View Full Version : Hiring Make-Up Artists?

02-18-2008, 09:17 AM
I am opening up my first haunt this october.
i have grown out of the phase of using masks, only if they are really detailed. lol
And i am moving towards make-up and prosthetics/fx.
Since i have no experience what so ever in that field of haunting.
Should i hire a local make-up artist? i would like the best effect possible.
Would this be worth it?
Also i am a theme that would need color blending for make-up.
Please Comment!


02-18-2008, 11:22 AM
Troy , having a talented FX artist, doing the makeup at your haunt is the difference between having a Great Haunt and having a ok haunt.
Find a Artist that is willing to come in and do FX along with one who is willing to teach your actors how to do it themselves...... Dont wait until September 15th and decide that you need a FX artist, find him Now and start getting your Actors together for FX classes......... while you have them there for FX training utilize the time to work on the characterization skills, work on their scaretactics.......

Killer Katie
02-18-2008, 03:17 PM
Troy, Rob is 100% correct! A talented and qucik make up artist and one that can teach is crucial to the overall success of your haunt. I was the lead make up artist at my haunt for years and have learned a few things.
If you have a small cast, then taking the time and teaching your actors how to do their own would eleviate the need for several artists.
If you have a huge cast (like we did) and the actors had very limited talent (like we did) you need a make up artist team. Count on at least 1 artist for every 6 - 10 actors, depeding on the skill level, quickness of the artist and the level of difficulty of the make up you want.
I found it was helpful to get the artists together (or actors who are learning) and heave several training sessions. You'll see who has the "stuff" and who needs help pretty quickly. Also use the several make up "how to videos" that are out there. Our company, Evilusions has 2 - a basic and and "haunt quickies", and Bodybagging has at least 1 or 2 videos that feature many talented artists and have different degrees of difficulty.
Another word of advice, make sure that when you are looking for an artist, don't take their word for it. make sure they have a portfolio and they need to create a couple jobs while you watch. (I have been burned by those who say they have a lot of experience, but they could NOT deliver!)

02-18-2008, 04:52 PM
WOW the DONT TAKE THEIR WORD FOR IT comment struck home hard...... I remember a fellow that swore he was a FX artist and man oh man!

as for a portfolio, dont forget people can doctor those up as well, especially these days with the Internet and color printers.......
I will never be caught like that again!

02-18-2008, 09:40 PM
Both the above posters really have hit this topic right on...... IF you can find good FX makeup artist you will see it yourself when you notice how much better your actors act after they are done by a good artist. It really gets them in the right frame of mind to be haunting. In addition a good FX makeup artist with a haunt background will really work your actors and help them with their scare tactics. The chair talk is part of the gig.....

As for skill, I think you also need to keep in mind that there is a big difference between theater makeup and haunt FX makeup. Some people have great portfolios that just don't migrate well to the haunted house environment. We don't usually have two or three hours, with two artists, for a single actor. Though, I have to say I have seen some really cheesy work done by actors that looked incredible in low light. So, sometimes crap work just works....

Since Troy is new to this, what if he has to "build" his own FX makeup people? You guys have probably more time severed with the FX makeup work than me. What would you say is the best starter FX makeup style for a haunt?

Classic High Cheek Vampires and Monster - AKA Dick Smith book
Air Brush Template made monsters from a kit
Wolfe Brothers starter books
Fewer made actors but more key people in good prosthetics from say bodybagging or boneyardfx?
Something else?

02-19-2008, 09:58 AM
How do you best find these fx artists in your area? I know in Cali it would pretty simple to find them, but what about the mid-Atlantic?


Killer Katie
02-19-2008, 04:17 PM
Cross your fingers, click your heels three times, weed through the talentless people that answer your ads and LUCK into finding good ones. If you can't find them, find people who really want to learn and give them the tools to become good.

02-19-2008, 04:42 PM
Since I'm pretty much in the same boat with no experience in the field of make-up, how much is a good make-up artist worth? Do they just get payed minimum wage like actors? What would you say the average make-up artist would cost?

damon carson
02-19-2008, 05:19 PM
True you really cant beat good makeup and a talented artist to do it. But there are two sides to every coin. You will find starting out it is easier to go with good quality masks. Most major haunts do a 50/50 far as masks and makeup go. If you can learn more about doing your own makeup it would help too. Start out basic with cremes and just fake blood ect. Then go deeper with appliances and liquid latex ect when you get more experience. Go to the internet or buy books or videos on makeup. And go to your local costume shop if you have one and get some and just practice. Ask alot of questions w/them or on here and go from there. If you practice enough you might have enough time to do the basic makeup yourself by next season. Unless you really have the budget to afford a good makeup artist go for it. But keep in mind he wont have enough time to do all your actors. Just some things to think about. Good luck!

02-19-2008, 09:51 PM
If you are looking hit myspace, forums like this, thehma, Google and Yahoo groups, and start asking if anyone is interested. Just like anything else, start putting the word out you are looking. In Florida you may look for face painters and people who work the tourist scene. Guys like Nick and Brian Wolfe love the haunted house thing. Can you imagine running into them a few years before they get popular when they want to do your haunt just for the chair time.... damn....

On the masks thing it also helps to know who to mask. You can often tell the guys that are really weak or going to bolt 2 hours into the show. Don't waste the makeup on them just because they are a "makeup part". A good setup of masks can let you put your best actors in the scenes they are best in, and if they want a mask cool, if they want more, even better.

Killer Katie
02-20-2008, 03:28 PM
A fifty/fifty split between make up and masks is a great idea, especially if you don't have a strong makeup team. As for payment, you would gauge that on experience and what you're willing to pay for it. Always leave room to negotiate. The make up artist that had the most talent on my team was there because she loved doing it - so she was willing to go for less than someone "professional." She worked @ 15hrs/weekend for 5 weekends, and was happy with $300.00. If the person is doing this, this could be a guide - then if you find someone really worth more - you can adjust accordingly. Play up the fact that you'd supply the make-up, and if they have someone take pictures - they can create quite an extensive portfolio.
Check into local high schools, see if there are art students that want to expand, post flyers in the local areas that attract artists. 100% of the truly talented make up artists I know, are artistic in other venues. You may even want to check beauty school - there may be a lead or two there. (I've found that beauty make up easily translates to haunted house makeup by reversing the process and darkening the colors.)
Sorry I'm so wordy -I hope I'm helping!

02-20-2008, 03:57 PM
LOL for 300.00 Yeah I would say she loved doing it.....
The last Haunt I did FX for I charged 5000.00 for the season

02-20-2008, 05:33 PM
It my not be the most popular idea but I prefer to work for free. I have been paid and much prefer to work for a not-for-profit and get my materials as cost. Something about getting cash for what I enjoy to do on my own really isn't why I do makeup. I have a day job.... this is my fun time..... :D

Killer Katie
02-21-2008, 02:12 PM
Boy Rob.. you ARE high maintenence! LOL Of course you deserve it, as talented as you are, I just wish I had your negotiation skills! I am for hire this season, it would be nice to acquire that kinda cash!