One of the first things I do when I receive a script, no matter if its film or TV, is an initial read through and look at the overall story and break it down into elements. Focusing on genre and then deconstructing the overall theme before I start designing the characters.
A horror genre film/TV project for example, this can be broken down into different subsets such as monster movie, thriller, religious/demonic based iconography and so on.
Then I look at the characters and begin working on the individual elements of their dialogue and descriptions based on the text with (if possible) a view to fitting the look I am envisioning to the actor/actress playing the part.
Sometimes this process is simple and fairly straightforward other times it can be a more difficult process for example when the script is reworked as the shoot progresses or the casting is changed at the last minute due to illness or sudden changes in availability, there are many factors that can come into play with this and you need to be reasonably able to handle this.
Once this is done there are some questions that you need to ask the production team that will add additional elements to the character development and of course what and how you will use in terms of makeup:
What is the camera? Is it 4K? 8K? This will dictate the level of detail captured.
Lighting? if you are working to a dark shadowed set up then alot of your work will be based around this and require less work in some areas with a focus on shape and contour verses detail.
If the characters are in a closed environment or a variety of locations, how will this affect your work based on the script? Lots of running will negate the need for touch ups to some degree especially when shooting these scenes in a block as it will be inconsistent on screen if they are clean and flawless in one scene and the follow onto it is distressed.
Are the cast (most frequently this is a horror movie thing) under stress? Do they need to look dishevelled? How is the costume being broken down to meet the scene?
Do you need to co-ordinate with the wardrobe department over factors like blood and dirt?
It can be a stressful and needs to be a part of your thought process and you need to be able to work with this and roll with the punches so to speak.
Once on set I then have to take into account the shoot order and if the scenes are sequential or not.
When you take all of these factors into account breaking down and deconstruction of the narrative suddenly becomes a major factor in what you are doing as a makeup artist. Something to think about when your doing a horror or thriller.
*It should be noted this also affects other aspects of the shoot such as the actors, if scenes are shot out of sequence they need to be able to understand the dynamic of the scenes they are shooting to get into the moment, camera can also be affected as they need to understand changes to allow for the need for tripods, the suitability of the camera gear to the location (Will it be raining? Will we require covers?) etc.
*This can all be equally applied to TV/short films/corporate projects.