Tania D Russell makeup artist at work founder makeup to go blog makeup to go makeup educator media makeup artists Los Angeles San Francisco pro makeup artists blog owner artist
me on set circa 2019

Raise your hand if you want to start booking dream jobs at great rates.

Safe to say few people would turn down such an offer 😉. Whenever I make a post about working in the industry as a media makeup artist the first question that inevitably comes up is “Well, how do you book these clients?”

That is a multi-faceted question with a myriad of answers, probably more than I can completely cover in a blog post. That said, here are a few tips that can point you in the right direction. For the purposes of this chat, I’m focusing on Commercial clients which is the bulk of what I do but much of this is applicable to other media work; Celeb, Film/TV, etc. (bear in mind I’m talking about media clientele which is significantly different than booking jobs in bridal or event clientele, etc.

Know Your Market

Every city has a bridal market for example, but not every city has a significant film market, not every city has a significant celebrity market, etc. MOST cities do have some level of a commerical market. Even if your area only has local stores/local television, that’s work! More cities have commercial markets than people realize. Finding out what work is available in your area is crucial to making a realistic plan of action.

Know Who the Clients Are

Once you’ve determined what type of work exists in your area, next thing to figure out is who the clients are. Obviously in markets like NYC or LA there are vast numbers of photographic/media clients but Proctor & Gamble is in Ohio, JC Penny is in Texas, Kohl’s is in Wisconsin. And for every major client such as these, there are plenty more mid-size brands/clients who need imagery for their businesses. Seriously, there is work everywhere.

Know Who the Players Are

The next part of devising a plan of action is knowing who to talk to. Chances are there are artists in your market already doing the work that you want to do. This is not a problem, in fact it can be a benefit. A huge percentage of my work over the years – and I’m sure my peers would say the same – have come from other artists. Form a community with other artists and become known to the senior artists in your area as a hard-working and trustworthy team player.

Know Your Craft

A crucial piece of the plan of action puzzle is showing the right kind of work to get the jobs that you want to get. In order to get high level assisting opportunities or opportunities to be on a team etc., your presentation must show senior artists, photographers, and potential clients that you will be able to walk in the door and fit into their project right off the bat. Depending on the situation, it’s ok to be a newer/emerging artist, but you do have to show that you and your work is on the same page with everyone else. In media makeup your presentation a.k.a. your portfolio of your work (or resume and reel if you work in production makeup) is absolutely your entry pass. Many times, if you aren’t showing the right work, you aren’t getting in.

Know Thy Self

Because at the end of the day – to quote author Toni Morrison – you are your Best Thing. All the talent in the world won’t help you if you aren’t personable, easy to get along with, and enthusiastic and passionate about what you’re doing and why you’re there. But if you ARE those things, all rules in the world can’t stop you. I’ve known young artists who got major opportunities very early on just because someone liked them enough to give them a shot. Actually, that happened to me early on too 😊

Bottom line: starting to get booked in media work takes a bit of research and strategic planning, but then – as with most things in this career – it becomes a matter of putting yourself and your work out there. It can be daunting at first, but the more you do it the easier it becomes and the more benefits you will reap.

I help emerging artists get their skills up, elevate their portfolio, and know their Biz so they can start booking better work with better clients. Hop on the mailing list for access to the Resources Library, and to learn how we can work together.

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© 2022, Tania. All rights reserved.

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