle the work.  Normally I am quite happy to arrange things solo but this month its got a little more time consuming and the shuffling has become more tedious. 

I really do enjoy the shoots, its generally really relaxed and quite casual when I am working, but the prep work and multi tasking is a killer. 

Assuming I can find someone suitable for Sunday the 10th, I will take on a trainee to help with the running on the shoot and hopefully this will alleviate some of the burden.  With 3 models and several changes planned for this submission it will be fun but a challenge. 

If this works out then I will consider this a long term solution and take on more members to freelance on shoot as assistant. 

the design process

So over the next few days I have some shoots planned and will be wrapping up round about the 15th of December for the festive season and these will be the last of our advertorial and editorial side fore the year, we are just putting those last few details in place.  

This weekend I am actually just enjoying the process of designing and sketching.  Some of the designs are in the process of being redone as I just felt they needed tweaked a little.  I am really glad I got my design sheets set up and I can print on demand with these. 

I will be re-shooting (alongside the Lost project) images that were done in Mumbai several years ago.  I do love them but I want to revamp and do them. 

Something I am really excited about is playing with colour think warm oranges and deep greens and of course the smokey eye re-shoot. 

Each of the new shoots I will be looking at having an assistant on hand just so I can focus on the details. 


JamesC: brand revival

Something that I did put on hold for a long time, is my brand. Yes JamesC is a brand.  There was a plan and a few things that were being considered for the future that after my time in South Asia, I put on the back burner. 

However as time has gone on, I have been readdressing some of the plans and deciding which parts I wanted to push forward with.  So in 2018 I will be sitting down and doing the maths and looking at one of the options I did put on hold. 

I know this sounds a little vague but keep watching because there will be some indicators coming up on my site and my social media that will reveal the plan. 

star shine

artist support

One of the things I have been discussing recently is the idea of teams.  Being able to call or pull in additional members to your team when required to support a shoot or event. 

Now I know that I no longer have this and find it quite sad really.  I should have a list of artists I can call on that will be able to assist on shoots or be a second on a job if required.  I should add this is only an issue for me in Scotland.  Everywhere else I can call in assistants without hassle. 

The last time I was unable to take on a gig, I called an artist that had assisted once.  She wanted to be fast tracked to head of the show, a commercial came up and I was unavailable.  So I called and left a message asking her to call me back about a gig.  She didn't and in an effort to be supportive I relayed it through my then agent. THAT CALL she took. 

I found that quite sad.  We should be supporting each other and there is no shame, nor does it make you a lesser artist, to take a referral from someone in your field is in fact a mark of trust.  

Now I want to try and find a small selection of people who can assist on bigger gigs but these days that really hard work.  

I do a huge amount of editorials, writing and next year my plans will increase as I have a wedding business coming on side and my larger scale projects that require me to be away which means I will be in need of extra hands to shoot to make things easier. 

Perhaps its time to start at the grass roots level and get people who are in their first year and focus on that rather than supporting those whos ambition outstrips their experience.  By which I mean, fresh talent that is not aiming at fast tracking.  In my experience fast tracking gets you nowhere you need guidance.  

A little loyalty to something other than a brand goes a long way.  


coffee thoughts part two

Thank goodness for deals on instant coffee!  I am sitting in my little home office today getting all the updates prepped and ready to shoot next week with a fantastic male model for what will be two big shoots aimed at promotion. 

I spend a great deal of my time in meetings so for me being able to clear my head and get something really solid done and shoot new work for my website and of course look at creating an advertorial that will be used to promote a new brand is just fantastic.

Some days I feel less artist more manager. 

One of the key elements to the meetings that have been worked this week was discussing the five year plan for not just my own business but that of my partner companies. One key point in this was finding a way to manage a team without us having to physically be there. 

For me this will be a tricky one as I do personally enjoy the working artist side of what I do but it did make me think about finding an assistant for the new year to train up to work on gigs beside me or send in solo. 

I will be discussing this with the Lost project team at some stage in January. 

inspiration and reaching new goals

I was to an actress while I was doing her make up for a short film, she told me about her friend who wants to do film make up.  So I asked "why isn't she here?"  

Bear in mind this was a student film and as much as I loved working with them team, this conversation left me confused.  If you are passionate and want to do make up for films why don't you?  We all start somewhere so what is the issue? 

