Deconstructing the Character and the Narrative

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.

Breaking down the script

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.

Corporate Communications Video

Scottish Currency Shoot

It has been a little while since I have had time to blog or talk about some of the upcoming work I have. There are a number of reasons for this and I will not dwell on this to heavily instead I want to focus on the next project, which I freely admit that I am intrigued by for a number of reasons.

Having been asked and consulted on a corporate/commercial video for the proposed Scottish currency, I found the prospect really interesting as a job this could prove to be a really interesting job to take on and certainly less stress than many I have undertaken.

With a basic breakdown of the shoot already been discussed, the actual shoot should be taking place fairly soon and last in total as a shoot for around a day and I fully intend to have behind the scenes images to showcase here on my website alongside the images of my work during the shoot.

Something I will be doing is working through my kit and designing the carry on set up to meet the needs of the shoot.

Ripper FX a Media Must Have for the Mua Community

Ripper FX from Ripper FX labs Australia, is in my opinion a must have for their comprehensive range of palettes, bloods and dirt that are all media and character makeup must haves for the 4k plus market.

Ripper FX bloody mini

Designed and used in some of the highest end films across the Western Hemisphere, Ripper FX is starting to make waves in the European market. Now this is not me saying that the other options are bad, far from it, its just that for what I do the ripper range is perfect.

With a wide range of palettes including:

  • FX

  • Bruise (cool tone)

  • Bruise (warm tone)

  • Grime

Mini palettes such as blood and tooth as well complexion (all available in the larger form). Make this range perfect for the working artist.

The large palettes come with a clip that can be attached to a belt loop or bag and a built in mixing palette that can be separated from the main component. In practical terms it makes these palettes amongst the best available on the market for those working on set.

I am going to be using these palettes myself and given they are in the middle of the price bracket for this type of palette they are also economical for projects that require a little extra attention to detail or something practical for shooting on location/studio.

To find out more about the range:

Australia:

http://ripperfx.com.au/special-fx/alcohol-palettes/

UK:

Precious about makeup

Tilt makeup

Why I rarely Use Assistants Explained

I do get asked this when I am gearing up to do a new project, “why don’t I use assistants on jobs?” Most of the time its really as simple as I don’t need extra hands there isn’t enough work to justify it.

artist kit

Other times its because the people asking are not interested in the work they are looking for access to clients and of course validation of a skill set they have barely earned.

Now this may seem harsh but there is tells when you see peoples responses to ads for assistants or business related information.

A prime example of this was the recent post on a group dedicated to makeup artistry, I put out information concerning a bank account that was designed for freelancers. The response was zero. Now if that has been a post about Halloween makeup or asking for recommendations on glitter it would have been miles long.

Business is often not at the forefront of most makeup artists minds.

What you put out, and lets be honest here I do background check people, is going to give people an idea of what you are aiming to do at the end of your training or the level of marketing or if the skill you are offering match what you are saying. Film and TV are very specific and require a more toned down commercial look that may not be something you are showcasing, for example “I am looking for experience in film” but your social media is heavily geared toward party makeup and nails this is not going to get you the job frankly speaking from where I am standing, so be aware that people will check your work.

You are not immediately entitled to the same pay rates as me, its something that really does amuse me when you approach and the first thing you ask is my rate and if I am matching what you are being offered. My usual response is simple:

I have been working in this job for 20 years what I am paid is based on what I can do and what I offer. I am working as head of department which means the final look is my responsibility"

Many people want to be in film and TV but fail to grasp whats actually involved, I can spend days, sometimes weeks on a shoot and getting the script broken down or the designs done to suit the shoots needs. Could you do that? Can you work a 12 hour shift or be away from your home base for weeks on end if required?

Bottom line I rarely use assistants for two fundamental reasons:

  1. The jobs I do don’t always require extra hands.

  2. Not everyone is prepared to do the work to same level that I have to.

Spend some time looking at the work you do and evaluate if you are showcasing what you want or what is easiest for you to get a foot in the door to.

