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Tips on how to successfully Day Play for a Makeup Department

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

This month we have guest blogger, Natalie Johnson giving you all the best tips for a successful day playing experience on set. Thanks Natalie!

Hi! Natalie Johnson here, and I thought this would be a really great yet helpful topic for all of us artists out there. We all know we’re not always going to be core makeup on every show that comes to town, but day playing is actually a really great way to meet other artists. It’s also a way to pick up some tricks along the way cause again…we all do things differently. You’re working while furthering your education. So let’s begin, shall we?

A small Set up
Small Makeup Station Setup

The first thing we have to do when we get that call or text is put together your day play kit. I myself, used to bring everything including the kitchen sink. Needless to say years and a bad back later, my day play kit is small yet mighty. I learned pretty quickly that your point person on the crew will let you know what the day(s) will entail. That’s the norm, but everyone’s beginning is different. If you need to do beauty; makeup multi palettes are gonna be your best friend. You’ll have everything you need that fits in a small set bag which will/should leave room for items like brushes, moisturizer, small shaving kit, tattoo coverup palettes (just in case they are needed), etc.

If you’re strictly there for FX; you’ll be told what you’ll need as well to set you up for success. Palettes, Prosaide, No Color Powder, yada, yada, yada. You get the point. Also make sure you have a chair. I recommend a small one as you are a guest and you definitely don't wanna take up too much real estate. Emphasis on guest…you wanna come back, right? Then check your inbox, because you are waiting on start paperwork.Sometimes they send it before you start, the day of, or the day after. Again every department from show to show is different.

Now its time to show up. Don’t be late, cause if you like breakfast you don't wanna cut into your setup time. You get eighteen minutes. Also always NDB. Make sure you have time to eat and make sure that your time card reflects it. Now i mentioned setting up…

i used to be real elaborate with drawers and such. Don’t waste your time. Just be neat and clean and you’ll love yourself when you’re rushed to set and don't have to put away your makeup store. Also if you’re day playing with other artists; help out if you’re done with your peeps.

Setting up

We are all a team and have the same end goal. When you get to set; be polite and try not to be in the way. Kinda hard at first because things are always getting moved, but just be

aware. We are traveling carnies that juggle cast and background. A helpful tip is knowing when lunch is and a half hour before that ask your point person if you should go to lunch. A Department Head is on top of a lot of things and I know I like reminders like that as you don't need your day player(s) to get meal penalties unless its a really huge day.

Sample Daily Time Sheet

At the end of your day, make sure to write down or text your times to your point artist. It honestly depends from trailer to trailer, but you wanna get paid right?Don’t forget about the start paperwork if you haven’t gotten it yet. Make sure you’ve cleaned up after yourself and have all your tools. Say bye to your team cause by now you’ve gotten to know or caught up with your fellow artists. Hopefully you’ll see them again real soon. At the end of the day we have the best job in the world. Our work is visual and will live on. Till next time…

You forget one of these items in your kit. Which one is worse to forget?

  • Tweezers

  • Antishine

  • 99 % Alcohol

  • Wet Wipes


About Natalie

Natalie Christine Johnson was born and raised in New Orleans, LA to immigrant parents of Cuban and El Salvadoran decent. Ever since she could pick up a pencil she has always been drawn to the arts. Her love has spanned from clothing design, paintings to tattooing;

which eventually opened the door to makeup. She’s always loved movies and been fascinated by their making so naturally she started her makeup journey in film and television in 2012 and has not stopped. Skilled in Beauty and Makeup Fx; her resume includes TNT’s Claws, USA’s The Purge, The Highwaymen, and Bottoms.

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