Film and TV drama
Also known as: Hair and make-up runner
The role of hair and make-up trainees varies according to the production. Most start the day reading the call sheet and putting together kit bags depending on what’s needed. That might include anything from towels and hair dryers if there’s a water scene, or hot flannels for de-rigging at the end of the day.
Hair and make-up trainees learn by watching more experienced staff and might get to do basic hair and make-up for crowd scenes. They may even be responsible for some minor characters and stunt doubles, working under supervision. They are trained in health, safety and hygiene. They wash brushes, keep the truck tidy and make sure the towels are clean.
Hair and make-up trainees are also responsible for updating notes and taking photographs, which is essential to maintain the continuity of the characters during production.
You will build up your kit over time. To start with, get a set bag which should include:
Hair and make-up trainees work with the hair and make-up assistants and other members of the hair and make-up team. They will also be working with actors and supporting artists (people with non-speaking parts).
Hair and make-up designers usually enter the industry through one of three routes. Some come from hairdressing and barbering. Others come from beauty-therapy backgrounds. Other come from stage and theatre hair and make-up backgrounds. Whatever way you come in, it’s essential to get qualified before entering the industry. Once you have one of the following qualifications, you can apply to ScreenSkills’ Trainee Finder or find other ways of getting into the industry.
At school or college:
Take one of the following Level 3 qualifications:
Get an apprenticeship:
Apprenticeships are jobs with training, so they are a great opportunity to earn as you learn. It can be challenging to find jobs as an apprentice with production companies as many are not able to take on people for a whole year, which is an apprenticeship requirement at the moment. However, it’s definitely worth looking for a job as an apprentice in the hair and make-up industry in general. This will help you develop your craft and create a body of work for a portfolio that you can use to find your way into film and TV drama at a later point.
These are the relevant apprenticeships throughout the UK:
Before taking any apprenticeship, check what you’ll be learning with your prospective employer and college, so you can be sure it will be giving you the skills you want. Go to how to become an apprentice to learn how to find apprenticeships in your region or approach companies directly.
Work on a make-up concession stand. Get a part-time job in a hair salon or barbershop. Volunteer to do hair and make-up for student films or amateur theatre. The more time you can spend doing hair or make-up the better.
Build a portfolio:
This is essential. Go to build a hair and make-up portfolio for details of how to do this.
Take a short course:
Hone your skills in hair and make-up by taking a specialist course. Go to the list of training courses recommended by ScreenSkills and see if there is one in prosthetics, barbering, wig-fitting or period hair styling. If you have a specialism, it will make you extra handy. We recognise courses with our ScreenSkills Select award where they offer training in the relevant software, dedicated time to building a portfolio and have strong links with the film and TV industries.
Become a trainee:
Apply to be a hair and make-up trainee. Get onto ScreenSkills’ Trainee Finder This will help you make the contacts and build up the industry knowledge to get work in the art department of a film or TV drama.
Hair and make-up artists are in demand in unscripted TV as well as in film and TV drama. They are also needed for music videos, corporate films, fashion and advertising.
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