Bringing Brands into your Show, Film or TV Project

real business talk

As many of you are aware, I talk to brands on a regular basis for my work with the magazines. So this has allowed me to do a lot of product placement for those who have offered me PR packages as a thank you for an article.

So how can you make that work for you as a non writer and get brands on side when your working on a fashion show, film or TV project to help boost the profile of the project or augment your work behind the scenes.

Lets break this down into key elements and what the companies will be looking to gain from working with you first:

  • Social media interaction, will it be shown on Instagram? Twitter? Facebook? And most importantly whats the following of your pages/media?

  • Who is your target audience and how will you engage them using the brand?

  • What is the genre of the project and how can you integrate the brand into what you are doing in a way that is going to drive people to what is being shown?

  • What will this cost us and how will we see a return. This is the most important aspect, your asking for an investment in products or monetary terms or both so need to be aware of what that means.

  • Will we be exclusive or is it to be mixed with other brands?

So taking all of this into account, and I am sure there would be more but this is the basics that get discussed first and foremost.

  • If you are planning to use social media (which most of us do) then you need to be able to show demographic: who is your audience, is it organic (naturally built over time or did you pay for followers), how will you integrate the brand into your social media work.

  • Do you have permission of the company doing the film/TV project or fashion show to approach brands? This is extremely important and you need to be aware of conflict of interest concerning brand placement. Especially at fashion shows. If (for example) mac is the primary sponsor they are paying to have their products prominently placed in the advertising and social media so you need to be careful about placement and ensure that you have discussed it with the organiser or producer first.

  • Assuming you are free to do the placement without worry, draw up a business plan breaking down the cost of what you require and what the terms of this will be. If you are offering an exclusive deal then you need to be able to prominently place the brand across the board, cost in what you need to pay your team (if required) or cover the materials for the team to some degree so that the look is consistent.

  • A big aspect of this will be does your work fit the look of the company? Will what you are offering be of use to them and give a good overall showcase. For example IPA palettes for film and TV would be out of place in a fashion show, so you would not approach them.

  • Take the time to ensure that you are bringing a business proposal to the table and not just a vague offer, the more detail you can provide the better chance you have of getting the support in some shape or form.

Now understandably this is a basic overview but gives enough detail to give you a fighting chance at getting the support you want or need to move forward.

What I do as creative Director and Media Makeup Artist

The terms creative director and media makeup artist get thrown around as a buzzword with makeup artists but very few actually understand whats involved, its not a bad thing but it is detrimental to your business if you cannot do what you are advertising.

As creative director I do a wide range of things especially when it comes to working on film projects, mainly when I do low budget work do I try and do this to add dimension and potential marketing/pr avenues that might otherwise be missed. I have to be aware of how the story from behind the scenes and the commercial side is going to look when we release the details, it has to be consistent across media.

climbing the stairs to success

Thanks in part to my work for magazines, I am able to talk directly to brands and provide what I term primary sources of pr. I write articles and then pitch the possibility of adding the brand to a Non-exclusive product placement and will negotiate with the brand and/or the film company over where and how this can be done.

My job becomes about placement and brand support what I do is work out ways to augment and support my department with product placement and designing the elements of the characters and IF required finding solutions to problems, this can include finding something that will help the budget or add to the overall story, finding myself often online checking out options to reduce the budgets. As key makeup artist you need experience to be able to carry the can, you are as much a part of the process as the rest of the team.

As media makeup artist I work within the parameters that I know I can offer, I sell the service I am skilled and experienced in and make it clear to clients what those limits are. This can include social media, product placement within the film and of course designing the makeup with the application being done and maintained on the shoot. Commercial should be your aim when working in film and TV.

Working as a beauty and lifestyle editor has given me distinct advantages that I have built up and added to my own arsenal of professional skills that can be utilised in my work, that is the difference. For me its not a buzzword its a reality of my work. A career and vocation are totally different, there are alot of steps to be taken to get to the point of being key on film and TV or even working at a magazine, build your business sensibly.

