ENTITLED NEWBIE CONVERSATION ON MESSAGE BOARDS goes like:
Why don’t senior artists help out newbies? Jeez, All I want is to assist or good lord, at least, get a critique. I think they are selfish and uncaring. They don’t even write back. How rude.
- they either get a lot of requests for assisting and critiques just can’t answer them all
- are working and don’t have the time
- already have their assistants they work with and don’t want anymore
- they are sick of the entitled attitudes they have encountered by newbies
- they are feed up with the lack of initiative from lazy artists who can’t follow the simplest of instructions
- tired of the unprofessional ways newbies contact them
- they believe newbies should learn somethings on their own before reaching out
- drum roll……..they just don’t want to be bothered
Well Dayum, DeShawn what am I suppose to do with that list? You’re going to learn how to approach them with respect, professionalism and skill. Let me explain further.
FROM THE PROSPECTIVE OF A SENIOR ARTIST-ME!
When I am critiquing someone’s site & marketing–it can take me hours of my time. Over the last ten years, I have helped out numerous newbies and guided them in the right direction. In fact, I have spent many hours revamping a newbies website, marketing & branding. I have talked newbies off a ledge; I have taken phone calls from complete strangers all to help them out, only to have that newbie–poof— disappear. No Thank You, NO NOTHING! Of course, everything I have told them they have implemented and they have prospered. I care about newbies greatly, and I remember those days like it was yesterday, and that is why I have gone out of my way to help. I also help not only on this blog, but on Periscope every Sunday and now on Youtube. I like many other senior artists take the time to answer newbies questions on message boards as well. All of this is still not enough for the entitled artists. To do all of this, and then being taken for granted, or told we don’t care, OR we should consider the newbies feelings when we don’t answer them back is truly a slap in the face. This entitled attitude is what makes it harder for the next newbie that may reach out.
A PICTURE OF A WORKING MAKEUP ARTIST
If we are working on a regular basis at least 3-5 days out of the week on various projects, we can be working from 8-12 hours or more on a fashion editorial, or 16 hours a day on a music video, etc. Call times can be as early as 4 AM with wrap times as late as 1 AM (all in one day) We have got to go home, reset our kits for the next day/project, get some sleep get up and do it again. BTW that doesn’t include air travel. Makeup artists have lives! We are just like you. We have to do the same things as everyone else. We have laundry, we’ve got to be a parent, clean our homes, walk the dog, take care of a sick relative, God forbid relax, hang with friends. Newbies can be so self-involved and entitled that all they seem to think about are themselves, and why they didn’t get a reply.
Do you think you are the only person contacting the artist? I can get inundated with emails especially around fashion week or a big project. It would take hours of my time just to send out a generic reply to all. So when you don’t hear back, why do you even think having an attitude is the correct answer? OR getting on message boards complaining senior artists are selfish, rude people who don’t care about newbies–really? Most times those very message boards are by actual hard working senior artists who created it to ahhhhh, help out newbies in the first place. Think before you type people!
Now, put yourself in the place of a Key, could you possibly return every email, check every website, give creative and constructive critique to everyone who asks, and then go to work, come home and be a normal person. NO, you could not. Patience must be had by you- because not every artist can or will answer you. Just keep it moving, and reach out to more artists. Make a list of all the ones you want to assist or receive guidance from, and begin to contact them. Keep the nasty, impatient, entitled attitudes to yourself and definitely off of message boards.
If you seek an answer, the quickest way to it may be to pay.
KEY artists want newbies to take a class with them before they even think of you assisting. Why? Because we have to get to know you all first, and your skill level. We can also gauge how serious you are about your craft and how hunger you are to be a makeup artist. Senior Artists do not want to waste their time and effort on a newbie/enthusiasts who isn’t sure this is the path they want to take.
