Chloe’s Blog Trainee On “The Good Liar.”
I started studying at Christine Blundell Make-Up Academy in September last year. I have always been fascinated by make up, growing up my family were working in the industry and I was fortunate enough to visit sets when I was younger. I was eager to follow in my dads footsteps and join the film industry. I heard about CBMA and it’s four month course and was interested by how many different skills were taught by current artist working in the industry.
My experience at Christine Blundell Make-Up Academy was incredible, we got taught so much for example, hair dressing, I had never picked up scissors to cut someone’s hair before but with the right guidance I accomplished my first hair cut thanks to our teacher Danny DeFreitas. Prosthetics was taught by Dan Frye and Ian Morse. I’ve always been inspired by doctor who, so it was great to be able to learn from special effects artists who have actually worked on that show.
While at CBMA, the course it quite intense but a great training and learning experience. You become a family with the people on your course as you’re working with each other everyday. All of the students on my course, including myself graduated in December and have all been working on student films and other projects since.
I was lucky enough this year to be picked to be part of Christine’s team and be their trainee on the make up bus on her latest film ‘The Good Liar’ starring Ian Mckellen and Helen Mirren. My daily duties on this film consist of; setting hair and applying wigs to stand ins, continuity photographs, doing a crowd line up, looking after extras, blocking wigs, time sheets, setting up work stations, packing up and down the bus, washing hair, making teas and coffees etc. Christine has a lovely team including Lesa, Chloe and Scarlett, who have been with her for years. They all made me feel very at home and I’m throughly enjoying my time on this film, I don’t want it to end. I’m very thankful to Chrissy for this opportunity.
Also what’s great about Christine Blundell Make-Up Academy is that all the past graduates get paid days work experience on Chrissy’s film. So on large crowd days on this production we’ve had some trainees in from my course and the course that graduated in April.
Before starting at CB*MA I had always dreamed of working as a Makeup artist but had no idea how to get into the industry. I looked around various different schools but decided CB*MA was the one for me. I came for the open day which was fantastic, Petar and Zorica made me feel really comfortable and welcome and this was one of the main reasons I chose the school; I knew it would be the best environment for me to learn in.
The course was such a blast, I learnt so much and more than anything gave me the confidence to feel like I could start my journey in the makeup world. It gives you the practical skills you need to start your career. And I would highly recommend this to any budding makeup artists. You are constantly supported by the tutors, Petar and Zorica. They have set up the school with open doors, past students are regularly in helping out and borrowing any kit they may need for a job. It was so lovely being able to speak to people from past courses and find out about different experiences and get any advice they may have. I didn’t expect to feel so supported by all my peers, and I really feel like I’ve made some friendships for a lifetime.
After finishing the course I was sent an opportunity from a student I was on the course with, I worked a day in a West end theatre, the company then asked me to stay on for the full 6 weeks! Opportunities are constantly sent to you throughout and after the course, and after you graduate. You couldn’t ask for a better head start into the industry.
Hi, my names Lisa and graduated from Christine Blundell Makeup Academy in December 2018.
I live in a little village in the middle of know where in Nottinghamshire, I have two girls, horses, dogs,and cats!
Certainly a far cry from the London lifestyle.
I began my career many years ago working mainly in customer relations and also studying and practicing holistic therapies.
I have never really felt satisfied in my career choices but could not put my finger on exactly what I wanted to do, I’ve always had a love for make up which has intensified as I’ve got older and had to adapt to my skin changes. I’ve also enjoyed hair for many years which started with plating my pony when I was young to doing my daughter’s hair.
The idea to do this course first came about after watching my favourite TV programme, “Peaky Blinders”, which was set in the 1920’s. I absolutely loved the way the programme had been produced, it was stunning and I was desperate to become part of it except how I was unsure! I began to research courses on TV and Film and the search kept bringing CBMA up in my results, I did lots of review checks and all of them said nothing but good things about them.
I was very nervous to contact the Academy at first as I was a couple of months shy of my 40th birthday and felt like I would be to old to make a name for myself in the industry, I emailed Petar and he quickly responded with a wonderfully cheerful reply that put me completely at ease. He suggested that I came to a Taster course at the Academy to get a feel for the place.