Reaching for the Stars and how its Done

When you are working as a makeup artist, especially someone aspiring to work in film and TV. There needs to be a degree of give and take in the process. Experience will get you through and into better projects over the course of time. Understanding how business works, especially the film business, can mean the difference between securing the gig and being replaced.

Reaching for the stars

Stories leak all the time about people securing gigs on a lie, by that I mean telling the production team they can do something and then failing to provide the service offered.

When it comes to reaching for the stars sometimes you need to build a ladder to get there.

Remember networking is a must and being an assistant is not something to be sniffed at. You can gain a huge amount by assisting a senior artist.

For me its all about knowing my skill set and market audience. My journey is slightly different and I do have plans, goals and aspirations that may not suit everyone and thats OK, but heres a general sense of how to move up the ladder and earn your craft.

  • When you first graduate, remember you won’t get into large scale projects immediately you will need to build your CV and show that you are willing to put the time into getting there.

  • Nothing happens overnight. Contact artists be open to assisting and listen to them.

  • Don’t listen to rumours. Just because the person teaching you doesn’t like another artist does not mean that their opinion is accurate. No platforming someone based on rumours will end badly for you.

  • Low budget is not necessarily a bad thing. Every job should have a contract, talk to the people behind the film and be open to the options.

*From a recent chat with a director, “we contacted several artists before we spoke to you and the responses were weird. Two didn’t answer, one wished us good luck but wouldn’t work for free. She didn’t ask if we had a budget what the pay scale was she just dismissed it.”

When you work for a company you can be there anywhere up to a month (I have even see it be two or three) before you get paid, so why do you think that immediately dropping an offer is smart, ask questions and negotiate.

Know your own limits, if you can’t do it, don’t sell it.

Start small and build, a website is a must. You can tie it to your social media and other accounts and use it as a marketing tool that will benefit you long term.

Above all else, be open to the possibilities and treat it like the business you claim it is.

Building PR Around a Low Budget Feature Film

When your working on a low budget film, something that you need to consider is where every single penny is going in terms of your makeup kit. Especially when there is some moulage (character/blood work) involved.

building your budget and working the pennies

As a makeup artist the first thing you need to be asking is “whats the budget for the department?” Remember your materials cost money and a kit fee is pretty much a standard across the board, this will allow you to decide if there is anything you need that you don’t have in your kit and will cover your costs. If you are smart and there is a business plan in place with the film you can then work with the production team to gain some additional support and press, sometimes even add-on’s to your kit that would otherwise come out of the budget for your department.

The synopsis of a film or TV project will also give you an idea of what to expect in terms of the project type you are working on, a smart artist will know their own limitations and what they can and can’t offer in terms of the work and be smart enough to actually work around those limitations without losing face.

Once you have a contract (An absolute must) you can then start working on a plan of action, low budget films often have a lack of real PR planning for the makeup staff because we are well known for our ability to showcase ourselves, after all thats how we got the gig right?

Always co-ordinate with the production team on what you are planning!

Even something as simple as a tweet with a photo or an Instagram post can be detrimental and lose you the contract. Make sure that there isn’t a NON DISCLOSURE clause in your contract, if you violate the terms of a non disclosure you can be sued and lose your job with real harm done to your reputation.

By working on the project and PR plan with the team you can sometimes, if you handle it correctly, gain additional support which if YOU as the artist do right will give you a working relationship with the brands you approach that will be a long term benefit for the film/TV project and you that can be accessed and used later.

Smart moves make better films and longer careers.

Setting up a Schedule of Articles

taking notes

I decided to take the time to write enough articles that for two weeks possibly three, I will just need to do the social media shares and get the products and films out there.

The logic behind this is that will allow me the space to book a studio or find a really good location to shoot some additional pieces for the websites, the even better part of this is that Finally we will be sitting down this coming week to put together the details for projects we have had on the back burner for a while now.

