Working in Film, TV and Stage 

Professional training as a make-up artist working in film and TV

Brushstroke training will give you the very best start to your career working in film and TV because it’s based on the needs of the industry.

Working in Film as a Makeup Artist

There are many opportunities for building a rewarding career as a make-up artist working in film and TV as well as stage. Whatever pace and style of life you are seeking you can choose from the family feel of a long-running stage show to the quick turnaround of a TV soap or the slower-paced precision of applying special effects make-up on a film set. With the right training behind you and the kind of attitude that makes you an invaluable member of any production team, all these make-up roles are within your grasp.

It is our desire at Brushstroke to create fully rounded artists ready to fulfil their potential working in film and TV. Versatility is highly valued in the industry which is why we include hairstyling and wig management in many of our diploma courses. Three of the courses focus exclusively on the technical aspects of hair.

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The Skills and Techniques of a Film Makeup Artist

Building up your skills and techniques as a make-up artist working in film and TV starts with good solid training followed by on-the-job experience. The more you know about all aspects of make-up and hair, the more employable you will be. Then you might be able to specialise in an area that interests you particularly, such as prosthetics, period styling or working in fashion.

There are 5 key areas of make-up training excellence for artists working in film and TV:

  1. The ability to interpret a concept and create something unique. But also acknowledge a brief and follow step-by-step instructions precisely.
  2. Having hair styling skills of the highest standard both period and contemporary, including wigs and extensions.
  3. Broad and very varied make-up skills and technical ability – from a 20 minute ‘barely there’ to a 4-hour SFX.
  4. Judging how best to interact with people. For example, other members of the production team as well as your clients and, of course, the actors getting ready to perform.
  5. Business acumen – understanding the promotional and financial aspects of working as a self-employed make-up artist.

The Life of a Film, TV and Stage Make-Up Artist

The work is so broad it’s impossible to do justice to the variety of jobs that could come your way as a make-up artist working in film and TV. For example a range of injuries for a crowd scene, ‘barely there’ make-up for a male chat show guest, sci-fi prosthetics or a replica tattoo. You might be reflecting London in the ’60s or 17th century Italy. Make-up artists are magicians – they transform actors into monsters and victims of crime. They hide and conceal blemishes, tattoos and signs of a late night. Sometimes they simply make sure someone on stage looks as natural as possible to an audience far away.

Artists can concentrate on being part of a ‘permanent team regularly doing make-up on a TV soap, for example. Alternatively, you could juggle work on different jobs at any one time – a theatre for four nights a week while working on TV productions during the day.

All of the make-up artist roles carry a certain degree of responsibility. Even if you’re the chief make-up designer or supervisor, you are part of a bigger team working towards a common goal of bringing a production to life and carrying out your role successfully and diligently. It could be a simple matter of being on hand to touch up make-up in between takes. Or ensuring a look remains consistent throughout a production. As films and TV programmes are often shot out of sequence the make-up artist needs to plan their work to suit the schedule and, above all, be able (and very keen) to respond quickly with whatever is needed. That’s how reputations are built.

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What next for the aspiring Film, TV & Stage Make-Up Artist?

Your next step to working in film and TV as a make-up artist is to find out more about our courses at Brushstroke. We offer the very best training in all aspects of make-up. And, depending upon your requirements, we can take you up to a very advanced stage of technical ability. Whether you are a leaving school or changing career, there’s a course to suit you as an individual. You can graduate from Brushstroke with a recognised diploma and the level of skills that future employers need – whether you’re seeking work in film, TV or the stage.

You’ll find lots of colleges promoting make-up courses and, certainly, they’ll give you a taste for working in film, TV and the stage.  However, when you are starting out on your career, potential employers are seeking multi-skilled make-up (and hair) artists. Proper, advanced training is what you need and that’s what you’ll get at Brushstroke. Then if you want to specialise in, say prosthetics or fashion make-up at a later date, you’ll have all the training and background you need to make a go of it.

Many of our make-up tutors work in film, TV and stage. Notable work includes The CrownPhantom of the Opera, Killing Eve and Eastenders.

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Our Tutors

Proper professional training from our tutors will set you on the road to becoming a skilled makeup artist.


Leaving School?

Leaving school at 16 means you can train as a makeup artist with Brushstroke.


Changing Career?

Changing career to become a makeup artist is within your reach – with Brushstroke training behind you.


Makeup Artist Roles

There’s a range of makeup artist roles to chose from. From film and TV to stage, theater and photographic shoots – which one fits you?

2 Year Make up Course

This BTEC and ITEC Level 3 Diploma Make up Course is our most thorough and comprehensive course at Brushstroke Makeup School. 

Deposit: £4,000

Cost: £13,000 per year

Start Dates: Enrolling now for Longcross Studios (4th October 2021) and Elstree Studios (27th September 2021)

1 Year Hair Dressing and Barbering Course

An intensive VTCT Level 2 course taught by Toni & Guy trained tutors to complete your training as a versatile artist

Deposit: £3,000

Cost: £9,000

Start Dates: Enrolling Now For Longcross Studios (4th October 2021) and Elstree Studios (27 September 2021) 

7 Month Hair & Make up Course

This ITEC level 3 Diploma Course can be taken as a full 7 Month Module, or as separate short courses in makeup.

Deposit: £2,500 

Cost: £10,500

Start Dates: Enrolling now Longcross Studios (20 September 2021) and Elstree Studios (7 June 2021)