I went in June 2018 and had a amazing day being taught by Stephanie Smith, a highly skilled and active Make up and hair artist who had also been a student at CBMA. Along side her was a current student and a past student who came in to chat with us, and the lovely Simone who is a past student and active artist who looked after us students on the course.
We did some practice with burns and cuts on the day and there was a Q&A afterwards.
Everyone was very passionate and honest about the industry which was very refreshing, and no pressure was put on you to commit to anything.
I knew straight away after that day I loved it! I thought about nothing else which is a very good sign !
I contacted Petar and enrolled on the September course and was advised on a few books and things to practise in the meantime. I have had so much help and support with accommodation and travel which has been invaluable to me, since I had a long distance to travel and had life commitments.
The CBMA 4 Month course was a complete whirlwind and the best thing I’ve ever done. We started with Basic make up with the lovely Lisa Halstead and have progressed through period, fashion and face painting techniques with Maria Malone.
There is a lot of information to take in and it is tiring but my love for it and the vibe at the Academy kept me going, you get so much guidance and it is by far the most friendly down to earth environment I have ever worked in. My age has never made me feel inferior to my younger counterparts and the people I have had the pleasure to be taught by have been very inspiring and full of information to share.
After graduating at CBMA I spent a week at the Birmingham REP theatre, after which I spent 5 weeks working as a Makeup Trainee on the latest HBO TV Series “Nevers”, after which I got a phone call from one of my CBMA Tutors asking me to join her on her latest project “Discovery of Witches” – I am still on the same project thoroughly enjoying my work!
“Starting at Christine Blundell Makeup Academy was a big risk for me. I was in my late 20’s and already had a degree and work experience in another industry. I never felt satisfied in my work having always dreamed of being a makeup artist. I decided to test the waters and do the CB*MA taster day to see if it was something I could do and would enjoy. I would highly recommend anyone thinking about starting the course to do this day! It gave great insight into the things you might be expected to do and also showed me how much I would love to do it as a day job.
The whole experience at CB*MA from start to finish was wonderful. Petar and Zorica are extremely caring and it is a very nurturing environment. You really learn from the best in the industry and are fully trained for outside work when you finish. The idea of working on a film set can be quite nerve-wrecking but the standard of training and insider tips you gain from your tutors at this school means you are fully prepared when you start out.
Since finishing CB*MA in August 2018, I have since worked as a trainee on “Aladdin” (the work experience granted directly from the Academy) and a new Fast & Furious franchise, “Hobbs & Shaw”. I was asked to come back to this as a daily trainee on many occasions. I also worked on a variety of short films, taking the role as Makeup designer. I have been involved in fashion shoots as makeup artist for Fendi Streetwear, Nike x Maharishi, musicians Anteros and The Ninth Wave as well as assisting on a Nike shoot with Olympic gymnasts and a Bodyshop campaign. I am now working on a contract basis as a Trainee for a new Marvel film (this was awarded to me through Screen Skills Trainee Finder scheme to which I applied last year, with a help from CB*MA).
Without CB*MA I would never have been able to gain the skills and confidence to achieve my dreams and make it in such a tough industry. Thank you all endlessly!”
Jordan was brought in very last minute as our initial MUA became progressively less responsive to our emails then disappeared completely 3 days before the shoot. Jordan was wonderful and cool with a good attitude and did a really good job on the hair and make up design. When she could not get two of the days off work she found us another MUA to cover who was just as professional. We would definitely work with either of them again and would recommend them highly to others.
Goldsmiths University Film School
It’s lovely to hear from you all at CBMA and now with your newsletter it will be nice to keep up to date with everything that is going on, it has been a while since I personally was in touch.
Since leaving my course in 2012, I have been lucky enough to dip my toe in all genres but the majority of my work over the last few years has been in theatre, I started out as a swing on We Will Rock You, in the West End and from there I got work on the Edinburgh leg of Lion King (tour), where I relocated back to Scotland and since have worked on various productions with Scottish Opera, worked on the Mamma Mia (tour) and last year finished a years contract covering maternity with Birmingham Royal Ballet, where we toured the UK, America and Japan.
Due to unforeseen personal circumstances I have had to take a bit of a break the last 6 months but look forward to now getting back into my career and seeing where the next venture takes me.
