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Film, Television, & Content Creation

Make-up Artist

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Key Make-up Artist

What does a Key Make-up Artist do?

The key makeup artist creates a look for each character in the film. They are responsible for applying makeup and facial hairpieces. 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 various makeup applications. They research historical figures, stereotypical styles, and trending styles to help them authentically portray a character. They create mood boards for the character's makeup application to communicate the look that should be applied for each scene.


After they receive approvals, the key makeup artist 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 makeup application, and take photographs for continuity. They organize wig fittings, prosthetic and dental appointments. The director and producer sign off on final looks.


During production, the makeup and hair department is one of the first departments arriving on set. A makeup artist will be on set at all times to help actors maintain continuity of their looks.

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