Vancouver Film School: Production, Animation, Game Design, Acting and more

Career Paths - Makeup Design for Film & Television

The Makeup for Film & Television program grants students the skills they need to excel in a variety of professional makeup fields. The jobs and/or fields we specifically train for are detailed below.

Head of Department (HOD) or Key Makeup Artist

Depending upon the size of the production, a HOD, or Key makeup artist may manage an entire makeup team or, in fact, be the only makeup artist on the crew. In either case, a key makeup artist's duties include the logistics related to shooting a production; hiring other artists, delegating the duties of those other artists and Makeup Assistants; budgeting for, and acquiring materials, collaborating with production crew in support of issues like scheduling; and the creative elements - ultimately the realization of the script's characters according to the director's vision. Most are actively involved in applying any cosmetic or decorative elements that support that character's 'look' directly onto a performer's body or face, including beards, wounds and bald caps. If adequately trained, a head makeup artist may also handle all of the other positions listed on this page.

Special Makeup Effects Designer

Special makeup effects (MKPFX) and prosthetics are essentially anything three-dimensional that is created to simulate the appearance of, or the effect of, synthetic anatomy - whether human, or not. The implementation of the director's concepts via appliances made of synthetic materials - crafted on the 'lifecast' of the performer, and subsequently glued or attached directly to a cast member's skin, are the responsibilities of the MKPFX Designer. In addition, 'effects' constructs can be used to drastically alter the appearance of an actor, including the addition of limbs, alterations to the skeletal frame, or the entire re-creation of that actor, for example, anatomically correct duplicate bodies. Often, this person also owns and operates a 'MKPFX Shop', and has been granted the contract for the manufacture and delivery of these special creations for the production.

Special Makeup Effects Fabricator

The hands-on 'fabricating' of MKPFX elements as used on a film set by the on-set production artists is done by these unsung heroes who have made the choice to live a lifestyle with more normal hours. As close to a 'real job' - at least from the standpoint of hours worked - as there can be in film and television production, the fabricator also reports to the same location everyday - the MKPFX 'Shop' - where sculpting, making molds, running' foam latex and detailing appliances and props are the order of the day.


An expert wig-maker specializes in constructing false hairpieces and wigs out of synthetic, animal, or, frequently, human hair, and if desired, the result when styled and applied correctly to the actor can be invisible on-screen. Like a makeup artist, the wigmaker may also design and construct beards, moustaches, eyebrows, or special hair effects like fur, bristles, or whiskers, and derive great satisfaction when no one notices their work at all. The creations delivered to a set by the wigmaker are applied directly to the actors by the hairstylist, or, in the case of facial hair, the makeup artist.

Fashion & Beauty Makeup Artist

Fashion show runways, print advertising and editorial shoots are common work habitats for the Fashion & Beauty Makeup Artist. The analysis and delivery of current trends, and the collaboration with individual clients that can include advertising agencies, photographers, models, celebrities and anyone willing to consult an expert in order to improve their appearance and empower themselves in their personal or work life are responsibilities assumed in this position.