Something that really appeals to me about this process is that aside from gaining the space to breathe, I can arrange additional videos of me working and create the work again to my own terms. With the amount of brand support I have had in the last few months and the continued development of The Lost Project into the upcoming Lost Films (a new website will be built for this).

On the topic of websites, this will be a good time to do the additions that have been in the back of my mind for a long time to get done. Bringing in some of the brands that we have already worked with and giving them another boost through our network.

A big worry for my bank manager, will be the cost but in my experience you have to invest in your business to draw the clients you want.

The Realities of Beauty Writing and being a Makeup Artist

When it comes to being a beauty editor or a beauty writer there is a sense of ease that is taken for granted in the process. People will undermine the work and treat it like a whimsical process that relies on words like confection and decadence to support its own validity.

Beauty writing

This also leads to people undermining the work and in some cases using the piece as their own platform to boost their own (ego) or business. Without giving any thought or credit to the person writing. Removing the platform that they use to promote themselves and demanding fair treatment when they refuse to do the same.

Invalidating someone else’s work has become somewhat commonplace, the notion that anyone in the same field as you, even in the broadest sense, is competition and ergo should be removed from the marketplace is a sad and frankly an unnecessary action.

As a beauty editor and writer my days can be spent on the computer writing, researching or arranging meetings. On odd occasions I have been known to shoot my own work, although that in and of itself is becoming rare as the platform seems to be wasted when bookings are going to fresher talent “to give them a chance” with the expectation that I promote them and/or a project that I have spent time designing for is no longer mine it has been given to someone else to “allow their business to grow.” After all I am established and known so its OK to use my network to promote someone else.

Now I am not saying that I won’t support but I also will not accept that all work must be done with freshers, that is ridiculous and negates years of training and hard work.

It has become common to Demand and demean the work to a point where I have had to tell clients I am no longer willing to work with or give voice to certain people and brands because of the sheer arrogance and egotism of their behaviour toward me and my work.

Being a beauty editor or a makeup artist has a degree of diplomacy involved and lately that has become a difficult skill to offer at least thats what I am told when I refuse to cow tow to demands that are both unreasonable and outright nasty.

It is taken for granted that money is not the objective of the work when dealing with outside parties (usually I am asked to work free because reasons) and then asked to pay for copies of said images/film.

As a beauty writer/editor and makeup artist, I have had to change my terms of service to accommodate a glut of badly managed artists who feel entitled to press.

If you are approaching the table come with some degree of humility, come with a plan and be open to negotiations otherwise you will not make it past hello.

The Next Big Investment into the JamesC Business

For those unfamiliar with my career after 20 years as a makeup artist I decided to expand on the work I was doing and create for myself as well as work on other peoples projects.

I try my best to give a platform to filmmakers, designers and brands but decided to wherever possible, to shoot the content for my articles myself to save a lot of hassle. That is not to say I will not push someone else’s work but as I have had to repeat frequently of late, this is at my discretion and as much as I want to showcase everyone, it doesn’t always hit the mark or is not appropriate so I try to do the work on my own terms.

Progressively I have been adding to my kit and will soon be making the leap and adding a mirrorless camera to my working stock. The reasoning for this is simple:

  • Smaller footprint in my overall kit (which is paired down to suit gigs).

  • Practicalities of discretion when shooting on set.

  • Cost.

zoom lens

This has been the major deciding factor in all honesty as mirrorless can be cheaper and the lenses I require along with the body will be cost effective for me in comparison to the DSLR equivalents of each part.

An additional factor to this will be that it will give me a greater degree of creative control over what is and isn’t shown in terms of my work and I will be able to factor this into my work and contracts easily and for lower budget projects (if my terms are met) will also mean additional support in PR for later sales etc.

I know this seems unfair and possibly removing a platform from someone else on a video shoot and again with designers and brands become an additional cost they need to allow for but I have noticed a change in dynamic in how my work is shared and re-platformed, often lacking the credit, I felt that it was within my own interests as a business to make this choice.