Everyone's journey is different and I have a plan and a path that I have started on and part of that is being on set gaining images again so I can update my book, that means I have no issue doing student films and some low budget work, in fact I am meeting people this week to discuss putting some projects together and in 2018 joining a team for a bigger project in another country.  

I decided that I wanted to do something new and found a way to make it happen.  

So you are waiting for what? An engraved invitation?  Get out there and find it. Clients can't find you if your not marketing yourself or letting them know your available. 

Don't be afraid to go out and shake hands, go to the networking events and reach out to people you want to work with. Whats the worst they can say? No?  So what!! Move on to the next thing.  You don't know whats out there till you look.  

reach for the stars

one size fits all services

I have noticed a few sites recently for bridal/occasions and film/TV that are one size fits all.  This can be an agency or a service based site, but the principal is the same.  You more often than not, pay to be listed. 

What does that mean?   Well in simple terms clients can book on price and forgo the skill element which is good and bad.  By setting a rate they can then budget which is good for their wedding, film, TV shoot BUT also means that the artists lose out.  

It will increase the cut throat aspect of the services on offer to an insane level. 

“why are you charging x when can go through this app and get someone for y?” 

 It will not be about the skill level, it will be who has the best kit and the lowest price.  Which from a consumer stand point is a major plus. From an artists side?  not so much. 

Here’s why:  

You spend thousands of pounds/dollars/ euros/rupees (you get the idea) on your training.  Your work has been honed and perfected doing bridal, fashion work and special occasions, films and TV shoots and you charge according to union or local area rates. 

Along comes an app that unifies everything and asks you to set your rate.  Fantastic!  Less hassle, a set fee each week and you get advertised and promoted right?  

Wrong.  You go into a database and the client searches and loves your work BUT you charge £150 (for example) for a bridal including the trial.  Someone else is your catchment area charges £50.  So why would they book you? 

“Because I have the talent, the testimonials and skills thats why!” 

Sure and they are looking to streamline and save some money so……

rethinking the brand

I had put all my old plans on the back burner because I was just unhappy with how things were moving along and decided I would be better served supporting others in the industry with their brands, using my magazine contacts and of course writing skills. 

However it was my good friend and cohort Susan Marshall (author, screenwriter and blogger) who convinced me I need to open that box again and start looking at my own brand. 

So in the next few months there will be a massive shake up, I have not taken advantage of the black Friday deals or added more brushes to my kit, why?  Well lets just say there have been some offers and avenues that I will be using to my own advantage. 

Perhaps a big step but I think it will be worth it. Stay tuned for more news and updates. 



Editorial concept planning

Everyday I am on calls, sending emails and writing articles, an exhausting process that takes up a huge amount of time and energy. Yet I love it. 

Updating trend prive magazine and my own site blog.  

So when I finally get to catch up with friends I usually rope them into my plans, killing two birds with one stone. Soon Emma will joining the lost girls ranks and a quirky shoot is being designed around her look.  Think a vogue character based editorial.  

Before years end I want to create something new using tricks I have gleaned from one of my favourite YouTube channels.  



photo blitz

I really want to spend the next few weeks doing a massive overhaul of the website and get at least three more editorials done.  With two of the three concepts planned and models in place i can see thing being a really busy few weeks.  

On the film side, it does look like it will be the new year before anything gets done which is mildly disappointing, however I do have the images to come from paranoia with the wonderful team across at UWS Ayr. 

A new start up (with one of the best backgrounds) is coming to the Scottish bridal circuit and myself alongside the Lost project will be supporting that from a PR perspective. 

With so much on the cards the end of the year will be a massive run to get things finished off and make sure that the websites are 100%.  

Stay tuned for more updates and news. 


portfolio and other news

wedding services

In 2018 I will be advertising heavily alongside the lost project.  There has been a number of inquiries for me to offer private make up services for weddings and special occasions.  Although I have never publicly chased this type of work I do have clients who come to me for special occasions such as family parties etc.  

I will be making this a more advertised service and it will be subject to terms.  Why the change of heart?  Simple: Demand. 

Lots of the clients I work with want the stress free hassle of working with me because they know I will give them what they want without drama and with my international background and ongoing consultancy work its seen as a bonus.  There is no "this is what a bridal make up looks like."  I work with my clients not against them.  