I can’t thank everyone at the academy enough for the amazing training and support we were given, it really helped me tremendously.
Much Love to everyone.
Since graduating from CBMA Andrea Lance Jones has given me some great opportunities to work in the crowd room such as Transformers, Christopher Robin and the Fast And The Furious. I have also had the privilege to work with Melanie Lenihan on Hope Gap…. an amazing experience and so grateful.
I am looking forward to seeing what this year brings in 2019 I wish to thank CBMA the makeup academy for creating a new pathway to my career.
Thank you Petar, I will pop in for a coffee soon,
Look forward to see you soon,
Gold star testimonial
2018 has been very eventful; first half of the year was spent working on a feature with Gary Oldman and Jessica Alba…where I met now said Fiancé
2nd half of the year I’ve spent designing my first feature, it’s called Rise of the Foot soldier: Marbella, it’s a Bristish gangster film so it has a niche audience. My driving instructor Neil from Bethnal Green loves the films. And yes, we did quite a bit of filming in Marbs. I’ve never been before, it’s quite the cultural experience
One exciting point was when we recreated a boxing match that happened in 1995, this was filmed in London, however.
When I haven’t been designing, I’ve been working as a swing on Lion King with Becky and Danielle with two more CBMA grads!! you have to be fast in applying the makeups before the show starts and then in the right place at the right time during the performance for quick changes. It’s all so exciting.
At the moment I’m prepping for the last bit of filming which starts beginning of February.
Miss you Pete! I need to swing by and say hello
My fantastic experience on the Royal Academy of Music musical “The sweet smell of success “
This experience has given me the opportunity to fulfill a dream which was to work on a theatre production. I never thought that my first experience in theatre world will be a musical and on top of that, set in 1950s!!! It was amazing!! I did films, tv series,commercials, events in the past, but never had the opportunity to work in theatre world or opera. My colleague Simone, also a former student at CBMA Academy, made my dream come true by asking me to be part of her amazing team: Chloe, Chris, Emalee and Sophie, all graduates and students at CBMA. The job consisted of creating the 1950s look, including hair and makeup for 16 performers in just 2 hours! We had 2 shows a day: the matinee and the evening show. We had 2 hours for getting the actors ready in the morning and just 1 hour in the evening. We did french pleats, curles, pony tails, covered tattoos, styled men’s hair, gold tooth for a character and a lot of other cool stuff!! Karen Dawson, who was my tutor at CBMA helped and guided us in designing the looks which was very nice and helpful.
There is a rapid rhythm in the theatre world so the time is limited, hair and makeup must be set in a certain way as our performers wore hats, besides acting they were also dancing, had a lot of quick changes having very little time for touch ups! Never knew that a quick change in theatre world means actor changes costume, hair, makeup, props behind the curtain in 30 seconds.Whaaaat?? Amazing!! It was a fantastic , challenging experience where i learned so many things, not only hair and makeup wise! I loved being part of such a great makeup team, we all worked hard but at the same time had a lot of fun and everything went smoothly!! Actors were amazing and professional and friendly and fun! Theatre world really fascinates me!! I am very very grateful for this experience!!
Thank you!! Olimpia
I hope you’ve been well! I just wanted to check in because it’s been a while!
I finished the Panto at the end of January, and moved back to Manchester, where I spent the next couple months doing mostly bridal work. I had one days work on the new Sky T.V. show ‘Bulletproof’, in February, where I met a couple of lovely make-up artists called Theresa Atkinson, and Molly Connors. Sam Marshall designed the series, but unfortunately she’d had some sort of emergency and wasn’t on set that day so I didn’t get to meet her. I was suppose to have a couple more days on the show, but the schedule changed and they no longer needed me after that.
I was starting to get a bit worried around April that I still didn’t have any real work lined up over the Summer months, so I actually booked a flight to Vietnam to go travelling for a couple months (a place I’ve always wanted to see and thought I might as well seeing as I now had the time!)