Makeup artists frequently complain about not being credited in promotions or advertising and this removes that step and ensures (wherever) possible and plausible, that I can control the work. Sad to say but a necessity of late.

Admittedly I see this as a positive step forward and an expansion of what has become a very commercially and media driven business model, though not suitable for every artist it certainly works for me.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Having spoken at length to my own contacts and business affiliates over certain projects, there is now it seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel where business concerns lay. We have been discussing a few different options concerning projects.

a light at the end of the tunnel

We do have some small pieces that we plan to use, scripts are already done, that will be shot and edited with the intention of showcasing both our talents and the brands that have provided PR packages and giving something back to these companies as a thank you in form of promotion.

An additional aspect we are going to look at is the behind the scenes element (which is integrated into my own terms of employment on projects), we will be shooting for designers and creating both editorial content and video that will then be used to showcase all the talent working.

Creatively there is a point at which I felt that it was time to move in a new direction and add to my skill set and with plans to redevelop my own business.

The logic for this is that I wanted to expand and hold more control over the dynamic of my work, after 20 years in the makeup and hair arena feels like the right move.

Setting your Professional Agenda as a Makeup Artist

When you are starting out in business or redeveloping your work you need to identify your basics and work out your professional agenda and goals for your business. What this means is figuring out the Realistic goals and aspirations you are aiming at.

For fashion and film and TV this can be a totally different ball game and requires serous planning as does any business. There is always a trade off that has to be taken when you choose to specialise or redefine your business to accommodate a different style of work.

Setting a professional agenda

Looking at Film and TV, with a level of commercial production into this which includes ads and projects aimed at sales, we need to look closely at the skill set and package you bring to the table for the project and what room you have to negotiate the price structure you will work to and your overall professional agenda.

The first element of this is your own skills and experience you bring to the table. If you have zero experience or less than 5 years in a mixed background including the time in training. You can work the odds in your favour but this requires some basic pieces that need to be Negotiated in contracts and also a level of investment on your part.

As most business works on a three tier system (I have addressed this in previous blogs) you ultimately want to hit the middle market which in the UK is web TV and digital download. Personally I prefer paid work and will negotiate a minimum term agreement for my services that will benefit all parties:

  • Behind the scenes stills and video

  • Practical application of the service looking at what can and can’t be achieved on the budget from a makeup perspective as a media/commercial makeup artist.

  • Minimum rate agreed at a set level per day/week with an option of royalties on sales.

  • A contract with terms and conditions laid out with the above stipulations.

If they cannot provide or meet all the terms provided then they have to negotiate a deal that all sides are happy with. As a makeup artist (or any crew member) you have overheads and need to remember that.

As agendas go mines is fairly simple. I want to earn a living off of a skill set I have earned over the course of my career and have reached a point where I am not as willing to work for the art and regardless of your status and experience you should be saying the same.

Having an agenda for your career is not a negative thing and shows that you are treating your business as a business and not the latest in a series of trendy hobbies.

Redefining the Boundaries

Having just made a call to one of my business contacts in India, we are both reading from the same page when it comes to our business. Unless we have a HUGE amount of money to spend on PR and marketing (which at the moment I don’t) we are not going to get the gigs we deserve or have worked to get because we cannot campaign or PAY for the role.

Redefining the Boundaries

Another major disappointment is the fact I am spending a great deal of my time working for other people and not really getting the return on what is ostensibly an investment of time.

What does this mean for the future of JamesC and by extension The Lost project.

First off there will be a continuation of support for my current slate of clients and brands, but this will be done via email. This will allow us to be a little more flexible about the extent of work I do however I won’t be travelling out of my own pocket to events etc, I will be taking on sponsors or charging a stipend for my time and I no longer feel that there is a gain for me.

Another element that will be looked at is Location. At the moment Scotland is just not working for me and I do have offers that could potentially see me leave long term but given my age and concerns about my pension (if I am working at 70 its because I want to not because I have to), will be a primary concern.

Film is going to be made the main concern for the future and again, there will be terms and conditions laid out in advance the first and most important is to be payment.

