Ever heard of the expression, “please come camera ready to set?” If you’ve been working in this business for awhile, doing background work, or just plain love Indie films you are very familiar with this term. Most actors understand this saying as looking nice with their hair clean and dry and their everyday makeup applied. However, do you really have what you need to be hair and makeup ready on set? A lot of actors know how to do their basic makeup for everyday looks or maybe even an event. But, what that makeup can look like is a whole other ball of wax. I decided to sit down with accomplished, makeup artist, and personal friend Nicole Wittman to get the skinny on some do’s and don’ts when it comes set makeup. Nicole has worked on everything from Paris runway shows to my indie series. So she know’s a thing or two about how to be “camera ready”. Want to look your best and be camera ready? Pay attention.
What are the most common mistakes you see actors make when applying their own makeup?
Wittman: They use their everyday make-up set. When you are shooting on high tech cameras such as 4K it’s not the same make-up that you carry in your purse for daily use. You need products that are meant for high definition. Make-up forever has some great products for this.
Should an actor carry any make-up or product essentials to set?
Wittman: A professional make-up artist is all you need to carry around with you. The film industry is a different beast. Fixing things in post is highly unlikely unless it’s a major problem and a make-up flaw is probably low on the list of what they are looking at in post.
What if a set doesn’t have a make-up artist? What advice would you give an actor who is doing their own makeup on set?
Wittman: Have a consultation with a make-up artist first. Get your right color foundation and products that read well on camera with your skin tone. It will pay off in the final product.
If an actor is short on time, what is a quick thing they can do to be camera ready for an audition?
Wittman: Be ready at all times. Carry around the products that you had a professional make-up artist match to your skin tone. Powder, concealer, and mascara are a must. Remember though you want to look like yourself unless of course, it’s a character audition-then that’s a whole other story.
Is there anything an actor can do before showing up on set to make the makeup artist’s job easier and have everything go more smoothly when they are in the chair?
Wittman: Show up with nothing on but a clean face and a smile. If the artist is a professional they will have everything to make you camera ready. Egos need not join you on set.
“The most beautiful makeup for a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy”.
– Yves Saint-Laurent
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(Photo’s courtesy of Sarah Delpizzo and Allen Zaki)