MAKUP founder Veronica McAleer is an internationally acclaimed, Oscar nominated and Emmy award winning Makeup and Hair Designer.

Veronica McAleer

Veronica McAleer


Veronica McAleer was recently working as part of the core team in the Crowd Hair and Makeup Department on Tim Burton’s live action remake of the classic Disney film ‘Dumbo’, starring Eva Green, Michael Keaton, Colin Farrell and Danny DeVito:]

Veronica talked with some top Junior Makeup Artists on the ‘Dumbo’ set, who have successfully made it through their two-year training period.

When working in film you are a Trainee for two years and then a Junior for three. So, in addition to your training, it takes 5 years of on-set experience to become a fully-fledged film hair and makeup artist (those in TV might progress a bit more quickly).

So, here are some Top Tips for how to be the perfect trainee in the Crowd Room:

  • When on set, stay in eye contact with the person in charge such as the team leader.
  • Make someone aware of where you are at all times, even when you go to the loo!
  • Familiarise yourself with new dailies when they come in.
  • Never have your back to the monitor when on set, watch what is happening the whole time.
  • Have your phone on silent but vibrate when you are on set. When back in the Crowd Room your phone must be switched on – the most important thing is that you are contactable at all times.
  • A smartwatch Is a very good investment, as it means you can see straight away if someone is trying to get hold of you.
  • At every moment you are your best advertisement, so always look busy – find a job to do, be one step ahead and preempt what needs to happen next. It’s better to identify what needs to be done, rather than to wait to be told what to do.
  • Even if you are busy, say yes to everything – within reason! Then look around and see if there is any other way you can help.
  • Use a notepad for notes and breakfast orders rather than your phone, otherwise it may look like you are just spending time on your mobile.
  • Do not be seen to be on your phone. Do not use social media or take photos of the set or actors.
  • Look practical and behave professionally at all times. Have short nails and do not be overly made-up – you don’t want to attract too much attention.
  • Try and be a “silent ninja” – blend in, but don’t lose your personality. You need to be personable and try not to “take over”.
  • Do not undercut someone, you are part of a team. You have to care about and support each other. If you can’t do a job, then offer it to a friend as it keeps the contact in the family!
  • Be honest about your capabilities, don’t say you can do something if you can’t. Even if you can do the task, make sure you listen if someone else is telling you how to do it or how you can improve it – you might find you learn a new trick.
  • If you don’t know something, say “I don’t know, but I will find out” and check with the trainee in charge, as there is a hierarchy of status on a film set.
  • Don’t be disheartened if you don’t use a make-up brush, though you will clean them. Refer to the contract trainee for a list of duties.
  • Do not directly contact the Crowd Supervisor, always go through the main trainee.
  • Avoid eye contact with famous people.
  • Don’t flirt, wear revealing clothes or chew gum!
  • Never underestimate the fact that someone is watching you at all times.

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