In the next month I will be working to redevelop my marketing strategies, redevelop my portfolio and put the emphasis BACK on my own business and not that of others to the same degree.

I am sad to be thinking like this but from a realistic stand point I have to focus on my family and my business first and foremost.

Reaching Out For Experience as a Student

When you are at college it can be a daunting prospect finding work experience and reaching out through social media can be the first port of call for many.  Aside from that what can you do?  Is there a method that would work that will allow you to find work yourself and promote your skills? 

reaching out

Let's start with film, TV and theatre.  

While there are many groups that are dedicated to film and TV you need to customise your approach to the market.  I know you're a student, I appreciate you want the experience but be realistic, you need to make money too and your skill set is developing.   

Colleges and universities also have media studies departments and a makeup artist can be a bonus for student films, *always ask permission to take photos and share the images.  Student films can be fun and often a good learning curve for fresh talent as your all learning together what works and what doesn't. 

Do some digging, google is your friend, make use of this FREE service and do some checking on meetups and media access centres in your area.  They are always looking for new faces to work with and you can even assist.  

Assisting is a contentious one, a lot of people feel that they are ready to roll still at college or not, which is not a smart move in my experience.  Being an assistant lets you talk to more experienced people and takes the pressure off you to perform as someone else is in charge and you are there to learn.  How can that be a bad thing?? 

If you decide to reach out to an artist here are some good ground rules:  

  • Look at their work. 
  • Find out what they are about.
  • Check their social media.
  • Understand that they will be busy and may take time to respond.  
  • Don't come to the table combative, be open to learning and don't expect to be working to your own rules.

Being a makeup student and doing you're own research is essential, its part of the process and will serve you well when you graduate. The more you do now, the easier the transition will be when you graduate.    

 

A New Avenue

Yesterday was fun, I had a meeting with a lovely young photographer in Glasgow who wanted to talk to me directly about working together and finding a middle ground about costs, style and she wanted to discuss doing a test shot or trade test to see how we worked together.  

There is something refreshing about that I really appreciate.  

lens

What it does it opens up the debate about how we work and treat professionals who approach us. There seems to be a discrepancy in the discussion process that requires a little adjustment if people are to progress.  

One of the problems I am seeing and hearing is people want the work handed to them without any kind of effort.  I take no issue in doing a trade test for someone new if (as in this case) we can agree on terms: 

  • Test shoots should be test shoots and not a commercial venture where only one or two people are earning.  
  • Phone calls and meeting for a coffee to talk business is a necessity, your first impression truly does matter.    
  • Come to the meeting with clear goals and a sense of what you can and can't do, this is not the time to decide that a week/month/year/two years of training and minimal experience is the deciding factor on your getting the gig.  It's not.  
  • Don't sell a skillset you do not have.  if the person you are meeting is smart they will have done their due diligence and checked you out.  *It should be noted that this was done yesterday and the lovely young lady I met DID check my work, my websites, and social media and stated it happily whilst listening to my offer.  

The fantastic part of my meeting yesterday was the fact that we both had a clear idea of what we wanted and found a middle ground that worked, I did not demand nor did she, a package that would benefit only one person. 

The outcome of this was simple: a trade test with two agency models (minimum) one male and one female so she can see how I do men's grooming work and a piece on her new business using the images will be written as a form of advertorial and video footage will be created to augment this for PR on ALL sides.  Which means that I can do some product placement for the shoot which is excellent and will be a nice bonus for the whole team.  

As a professional artist, I am also a business and meeting someone who wants to create and run a business with skills and not cost being the deciding factor on hiring is refreshing. 

Russia Modest Fashion Week

It is always gratifying when a major player in the fashion world contacts me and asks for my support be it PR terms or as a consultant.  Which is why I was extremely flattered when I was contacted by the team from Russia Modest Fashion Week.

Something I am really keen to do is bring talent to the foreground and put the focus heavily on the designers and artists.  

