Success is dependent on effort! If you are on cloud nine every time you think of taking your makeup artistry, hair styling or wardrobe styling skills on the road, working in other cities and markets then working as a local is a great strategy to start with despite the logistics!
So what exactly does "working as a local" mean to you, a makeup artist, hair stylist or wardrobe stylist? It means you are working away from your home base and responsible for all expenses of getting to and from the job. Clients do not pay expenses. This means hotel, airfare, car rental, gas and parking are all on you. There are no per diems, no mileage reimbursements and no meals outside of what is served on set. After hearing this you might be thinking, what in the world would be the benefit then to working as a local? As these are the cons of accepting these types of jobs, there are many benefits to accepting them as well.
5 Advantages of Pursuing "Working as a Local" Gigs.
Working out of town, out of state and out of your home market not only expands your horizons but gives you more opportunities.
Maybe you love living in a smaller city but want more big city opportunities. Or you are a big city kid by nature and want to explore and see what else is out there.
You want to grow your network tremendously and connect with others all across the states and beyond.
You want to elevate your portfolio to show more depth, variety, diversity and geographical coverage.
You as an artist/stylist and as an individual want to grow personally. You want that feeling of empowerment as you navigate the path of working in other cities, states and abroad. Excited for the confidence, self-reliance and accomplishment you will feel.
You want directors, producers, photographers, companies and brands to take notice that you are available and working nationally and beyond.
*Bonus: Most of your expenses for this can be tax write-offs. Please always consult with an accountant.
The Logistics. . .what you need to consider to choose the opportunities that will work for you.
Start small. . .small as in what cities are within 2-3 hours of where you currently live. This eliminates many expenses and keeps you in the driver's seat of your own vehicle which will be comfortable when in a new area.
Now think who do you know in other cities and states? Family, friends or colleagues who are willing to let you stay with them.
Perhaps there are cities you would like to visit to see if you would like to eventually live there. Put those on the list as well.
You will need to map out all of the expenses you would incur to work in the various places. List everything you can think of so you can get a clear picture of what it will take. This is the time to charge higher rates and kit fees. By doing this you will offset some or all of your expenses.
Now the key to working as a local is to look at the opportunity from all angles, not just the money angle. Think about the experience it can provide, or a possible reunion with friends and family, a new city that's been on your bucket list to visit, an amazing tear sheet which could lead to more work of this type and all the marketing opportunities it brings, a step into the film side of the industry and to be face-to-face working on celebrities and professional athletes.
For example, this was the case for both jobs pictured above. On the job in Arkansas with Paula Faris,
I drove in my own car to Arkansas so that cut down on many expenses and I had my own wheels for the duration for the shoot! Now my job with BOSE and JJ Watt, I charged a higher day rate which covered my expenses so it was a "wash". I didn't bring home any money but I wasn't out any money. In addition, I traveled to Houston, worked with an elite NFL football player who is also represented by Creative Artists Agency, added a high profile tear sheet with not only a pro athlete but a major brand to my portfolio. This tear sheet continues to bring me consistent opportunities working with professional athletes and sports brands; both niches which I love.
Hustling in this business; you do some things you gotta do so eventually you can do what you wanna do! By this I mean, if you want to become a national and international makeup artist or wardrobe stylist, you may need to do some "working as a local" gigs to gain momentum, elevate your portfolio and fine tune your set savvy artistry and styling skills. The more steps you take to prepare, the more opportunities present themselves and that is when luck takes you on the ride of your life! Follow my advice and you will be packing your bags and your kit before you know it!
P.S. If you would like to take a deeper dive into learning how to become a traveling makeup artist, hair stylist or wardrobe stylist, send me a quick email at email@example.com and say Hey Cristy! I want to take my show on the road!
Other ways to learn about the industry:
Download these free resources here
Join On the Set, a private Facebook community for aspiring and pro makeup artists, hair stylists
and wardrobe stylists.