However, days after I booked my flight (of course), I got a text from Theresa asking me to send over my C.V. for a 3 month trainee job on a new T.V. show. And following that I was offered an interview with Sam Marshall the next week – so I did get to meet her in the end! Theresa and Molly were also at the interview as part of the team, and the next day they offered me the job! So of course I accepted, quickly changed my flight, and will be moving to Leeds in a week to start my first ever main team trainee job! It’s an Agatha Christie drama set in the 30’s – Very excited
I’ve seen some photos from the new group at CBMA – photos looking excellent as always! I’ll keep you updated on how the job is going!
Netflix sci-fi series
In the next few months I will start working on a Netflix sci-fi series that is using a cast and crew of unknowns. I was brought on board by the director who I met on the first project I ever worked on. She was a director at Goldsmiths and we have stayed in touch ever since. So, it really proves that every contact matters.
I worked with the creative director, who is also the writer to design the looks for the teaser and the pilot. We are currently in pre production for the full series which they hope to make 5 in total. We hope to start filming in Ireland in the next few months. So I will keep you updated ?
Amy Coates MUA
My recent work experience on Channel 4’s “The Windsors”
It was an amazing couple of days. My main job was to be in the crowd room with 2 other Makeup artists who I found out were graduates of CB*MA from a few years back; both work in TV a lot. We were looking after all the supporting actors and doing their checks on set. I also got to go and help out in the green room with the main cast, pinning the actors’ hair back up in between takes so the curls didn’t drop. Once we had wrapped filming, I went to help de-rig on the main bus. I met another CB*MA graduate there, too. I am amazed at how many CB*MA graduates I come across when I am on jobs; it’s very reassuring as a new CB*MA graduate.
Whilst on the main bus I helped to clean wigs ready for the next day and the MUA brushes and generally just helping out where I could. On the last day of filming we packed up the main unit bus, cleaned and packed wigs and facial hair to go back to the suppliers. And production brought everyone an Easter egg. I really enjoyed my experience on the Windsors and I learnt so much whilst I was there. I was made to feel so welcome and I really felt like part of the team even though I was only there for a couple of days. I’ve been busy since the work experience, I’ve just done 2 short films, I have a theatre show coming up where I will be department head for the hair and makeup, plus this week I am doing some prosthetics on Artemis Fowl! It’s so exciting!
My recent job on CBBC’s children’s series Marrying Mum & Dad
It was my first major TV job and it was amazing, I really enjoyed it! I was one of 2 Makeup artists working on this CBBC show (the other Makeup artist was Megan, who is a recent CB*MA graduate, too). We were doing both hair and makeup which involved a change half way through the day. This work was my first experience of working on TV – I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to exploring more work in the TV industry in the future.
Fresh impressions from “Lion King” Makeup room by Becky, one of our recent graduates
One of the lessons we learnt at CBMA from Christine was “always do your research”. When I was asked to interview for The Lion King, I googled the relevant head of department to discover she requests interviews to complete a “Rafiki” makeup test. So I practised on my boyfriend a few times to practise the shapes, angles and speed.
The interview consisted of a review of my CV plus the makeup test. Having 30 minutes, I completed on time, happy with the result, given the pressure!
The days seemed to drag as I waited, but finally I received the call saying I was offered the job.
On my first day, I walked into the makeup room, everyone was busy washing pots and refilling them with paint. Each performer has their own pot for each animal they play, most people have 2 animals each, which means there are 50-plus pots to change every week. All of the paint colours and combinations are known off by heart for each performer by the makeup assistants.
I was introduced to Jen who was teaching me the Mufasa and Pumba track. There is a list that comes around everyday to say which performers are off and who will be covering them. This will determine whose makeup and wigs we will have to preset.
I learnt the preset which happens everyday when you arrive to set up for the show. This includes dressing the Pumba wig, a huge black mohican wig made out of yak hair, with lots of gel spray to make sure there are no stray hairs that could get into the actor’s eyes. As the actor’s hands are on the puppet at all times, he can’t get hairs out of his face!
Then an hour before the show, I watched Jen make up Muffasa. She gave me tips and what to look out for while she did it. Most principle makeups are a mixture of grease paint and water based paint. A lot of powder is pressed into the grease paint so it does smudge. Each makeup is about 30 to 40 minutes for principles and they need to be finished on time so they can get their costume on and the show can start on time. So time keeping is very important!