There is something immensely gratifying about being recognised for my work and dedication to the creative arts.  Over the next few weeks I will be revealing more details about the event and of course one of my favourite London Shows: House of iKons London with Lady K media.   

Naturally I am going to still be working with the team from Scotland internaiton fashion festival who have been amazing about the show and are hugely supportive and working closely with a variety of designers and brands.  

Do What You Love

The concept of "do what you love and you will never work a day in your life" really is something I hold close.  I have been tireless in our process and really putting time and effort into the areas of business we want. 

Writing editorial content has become a massive part of how I progress and it has allowed me to do a great deal more and brought us to the attention of some amazing brands that have gone from being clients to friends. 

Overall I am happy that I have been able to give back as much as I have received and showcased some fantastic small and large companies.    

I will be bringing new elements including press release pieces and of course fresh images and updates to the magazine realm. 

 

Changing the dynamic

Something that you will notice is the change to the front cover of the site, taking it from just makeup artist to commercial makeup artist.  What this means is that I focus my energy and time on the TV and film sector with a sideline in advertorial and writing for magazines.  

take notes

The reasoning behind this is to come in line with the clients that I currently attract and want to maintain.  Its specific marketing and advertising targeting and changing the way we approach the business and work we do. 

What this means is the focus will be on advertising and more corporate based projects.  Already putting the necessary pieces in place to do this we are working on the background elements and changing the fundamental aspects such as search engine optimization and of course the site content to focus that energy into the areas I prefer working in. 

This is not to say that I will refuse clients from the private sector.  Far from it, I love working with private clients but keeping the demographic clear and the portfolio in line with the work is the target for the next few months. 

As I stated previously in my blog,  75% of my current clientele is overseas or outside of Scotland in places like London and I will be putting the time, energy and resources into that side of my marketing. 

With an evolving business sometimes that needs change and this is what is being done with the JamesC Commercial makeup artist title change.

 

Explaining the JamesC business

I saw a very interesting post by a Scottish makeup artist on Instagram breaking down the elements of her business and why she charges what she does and it rang a bell with me.  

JamesC redefining the work

When people look at my business they make the mistake in thinking its all about the glamour and the articles that go out or the social media side of the work I do. What you don't see is the massive amount of time I spend on the other elements of my work.  

For the moment I have just had to hold off on my plans to shoot new website content for the simple lack of time, around 75% of my work is on the consultation side and I provide a variety of different aspects to that including: 

  •  Artist representation and PR
  • Brand management services including PR and articles
  • Editorial and Advertorial services

This means I can be doing anything from providing makeup services to shooting the images as a part of the package.  A lot of my time is spent focusing on taking brands and writing for them.  Another aspect that is often overlooked or ignored is the promotion of indie brands such as makeup lines or film and TV projects.  My social media and SEO skills have had to improve drastically since I joined the Trend Prive Magazine team. 

What will be changing is how this is approached since the majority of my client base is in London and across South Asia I am giving serious consideration to moving to somewhere warmer that will be an easier commute or at least lower my cost of living.  

What will be changing over the next few months is how business is undertaken and moved forward and what services will be offered: 

PR and marketing will increase and shoots will be controlled and managed by myself and the team from the Lost project.  

Shoots will be built around my own skill set and makeup and photos WILL be a JamesC endeavor.

  • Assistants will be assistants and credited as such.  Consideration will go into taking on long-term team members.  
  • Contracts and release forms will be required for each new job. 
  • 75-80% of the shoots will be shot in London or outside of the UK.  Simply for the ease of work.  

This not to say I don't want to work in Scotland but I will not be pursuing it as heavily as in previous years.  Not because this is a bad place but because I am not interested in weddings and occasions makeup and want to focus on advertising, commercial and film/TV.  Simply because I can I will also do editorial and PAY for the placement of my work in good magazines or look at the prospect of creating my own alongside the Film and TV projects we as a team are planning.  

JamesC will also be looking at bringing in a brush line as well as doing more behind the scenes work to show how the brand works.