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.