After the first round of principle makeups, the children who play young Simba and Nala are getting theirs done as well as ensemble coming in for theirs. Ensemble makeup is very minimal compared to the principle characters. We use pre made rubber stamps to create the shapes and brushes to add extra details. The paint is water based they can remove it quickly with a hot towel for quick changes.
Once all the beginner performers are ready, some makeup assistants will stay in the makeup room while the second round of performers come in and the others will go down to the stage level and have a series of cues to follow during the show. This includes taking off wigs, handing out hot towels, doing lioness makeups, checking and retouching makeups on principles. Some of these cues will happen in the wings side of stage, which is great as you can see the show for a few minutes!
When I first followed Jen, I felt like it was so hectic, with costumes, puppets and performers everywhere. It felt like a maze and I couldn’t find my way out, but after a week I knew where I was going. When you repeat the same cues everyday, it becomes second nature.
After a few shows watching and learning, I got to practice the makeup on a swing performer. A swing is someone that can replace a performer if they are too ill or injured to carry on the show, so they are usually in the building on call in case that happens. I practised the makeup once and the next show I was doing it for real.
It took me about 2 weeks to learn all the makeup for Mufasa, Pumba and the cues throughout the show. Once I was confident on that track, I started to learn Rafiki and Nala track. Learning Rafiki has been the hardest one so far. The main actress has been on holiday so nearly every day I would have a different performer. This meant I had to adapt the shapes of the makeup for different faces. It”s been great for me to really look at each face and decide what needs to be done to suit that face.
I love doing the Nala makeup! It”s a beauty makeup with a theatrical twist. It”s great for me to practise my eyeliner and lipliner everyday – something I used to struggle with! But also I get to do a pretty tribal look with the lion “shield” and flowers. The “shield” is an orange oval shape around the face that the lions have.
My first few months have been full of learning and it”s so exciting to be a part of such an iconic show. Once I”ve learnt all the characters, 3 more to go, it will be great to do a different track every week as each character has their own techniques which will help me in the future!
A thank you note from CB*MA graduate Nadine Keiser
Dear Chris, thank you so much for having me on “Aladdin” and for trusting me with all your trainees.
And thank you for CB*MA. When I came to London I tried for two years to get my foot in the door. It did not work out. But thanks to CB*MA and the supporting Aftercare, I found new work all over London.
I still have wonderful memories of CB*MA and also from all the films I was lucky enough to work on. All thanks to the people I met at and through CB*MA.
I hope all the rest of the adventure goes well.
Thank you for everything xx Nadine
Click here to view Nadine’s Imdb profile to see other films she has worked on (The Mummy, Wonder Woman, Assassin’s creed and many more)
Latest from ITV2 sitcom spoof spy action-thriller “Action Team” from our graduate Heather
Just a catch up…
I recently completed my first trainee job under the direction of Christine Cant, on ITV2 show “Action Team.”
Using the skills I learnt at the academy, really helped me in the work that I was asked to do on set.
I found the work incredibly exciting, particularly to be working on a fast moving TV set. I worked closely with all members of the make-up crew and assisted with make-up, wigs and hairpieces, ensuring that the looks were consistent with the design direction as required. It was heavy going and very busy at times, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would happily keep it up as my career.
That’s it for now talk soon….Heather.
The Final Word On Project ‘Peterloo’ from our graduate Kathleen Garbutt
Peterloo has wrapped now, and while it’s been amazingly fun, it’s also been hard work and I’ve learnt a lot!
On top of the usual trainee jobs like setting up stations, cleaning brushes, doing drink/snack and meal runs and running errands, we’ve needed to know what’s coming up in the weeks to come and sort arrangements for the crowd supervisor (the lovely Claire Matthews!)
There’s a lot of paperwork involved and we’ve needed to anticipate issues in advance, keep track of stock and spending, as well as organise continuity for all crowd scenes. I’ve learnt that a good relationship with costume makes for a much smoother ride, and that a car and a laptop are pretty crucial!
