Finalising the Story

Finalising the story

Over the last few weeks there has been a real lack of updates on the website and its partly due to the changes being made in the background, I have been working on a variety of art and makeup based articles for trend prive magazine and working on the designs for shoots.

Work has started on the model bookings to get things rolling ideally before Christmas so we can do the major site updates before I start the work on the mini-series that has been negotiated in the background by The Lost Project.

Something that is really top of the list is creating some macro shots (more details on this later) and a freestyle paint shoot to really just showcase, all of which I am hoping to video as well.

Once the final edits are done I also plan to release images that have been previously unpublished and part of the plan is to create specifically to submit to magazines, and in fact I have the magazines already picked out that I will submit too.

After what feels like a huge creative break, its actually good to be able to start arranging the shoots and get back to what I love. Makeup.

Changing the Narrative of the JamesC Blog

For a number of reasons, I decided that its time to change the narrative and move away from business and look more at showcasing new work and talking about the behind the brushes side of being a makeup artist.

Changing the narrative

Over the last 6 months to a year I have done a wide variety of different things much of this being focused on articles and editorial content for magazines, as readers will be aware I am also a beauty editor for trend prive and occasional contributor to world fashion media news.

In terms of the work I have been shooting content on my own terms and that can often be missed in the mix of my articles, lets be fair who reads the credits on an image?

Something I am doing is working with director/producer Jim Manclark on some smaller corporate projects and a few things that will be shot specifically for the short film market and aimed at showcasing talent THEN commercialism.

Given that I am primarily a makeup artist I feel that I have to some degree been losing ground on that and my work gets lost in the “blogging” mix when I talk about business.

So with this all in mind I am taking a break from the more business oriented side of my blog and focusing on products and shooting content that will be showcased via the blog where there is a higher chance of it being seen.

Japonesque Brush Revival

Japonesque High Density Foundation Small Brush.jpg

For the last 25 plus years, Japonesque has been leading the charge on professional makeup brushes and their latest revamp of the brushes has been on my radar but not added to my arsenal until now.

I have admittedly got some on standby for delivery once back in stock with amazon, but to get the ball rolling and because they caught my attention, I ordered a small foundation brush from the new collection.

What drew my eye was the shape, rather than flat or kabuki style its a triangular dense brush designed for foundation. I actually will be adding more Japonesque brushes to my working kit and changing out some of the older pieces and looking at revamping for purposes that will become clear in due course.

What I want to do is test run this brush with a view to adding more soon.

To find out more about Japonesque brushes check out the Look fantastic website.

The Italian Beauty Council and JamesC

Italian flag

I am really excited to say that I am going to be working as a collaborator with the Italian Beauty Council on a series of articles about beauty from that country. For the last few years I have been doing less film and TV work and slowly moving more into realms of blogging/beauty writing for online magazines, although I still take on film and TV clients, I admit I do enjoy the discipline of writing for Trend Prive magazine and will be taking that forward and fitting smaller more art based projects in between.

Launched in 2017, Beauty Made in Italy is a joint program of the Italian Trade Commission and Cosmetica Italia, that aims to promote the excellence, awareness, and availability of Italian beauty products and brands to the US market and consumer.

This goal is realised by educating participating companies on the particularities of the US market, by hosting promotional events and initiatives, and by creating a shared, cohesive brand and message of Italian beauty to the American market.

Now I appreciate that I am currently UK based, however Trend Prive has a HUGE following in the USA and I am really happy to be a part of that and being in a position to support both the magazines I work with and the Italian Beauty Council as beauty journalist.

Defining the Boundaries and deconstructing the Job

The last few weeks have been a really strange one for me as an artist. It feels like the time has dragged but still run far to quickly to understand fully what went on and how it affects the future of my work.

defining my craft

Having worked through scripts, been on set to shoot and then contemplating my place in the work force as I talk to companies and groups in mainland Europe who are looking to gain some press coverage and support, it has been a strange that my skills are in demand OUTSIDE of my home base yet vilified here.

Lets start with the basics of what has gone on and how this affects my moving forward.

  • Making decisions about what I am doing or how I will work without consulting or notifying me is not going to make the work go smoothly. Its a simple thing in reality, decisions made have a ripple effect and not just change the outcome of my work but that of the cast and crew around me, if I cannot see the goalposts that you are moving then, I cannot do my job effectively. Boundaries are there for a reason, changing them without warning has consequences.

  • Want to learn from me? Then you need to do two things and they are clearly defined if you have attended any school or college anywhere in the globe: listen and speak to the person you want to learn from. Avoiding talking direct and making excuses when YOU do not want to engage or learn, instead undermining the work of the Senior artist to gain the job yourself is not smart and you will not progress, instead you will gain a reputation for this kind of bad behaviour. You think its smart because its getting you noticed but you are being noticed for your unprofessional conduct not your skill set.

  • Do not bring your ego to the table, yes that does include me, no one is indispensable and everyone can be replaced. How you handle it is a mark of how your mindset works. (See above statement).

  • Business is business. If you are a head of department or an assistant, you are there to do a job and CANNOT DICTATE how you will work if you want the money you do the work, if you want the credibility you do the work, if you are there to be seen or for the glory of being a part of something you are going to fall flat on your face if you do not follow protocols or pay attention to the running of the shoot. Simple.

