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Reel Opportunities

Set Costumer

What does a Set Costumer do?

Set Costumers are the right hand of the Costumer Designer and Costume Supervisor. While Costume Designers design the entire look of a character and supervise the construction of costumes, they seldom go to set. A Set Costumer is responsible for assembling the costume of the actor on set and making sure the Costume Designer’s vision is realized.

Set Costumers will track clothing to ensure that they are loaded and unloaded safely and without causing damage or stains. They supervise the clothing and accessories being delivered to the appropriate actors, and are taught about proper clothing care. This includes educating performers on not eating, drinking, or smoking while wearing specific garments. They create rules for performers to follow when it comes to ensuring that their clothing stays free of filth, rips, and other flaws.

Making sure that the production’s “clothing continuity book” is up to date is a key aspect of the job. This book details each shot in chronological order, including what each actor looks like in each scene. In addition to ensuring that actors wear the right costumes at the right time, this book can also record the use and placement of each costume during the production process.

What's a Set Costumer good at?
  • Dressmaking and tailoring

    Be able to draw, sew, make, alter and maintain clothes and accessories, prepare outfits to look faultless on screen

  • Styling

    Understand the stylist’s or designer’s vision for a show, know what styles suit different people best and create the right looks with flair and creativity

  • Attention to detail

    Spot and deal with any design or styling flaws or issues during filming, keep the department organised and tidy

  • Knowledge of design

    Have a passion as well as an understanding of fashion, the history of design and costume, colour, lighting, pattern and texture, and knowing where to source fabrics, accessories and outfits

  • Communication

    Work well with others, listen and respond to stylists’, presenters’ and contributors’ needs, be trusted and have good relationships with designers, PR and brands who may supply clothing or accessories

Who does a Set Costumer work with?

A Set Costumer works directly with the Costume Designer, Costume Supervisor or Stylist, or all three. They also work with everyone and anyone on the production, in particular the hair and make-up team, to ensure they all create a complete and coherent ‘look’ for any contributors featuring in a programme. They have contact with studio and technical staff, particularly sound when putting on and removing mics, and have regular updates with the production management team regarding budgets and schedules.

How do I become a Set Costumer?

Set Costumers are often the entry-level role in the costume department. Some start as Production Assistants, but others go straight in as Set Costumers. To get in, you need to develop your craft. Here are some more tips:

Educational Requirements: If you want to go to university, classes in art and design, fashion, textiles, theatre studies, graphic design or graphic communication are useful.

Get an Internship: An internship is a job with training, so it’s a great opportunity to earn as you learn. However, it can be challenging to find jobs as an intern within production companies. It might be worth looking for a job as an intern in an industry that uses similar skills, such as being a tailor for a clothing designer or tailoring company. Try to hone your skills through an internship in fashion and textiles or costume and wardrobe.

Build a portfolio: This is essential. Build a Costume Portfolio, get in touch with costume designers and ask if you can shadow them on productions.

Get work experience: Try to get work experience by writing to local production companies and asking if they offer any internships.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Makeup Artist

Also known as: Key Makeup Artist

What does a Makeup Artist do?

A Makeup Artist is responsible for transforming people’s appearance via makeup, paint, and other substances (putty, silicon, fake blood, etc.)

The Makeup Artist usually works with Directors and performers in order to determine the desired appearance of each character. They often examine sketches, photographs, and other references from Concept Artists to get inspiration for the desired look. They read and analyze scripts in order to determine the necessary makeup and changes depending on different scenes and settings.

Some Makeup Artists also specialize in doing Special FX Makeup, which can include everything from putting a prosthetic nose on an actor’s face to creating fake wounds or a ghoulish monster mask.

What's a Makeup Artist good at?
  • Communication

    Be clear with clients regarding specific requirements and concerns.

  • Drawing

    Be able to sketch design ideas.

  • Teamwork

    Make sure all members of the makeup team are on the same page creatively.

  • Visual Perception

    Keep in mind lighting, colors, and the photographic process.

  • Health and Safety

    Maintain an awareness of health and safety guidelines that need to be followed.

  • Research

    You’ll want to stay on top of the latest kits, products, and tools.

  • Time management

    Make sure your work is done on time so that the production can meet deadlines.

Who does a Makeup Artist work with?

The Makeup Artist works closely with the Costume Designer, Production Designer and Director in order to create a look for each actor that best captures the character.

How do I become a Makeup Artist?

Here are some tips:

Take a makeup course: Improving your skills means getting an education. This is where beauty school comes in – there, you’ll learn the skills and techniques necessary to be successful in the beauty industry.

Build your portfolio with makeup photos and other visual effects: Like any artist, your portfolio shows what you’re capable of. Use attractive visual effects to highlight all the things you can do. For a high-quality, professional look, be sure to take the best photos.

Learn new makeup styles and trends: Stay curious and understand the latest trends and technologies, and practice them to enhance your skills.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

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Hair Stylist

What does a Hair Stylist do?

The Hair Stylist is part of the Hair & Make-up department and reports directly to the Key Hair Stylist. The Key Hair Stylist is the head of the hair department and collaborates with the Director, Production Designer, and Key Make-up Artist to create unique designs that complement the overall look of the film.