Hannah, my wonderful work wife, and I were lucky enough to do makeup almost every day on “Peterloo”, and experience first hand what several crew members referred to as ‘proper film making’ with Mike Leigh. Everyone was lovely – the crew feels like a second family on a film like this, and the experience has been incredible, but what has prepared me most for working on “Aladdin’ has been learning about the paperwork…
Oh, and no matter how long the hours are and how tired you are you have to keep on top of it all as well as keep smiling! On “Peterloo” the last bit was easy 🙂
Hot off the press our latest update from graduate Holly Caddy…
Since leaving cbma I have been very lucky to be working on many big films, tv shows and have also branched out into commercials and editorial work. I worked straight away after graduating I had my work experience on ‘Wonder Woman” and then my first job was working on “Allied” with Brad Pitt, and then on another film; “Fantastic Beastsand Where to Find Them” with Eddie Redmayne.
I have loved the variety of projects and periods i have worked on. I’ve done commercials and weddings and loved the people I have met and worked with, and the warm welcome I have received from everyone.
I am now working on the feature film, “Victoria and Abdul” with Judy Dench in some amazing locations from Scotland to the Isle of Wight.
CBMA gave me a wonderful start teaching me good all round skills and having a strong hair background already, proved to be very important, which has given me a massive head start in my film career. CBMA helped me to begin creating the contacts that have lead me to meet many of the people that have since employed me and enter a whole new world of hair and makeup.
I love my job, I love being in control of what I do and every day being different and exciting.
Travel is also a massive perk and seeing amazing locations!
Just another quick update as I often think of you and CBMA when exciting things happen!
It seems your advice on getting hair experience before joining CBMA was one of the best pieces of advice I will have ever been given!
As you know I’ve been working as a Swing in the wig department at Matilda the Musical, and have now been there for over a year – I even have a fellow CBMA graduate as my boss!!. Now the exciting this is, to top that off, I’ve gone and landed a job at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory too! Woohoo!
I never thought I would be working in the west end, let alone achieved this at the age of 21, but couldn’t have done it without spending those gruelling hours at a salon, sweeping, cutting and washing hair.
Now, I’ve promised Christine that I would one day have an oscar just like her, but I’m afraid she’ll have to settle for an Olivier as I’ve truly found my place in the theatre world.
Couldn’t be happier with where this life is taking me but can only thank you for being apart of it Petar!
All my love to you and Christine,
I can’t believe only a year has gone by since starting my course at CB*MA- it’s been such an exciting time and I have been very lucky to get work on a huge range of projects.
It was amazing to finish the course and go straight on to Christine’s film ‘Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur’ as a daily trainee in the crowd room- an incredible learning curve to see how a crowd room is run on a big blockbuster and to meet so many hair and makeup artists who were so generous with their time, offering guidance and being able to watch the skill and speed in which they work was invaluable. It was also lovely to connect with former CB*MA students who showed me what can be achieved with hard work and perseverance, as well as building friendships that have led to further work.
Most of my jobs since has been TV based- BBC1’s ‘Walliams and Friends’ with Joanna Lumley and David Walliams, BBC1’s ‘The Incredible Adventures of Professor Brainestawm’ with Harry Hill, reshoots on BBC2’s ‘London Spy’ with Ben Whishaw and Jim Broadbent, Dave’s ‘Hoff the Record’ with The Hoff himself, as well as dailies on Channel 4’s ‘Catastrophe’, BBC2’s ‘A Gurt Lush Christmas’ and looking after Martin Freeman for ‘Britain’s Favourite Children’s Books’.
I have also had quite a lot of dailies on Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ which has come about through lovely Liv Barningham, another former CB*MA student who I met on ‘Arthur’ (she was one of the main crowd trainees). It’s so good to be part of the CB*MA community as they really help each other out and want others to share in their success! I’ve worked with many other former CB*MA students on almost every job I’ve been on and I can honestly say all have been supportive and tried to help me with my skills or got me further work. This again shows how great the school’s network is, as well as getting people out there and working within the industry at every level.
I’ve now just started on a film as crowd trainee for a 1940’s film directed by Robert Zemekis (‘Forrest Gump’, ‘Castaway’, ‘Back to the Future’), makeup designer Daniel Phillips and crowd supervisor Beverley Binda. I’m so excited and feel very lucky to be on this film project as I’m learning something new every day and it’s an amazing opportunity to work on such a fantastic makeup team! I feel very grateful to CB*MA for their help and support all through this past year and would recommend the school to anyone who is committed and serious about pursuing a career in the industry- it’s tough, but CB*MA is the best place to start.