"I had the beauty editor of Trend prive magazine do my wedding make up...." 

My focus is on the person getting married not the event and how they should look, its about making them look their best not ticking the wedding box.  

Services will include: 

  • consultation
  • on site application
  • resort wedding
  • lessons

*A minimum number of people will be required and of course retainers for service, all services are subject to artist availability For more details call or email, information available on the contact page.  




Film meeting

Today I will be sitting down with Jim Manclark to discuss three projects that I will be designing make up for and helping to produce.  

The festival circuit is not my usual fair of late, but I decided that it was worth a shot and gives me a chance to expand on areas that I want to update in my portfolio or as I call it the work in progress.  *No portfolio is ever complete let me say that right away. 

Plus its been fun working on smaller projects with no pressure, such as paranoia with the UWS students, the level of talent that I have seen so far has been amazing and they valued the support offered.  

With the current discussions with Jim, we have something bigger in mind for our short films, a little bit more outside the box than usual which I have to say I am really interested in and is the main reason I am involved. 

Two kitchen sink type dramas and then a little comedy relief, we have already researched and set our sights on the festival we want to go for and e are planning something extra to boost the process.  

Portfolio shoots

Every few months I sit down and go through my work and decide what stays, what goes and of course it takes time to collate my articles as well.  Although I do want to do something new in that field soon and go from brand based articles to something a little more experimental; think fairy lights and prisms.......

The reason for this is simply to keep my brain active, I know I can shoot and publish the work and its always better to experiment when you are going for published as this often gets more attention and pr is a plus.  

Of  course this all ties in with the new plans for 2018 with the Lost project, I was able to get Raj Srivastava on the phone and discuss plans to put a small showcase piece into a festival and talk final details on his personal website.  

With so much else on the cards its hard to find time to really sit back and review so this weekend will be exactly that, review time, websites will be finished and launched, the work will of course be updated and I have to say thank you to the team at UWS I have just filmed with who were a really solid group and are sending me across images of the character work done during the film shoot which is fantastic.  

Stay tuned as there will be some more brand based articles going up soon and of course I will share more on kit secrets soon.  

Film shoot

Last night I was off to Glasgow to work with a new set of university West of Scotland students, although Olivia and Sara were familiar faces.  In typical student fashion it was a casual affair but still professional. 

Set around an LGBT theme of broken hearts, a twist of darkness. 

With some of the heavier scenes shot last night, this will be an interesting little piece of art that will be a nice little team showcase.  

More details coming soon including some images of the make up work which I admit I love.  

thoughts on the future

I have been really reluctant in some ways to put this out there, I get alot of flack when I talk about business or comment on things that are considered unsupportive of the industry but someone has to do it right?  I have the lost project which is a collective set up designed to support but not an agency as such.  

At various points I have worked with agents and managers, more so in the last three years since I returned to Scotland and I will be honest I pulled away and refuse to work with them anymore. 

There was just too much back stabbing and back biting for my taste.  It became a very one sided affair.  Now not all experiences were negative but enough that it left a bad taste and drove me to think outside the box. 

Make up artists are really not seen as business minded and those of us who are are not popular unless we are social media icons.  What is wrong with knowing how to do your job, being skilled in the business side and wanting to be paid?  I really can't wrap my head round it.  

To date two of the three agents I have worked with in Scotland have severely let me down: poached clients for their own benefit, refused point blank to promote me (I still cannot understand why).  I have had twenty plus articles published and have established relationships with clients mainly in South Asia, yet they felt that my skills were not worth supporting or endorsing.  I had to support them but it was not given back. 

Realistically for me I have a goal and a vision of how I want to move forward that will set me apart and if anything its a long term plan, which should in theory be backed up by the agents but never was.  

I am working on new print shoots and webtorials, developing scripts and pushing different aspects of the business but it falls short in the Scottish market, they want the support, the business but won't hire me.  which I personally don't get. We don't support each other, the clients who have approached want me to work free BUT expect to be paid union rate for the work they do when approached. 

Each time I hit a new bench mark, its ignore here.  So what are my options: 

  1. Move to a new place and work with people I have a relationship? 
  2. stay here and struggle to earn from my craft? 
  3. Develop and push forward with my own production goals? 

Realistically its going to be a combo of one and three.  When I do, I have a full roster of people who are behind the vision, so the loss is not really mine.  I just feel sad that people don't value the skill set I have here and I need to take it elsewhere.  