They begin working full-time on designs long before the film begins production and before additional Hair Stylists are hired to join the crew on set. They may also be in charge of any wigs required & on a larger set, this is usually handled by the Hair Stylist specifically assigned to the wig-wearing actor. They are in charge of the hair look for everyone on screen, which can involve designing and execution, including hiring a hair team to cover every actor and extras.

What's a Hair Stylist good at?
  • Hair

    Be adept in the craft of cutting and colouring, wigs, extensions, and beards.

  • Hair history

    Know the story of hair throughout the ages, be able to research.

  • Styling

    Understand the Director’s vision, know what that means for hair, have a good eye for the look.

  • Communication

    Share the vision of the style with team members, be the liaison between the Director and the rest of the team, put actors at ease.

  • Organization

    Break down a script into hair requirements, schedule the hair needs, manage the team, budget, and daily call sheet.

Who does a Hair Stylist work with?

The Hair Stylist will work closely with the Production Designer and the hair and makeup team to deliver on the Director’s vision.

How do I become a Hair Stylist?

Many colleges provide diploma programmes in hairstyling, where health and safety issues, professional ethics, communication skills, and entrepreneurial practices are taught alongside the skills of haircutting, styling, and colouring. Hairstyling is a skilled trade, so an apprenticeship is often required. There are always new styles and trends to follow, so keeping up-to-date is important too. Volunteering for small theatre or film productions in high school is a great way to start applying your skills in hairdressing within the setting of the performing arts.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Special Effects Makeup Artist

Also known as: SFX Makeup Artist

What does a Special Effects Makeup Artist do?

A Special Effects Makeup Artist (SFX) is a specialized member of the Makeup team responsible for creating specialized makeup effects such as abrasions, bloody wounds, deformities, bruises, supernatural beings, zombies, etc. They use different materials to create prosthetics, which are fake additions to the actors body to make them appear this way. In some situations a SFX Makeup Artist might also be responsible for creating an “aged” look. Depending on the script, they estimate the time and cost of making prosthetics and create bald caps, prosthetic pieces, facial parts, and scars.

Mold-making, casting, applying and removing prosthetics, and working with common materials such as latex and silicone are their responsibilities. They must be skilled in procedures such as face and body aging, bald cap creation, and wound or scar creation. Normally, they will use make-up artists and assistants to apply the prosthetics to the actors themselves (which can take hours). They usually stay on set to make sure the prosthetic is in good working order.

They work closely with the rest of the Makeup team and the Prosthetics team to create these unique looks. They usually come equipped with their own kit.

What's a Special Effects Makeup Artist good at?
  • Makeup Techniques

    Must understand traditional makeup techniques, along with specialized makeup techniques.

  • Creativity

    A vivid imagination, as well as the ability to create and solve problems in novel ways, are required, along with the necessary technical skills and experience. Great design and interpretive skills, as well as the ability to comprehend a project's prosthetics requirements and implement them in both practical and imaginative ways.

  • Organization

    One SFX Makeup Artist might be responsible for dozens of looks on one production

  • Collaborating

    Works closely with several different departments to create a specific look

  • Research

    Must be able to research intricate details of wounds, abrasions and deformities in order to recreate the looks effectively

  • Working with materials

    Such as foam, latex, and silicone, as well as processes like mold-making and casting. Tattoos, false noses, wounds, and scars are all common prosthetics requirements.

Who does a Special Effects Makeup Artist work with?

A SFX Makeup Artist works closely with the Costume, Makeup and Hair departments to assemble a whole look. They may take suggestions from the Production Designer over the severity of a look to fit in with the whole design. SFX Makeup Artists work closely with talent as well. They also work directly with actors.

How do I become a Special Effects Makeup Artist?

SFX Makeup Artists are trained through college, usually Cosmetology school, but this is not necessarily the only route to becoming a SFX Makeup Artist. You can also apprentice under a senior SFX Makeup Artist and learn the techniques this way. Keep a portfolio of all your looks to show potential gigs.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Costume Designer

What does a Costume Designer do?

A Costume Designer is a person who designs the look of the costumes and wardrobe for all of the cast on a film or TV show.

Costume is at the core of a film or TV production. As well as contributing to the overall look, specific clothing helps actors feel emotionally connected to the character they are playing.

Costume Designers design and create or purchase all costumes for the cast. The role of the Costume Designer is to create the characters’ outfits and balance the scenes using texture and colour. They may sew and construct the costumes from scratch, or source existing clothing that suits the look of the film. The Costume Designer may also collaborate with the hair and makeup departments.

They start by working with Directors, Producers, Writers, the Production Designer, and hair and makeup departments to help give the production a look that supports the storytelling. They research, sketch, and draw mood boards of characters and clothes to communicate the style.

They then break down the script, working out what they need to create or acquire. Working within tight budgets and deadlines, they recruit a team, organize a schedule of purchases and ensure the costumes are created on time for fittings. With the help of the team they schedule fittings and take photographs. These are then approved by the Producer and Director. They are also responsible for ensuring all materials used in the development or creation of the various costumes meet safety standards (for example, breakaway materials for easy on and off) and are within budget.

