How to become a special effects make-up artist

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If you love make-up or the idea of creating intricate and gory masks for friends on Halloween then becoming a special effects make-up artist may be for you. Working in film or TV, special effects make-up artists are responsible for the cool characters and creatures you see in many major films or on the small screen. It's a great career and one you may be able to call your own.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Start practicing on your family and friends. Be the person who applies all of the Halloween make-up and create masks for your friends. Offer to do the make-up for school plays and other productions. Rick Baker ("Planet of the Apes," "Gorillas in the Mist," "Men In Black") used to bake prosthetic limbs in the oven as a kid.

  2. 2

    Find a university that offers a specialization in stage make-up. Some of the better theater programs will offer a major or minor in stage make-up and most offer at least a series of classes.

  3. 3

    Work on your school's theatrical productions as a make-up artist and if your school has a film program offer to work on the student films as well. The more practice you have the better your skills will become as a special effects make-up artist.

  4. 4

    Secure an internship or apprenticeship as a make-up artist. Universities keep an extensive list of internships and apprenticeships so take the time to find one that interests you because the experience and contacts you make on these internships will be how you secure your first job.

  5. 5

    Go to workshops and conferences for theatrical and special effects make-up artists. This will act as a way for you to network with others in your field as well as keep you abreast of all of the new developments in the industry.

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