  • Don’t kowtow to pressure if you are the boss show it. When you are declining experience in favour of mediocrity, if you decline someone who can and has already shown their willingness to support you, dropping them in favour of the masses who make threats is not going to progress your business model. Mediocre work breeds mediocre work. If I support you I will bring a lot to the table and if you undermine that I will remove the support.

  • No platforming artists has become increasingly common, if you do not have the skill set then ask questions and be humble enough to understand that you are learning. Decrying someone as unprofessional and screaming injustice is just making you look bad when the person your attacking is not commenting or not being allowed to respond to your accusations. You are simply making yourself look bad and this will affect you long term more than the other artist. Insidious gossip and maligning people is not clever.

I am going to be redefining the boundaries of my business and taking time to reconstruct my job (I am both sad and furious that I have to after 20 years), and bringing into play a more rigid agreement with clients in Writing before I start a job.

For the most part I love my job but lately it has become a waste of time and resources on my side in getting things done for clients who don’t appreciate the work and undermine the value of what I bring to the table. Its demoralising to think that a skill set that I was begged to bring back to the UK has so badly neglected the point where I am contemplating leaving long term.

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.

Everything is Connected

The idea that everything is connected has never been so prevalent as it is now with social media taking over the way we market our businesses and personal lives (and yes if you share your personal business publicly it becomes marketing).

Everything is connected

By pushing your own agenda and pushing YOUR business over that of someone else who created an article or piece of work that includes you is really a show of dominance that will long term be of no benefit as they can and in my case Will remove the platform.

I did check last night and have discovered that I have written in total 125 articles on different brands, designers, makeup companies and makeup tools. This has become my own personal platform.

I work at my own discretion deciding who or what I will talk about.

Social media has opened the door to some of the best and most commonly used marketing tools that can be and is being abused.

Short term thinking and ego get in the way of business being done properly which in my case has meant I am now rethinking not just who I work with but how I do it, I have brought into the light platforms including magazines, film/TV sales avenues to a series of makeup brands. In a local sense my “voice” has been removed from the proceedings by not using the articles content and taking credit for work that is not their own, it is forcing my hand to be more careful about how I support people in future.

Which in itself is sad.

After 20 years as a hair and makeup artist my work is often overlooked in favour of new talent when commercial is my wheel house and cost is never negotiated you have no room to complain when the work is not as well received as You feel it should be because you failed to take on board an experienced artist over giving a platform to a trainee who would have benefited from support, but then you save money so its all good right?

Hire me and you get the wealth of my experience and efforts which include PR and marketing, Demand that I support for free and then remove my voice from the resulting dialogue and you lose the right to complain when I no long wish to work with you.

Everything is connected and I will find out. I have talked about this multiple times and its becoming more and more of an issue, in light of it I will be changing the terms of how I work YET AGAIN because of the way my work is treated.

Opening the Door to Better Business

There is a huge amount of changes that people are fighting to be made in the Scottish (and global) industry. People are talking about creating groups and teams that can “regenerate” the industry, especially that of fashion.

a light bulb moment

What concerns me about this is the lack of real identity to it or the background checks that should be done to prevent collapse. In an age where its incredibly easy to verify someones background through something as simple as Facebook, which many companies are now doing, I find it interesting and have fell for it myself on the surface, people still lie about their CV.

Now if you want to question the validity of my travels, my work and my business you are more than welcome because I can provide evidence that will verify it for you.

So thats simple then.

If you are dealing with people who talk endlessly about what they have done and where they have been and there work is not close the standard you would expect here’s the thing you can cross check and ask for verification.

Overselling a skill is not smart and shows a lack of thought into your business. If you want to improve your work and get into better realms EARN your craft, if you do not have the skill earn them don’t lie about them and think you won’t get caught.

To open the door to better business you just need to earn it, that will take time, marketing and earned skill nothing comes overnight.

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.    


Creating a Buzz

When it comes to promoting a business on a micro to zero budget, which many of us have to or find simpler depending on their targets.  We need to stop thinking in terms of creating a buzz and effective use of images and other aspects of social structure.  

creating a buzz

Taking into consideration as a makeup artist, I am asked to do events which are particularly problematic when it comes to advertising and often support.  

What I do is TALK to the client and set up a strategic plan that will benefit us both, this often is done on a zero budget and requires a little effort on my part and theirs.  The first thing that needs to be agreed is a contract and written terms for advertising my involvement in the event and of course a business overview for the company/event so that I can approach companies for sponsorship either for my segment as an individual or for the shows entire makeup department. 

Fashion events can be a huge potential avenue for support and marketing that can be lucrative (see MAC covering a variety of events and projects).  

Treating each event as a potential marketing avenue for a brand I have to then sit down and create the look, talk to the brand and show a comprehensive plan of action to promote the company that will be beneficial and drive traffic to their sites and generates sales. 

Asking for brand support is a huge undertaking and requires a lot more than just a few selfies and flyer.  

Making effective use of free social media platforms can be a huge part of this and has to be taken into account with the effective use of hashtags and search terms, a minimal investment of time can make the difference between a successful event and a failure.  

Creating a buzz for free is entirely possible and can be done with a carefully constructed plan, the method of "if we make it they shall come," does not work in the long term.