What's a Costume Designer good at?
  • Dressmaking and Tailoring

    Draw, sew, make and source clothes, including fabrics and accessories

  • Styling

    Understand the director’s vision, know what that means for the costumes, know what styles suit different people best and create the right looks with flair and creativity, have an eye for detail

  • Costume History

    Know contemporary fashion and clothing design through the ages, be able to research using books, museums and the internet

  • Storytelling

    Understand how a story can be told through garments and colour palette

  • Making Clothes

    Have an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of garment production

  • Organization

    Break down a script into costume requirements, schedule the costume production, manage the team and the budget

  • Communication

    Share the vision of the costume design with team members, listen to actors and respond to their needs, be trusted, and have good relationships with designers, PR (public relations), and brands who may supply clothing in current styles, as well as hair and make-up artists

Who does a Costume Designer work with?

Costume Supervisor or Background Costume Supervisor
Supervisors oversee the day-to-day use of the wardrobe on set and plan for the coming days or weeks. This includes organizing schedules, transport and checking continuity. They may be required to organize and arrange costume purchases. A very important role of the costume supervisor is to oversee the washing and repair of the costumes, as they are often heavily used throughout the day and start to wear and tear. Costume Designers spend most of their time in their own department, creating, sourcing, adjusting and maintaining outfits.

Costume Design Assistant
Costume Design Assistants work with Costume Designers to break down the script and assess the costume needs of every character. They research costume styles, designs and construction methods using the internet, archives and museums. They work on the department budget, estimating costs of staff and resources, can be involved in sourcing and buying costumes, accessories and fabric swatches. They may oversee fittings or be given responsibilities for taking specific actors’ measurements. They may also be in charge of costuming the supporting artists under the guidance of the costume designer.

Costume Maker/Sewer
Costume Makers create the garments. Starting with the designer’s specifications, Costume Makers cut the fabric and sew the costumes. Sometimes they make a rough version first. It’s a creative role because it involves interpreting the vision. Costume makers also fit the costumes on the actors and alter the garments as required.

How do I become a Costume Designer?

Costume designers typically start as costume trainees and work their way up through the ranks of the department outlined above. Some have experience working with costumiers and others come from theatre or dressmaking.

Get an internship: Internships are jobs with training, so they are a great opportunity to earn as you learn. It might be worth looking for a job as an apprentice in an industry that uses similar skills, such as being a tailor for a clothing designer or tailoring company.

Build a portfolio: Create a portfolio of the work you have done. This could include design sketches, photos of costumes you made, or past work experience in the field. This will be used to show off your work to new job opportunities.

Meet people in the industry: Reach out into the industry and express your interest. You can meet some people you could potentially shadow and create a working relationship with.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Costume Supervisor

Also known as: Wardrobe Supervisor

What does a Costume Supervisor do?

The Costume Supervisor is the head of the costume department. They oversee all aspects of the department including management of dressers, designers, assistants and fitters. Other duties include buying wardrobe and costume pieces, designing and repairing costumes.

Costume Supervisors keep everything shipshape in the ‘costume or wardrobe department’ and thrive on being organized. Working to the Costume Designer’s plans, they coordinate the work of the department, work out what clothes and accessories need to be made, hired or bought, what staff are needed and where. They also organize storage and supervise the tasks that need doing to ensure all work is done to schedule and budget.

Costume Supervisors work with the Costume Designer to ensure costumes or outfits are of the standard they require, ready and prepared in time for fittings, rehearsals, and shooting. During filming, they supervise continuity of outfits, the cleaning, maintenance and any repairs or adjustments. When filming is over, they supervise any cleaning, repairing and returns.

What's a Costume Supervisor good at?
  • Organization

    Schedule the costume production or hire, maintenance, repairs and adjustments, oversee the department budget and the petty cash

  • Leadership

    Manage large teams of people with different skills and responsibilities, deliver costumes and outfits when required, meeting department and production deadlines

  • Communication

    Work well with others and have good relationships with designers, PR (public relations) and brands who may supply clothing or costumes, explain clearly to staff what’s expected of them

  • Dressmaking and Tailoring

    Draw, sew, make and source clothes, including fabrics and accessories

  • Knowledge of Design

    Be aware of the history of design and costume, and have an understanding of colour, pattern and texture

Who does a Costume Supervisor work with?

A Costume Supervisor typically spends most of their time in their own department, overseeing the creating, sourcing, adjusting, maintenance, cleaning and repair of outfits. They work closely with the Costume Designer to ensure the team they manage makes the costumes or outfits the designer wants and will often work with the same designer on all their big productions. They may work closely with the hair and make-up team, particularly if wigs are required.

Costume Supervisors have regular updates with the production management team regarding budgets and schedules. They have contact with members of editorial and production to ensure all needs are being met.

How do I become a Costume Supervisor?

Costume Supervisors usually start out working as trainees or assistants in the costume department and work their way up. A background in fashion or costume production is helpful.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.