What does a Key Hairstylist do?
The key hairstylist creates a look for each character in the film. They work closely with the director and production designer to establish the film's look, style, and feel. They start by breaking down the script. Next, they think of ways on how they can enhance the storytelling through hairstyles. They research historical figures, stereotypical styles, and trending styles to help them authentically portray a character. They create mood boards for the character's hairstyles to communicate the look that should be applied for each scene.
After they receive approvals, the hairstylist works out what they need to purchase or rent. They create a budget for their department and submit it for approval from the line producer. Once the budget is approved, they hire a team, schedule purchases, draw up notes that details changes to the hairstyle, organize wig fittings, and take photographs for continuity. The director and producer sign off on final looks.
During production, the hair and makeup department are one of the first departments arriving on set. A hairstylist will be on set at all times to help actors maintain continuity of their hairstyles.
On smaller productions, this position is usually combined with the Key Makeup Artist position.
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