At the moment I am doing a cost, benefit, analysis on my work here and deciding what is and isn't feasible.  Sad but true and to be honest Scotland you are losing on a few fronts. 

People want change but only when it suits their needs.  I didn't travel the world so I could be considered arrogant,  Idid it to expand my skills and work in new places.  I geneuinely want to see people succeed here but not at a cost to me, thats not business thats a hobby.  


Editorial and film

I have to say I am really pleased to announce that "Mystery shopper" has made the list for a New York film festival.  Jim Manclark, the director has worked extremely hard and with some new projects that I too am involved in, this was a really fantastic bit of news.  

For more info on the film then check out: world fashion media and news

On the other side of the coin, I have been using trend prive magazine to showcase a variety of brands and love that I can use my contacts to show support for companies that I love and of course indie brands such as PROMA KIT, Gentlemens chuckaboo (who's anti aging moisturizer I love) and of course my favourite brush lines mykitco and brushwork cosmetics. 

In the run up to Christmas I plan to get at least three more editorials done, one is booked with a fantastic male model and designer, more on that soon, one of the things I am hoping to get done is a studio shoot to get some real solid beauty shots. 

Keep watching the blog for more film, print and brand updates.  


PROMA KIT  (an abbreviated version of the title: ‘PROfessional Makeup Artist KIT’),  falls into that “must have” category of being a makeup artist.  I have spoken to the owner and have been informed of the new products coming to the range soon, and they are set to be yet more must haves in your kit. 

Now I know I have been talking about the whole kit thing recently and when I had the chance to talk about PROMA KIT it was a well timed little piece of info.  

Storing your make up pencils and mascaras can be tricky, thats where this little bag comes in.  With six sections designed to fit these items, your table top or workstation suddenly becomes a whole lot neater.  

Something I will be adding more of to my own working kit soon.  

Check out the article on the brand with Trend Prive magazine.  

all about brushes

I want to talk about kit.  

I know its sooooo tempting to buy every new shiny palette and brush that comes to the market but I want you to stop and think. Focus on key aspects of your kit and what you need. To start with lets look at brushes.  

Many people focus their energy and efforts on bridal, its big business, there are awards, its all very exciting and quick to set up.  So what do you need in your kit and how should you build it.  

Brushes for me are an absolute essential, they are the corner stone of your working kit so I do not scrimp on these. I have a minimum of 6 of each brush, basics such as: 

  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • shadow
  • blending
  • blush
  • lips
  • brows
  • liner

From there my specialty brushes: 

  • Bronzer
  • contour blush
  • crease brush

These can be from smaller more affordable brands or larger more premium ranges, but these are the ones I carry regardless for beauty work.  I will talk about my male grooming kit later.  

The basics will see you through and you can add.  I very rarely buy sets, unless I am 100% sure that I will use all the brushes in the kit, otherwise I buy singles and build around that. 

Personally I have a mix of synthetic (for creams and liquids) and real hair (for powders), thats personal choice and there are some fantastic companies out there that are fully vegan and synthetic, the technology has  changed dramatically over the years and the quality has improved immensely.  For me though I am a firm believer in use what works.  

Look for companies that offer pro discounts or that are reputable with a promo code for example: 

Brushwork cosmetics *I have a promo code: JamesC 15% off, yes I get a kickback but you will see from my behind the scenes the brands I use and if I don't like it I don't endorse it.  So the names listed are all in my working kit.  I consider my brushes an investment and some have been in my working kit for over 10 years so that should give you an idea.  

Storage is a major pain in backside, I am using a quad pack from mykitco now as it can be laid out and I can easily see what brushes are where and its easy to store, you could also use on of the brush bags or a tool roll. 

Invest in the quality of your kit and you will not regret it.  Good brushes will not shed, they will be in your working kit for years and you will see the value.  If you buy cheap you will buy regularly, buy quality it will last.  

A good quality brush kit will see you through every job and the more you add (my own kit stands at 200 and counting), the less you need to worry.  Don't think you need to spend all your money at once build it up and use the festive season to help or your birthday: 

People will be happy to give you brushes because they become a part of your life and will be cherished.  

From my film and commercial work to the beauty editorials, my working kit changes but the brushes are always with me so I invest in quality.