The problem with newbies is (and I will say it again) “some” “SOME” of you guys think assisting is a lesson in makeup—IT IS NOT! It is not the time nor place to ask for makeup instruction. It is an actual job that requires you to be more interested in helping, than you wanting to know what eyeshadow we’re applying. You all are expecting artists to “give” you everything you desire without any of the work and effort. This is lazy, and senior artists have no time, nor patience for lazy, greedy wanna be artists. Taking a class is the gateway for you to make a personal connection. That is how I have acquired a few of my most favorite assistants because I got to know them through workshops of mine. They were eager to learn, anxious to take direction and, more importantly, they listened to instruction. I knew from those workshops that they would be a great addition to my team. You could also inquire about paying the Key for their time and guidance by sending an email. It’s as simple as that. Don’t become lazy in the world of free, because you will miss out on so many amazing opportunities going this route.
DO YOU HAVE THE SKILL LEVEL?
Many Newbies reach out to a Key with a simple “Hey I want to assist you, email. I’m talking no website, no resume, no pictures, no work history, no nothing. This tells the Key you are lazy and you don’t do your homework. Assisting requires many skills. Makeup skills, people skills, listening skills, taking direction, being proactive and professionalism. How do we know if you can help on a particular job if you don’t convey your assets?
In Assisting Rules, I discuss transferable skills, (that is when you can take job experiences and equate them to the world of being a makeup artist.) For example, someone who has worked in customer services, like a Barista at Starbucks, has transferable skills. They can show they can take orders, deal with the public, work great under pressure and have good people skills. Now, throw in a few pictures of your work and a great cover letter, you have a great shot at being an assistant. BUT if you don’t have a cover letter that ties your skills into what a great assistant you could be—than don’t bother contacting Keys. Remember; We must understand that you could be a great benefit to our day or job. In Assisting Rules, well, all through it really, it tells you how to make a genuine connection, how to be relatable to the Key you want to work with and how to convery your assets—even if you are a newbie and have never assisted before. One huge way, is to explain how your transferable skills can be beneficial to the Key.
BUT THERE’S NO ONE IN MY TOWN TO EVEN ASSIST DESHAWN
When I was on the volleyball team, my coach would to tell us to “shag our asses” meaning move it!!!! If there isn’t anyone in your area, then take your behind out of that area and reach out to artists in other cities. Do you think people who are in NY have it easier. Hell no—it took me over 1000 emails just to get one assisting gig when I first started, and I’m in the golden palace of NY. For my first few breaks, I had to go out of state. It’s hard everywhere people, especially when you’re new. You have to take every opportunity you can to create the career you want. If that means going out of state for a job or mentorship than that is what you have to do.
You are entitled to nothing.
If you possess no patience, don’t bother trying to assist or asking for any help. In the past, I’ve had newbies have the nerve to call me with an attitude because they feel I’m taking to long to respond to their emails. I had one call me up and curse me out–(it had only been two weeks) WTF People? It takes just as much patience to be an assistant and a fantastic artist. Realize this process happens over time not after one email, phone call, etc.
PLEASE REMEMBER when you are seeking anything you have to realize you are on someone else’s time frame. I want you to change your way of thinking in this “insta” world we live in when inquiring from a Key. It could take several months for them to answer you. When you send out a request realize that, and move on to the next artists or project on your list. Revisit them with a new email if you don’t hear from them. Remember out of sight is out of mind. You cannot assume just because you have asked you will receive it when YOU want it.
Out of sight is out of mind. Remember it’s up to you to cultivate the relationship
I have an incredible assistant who reached out to me for over a year, YES! a year. She wasn’t pushy—she was smart, and gently reminded me she was still here and still willing to assist. One of her emails come to me just as I was putting together my team for Fashion Week. I offered her the position of assisting the makeup team, and she jumped at it. She did an incredible job and became one of my favorite go-to assistants. She gets mentored by me, and she has become an amazing artists all her own. Why? She didn’t give up, she was persistent, and professional and proved she was an extremely hard worker.
Lastly, let me make this clear. It is up to YOU to cultivate that relationship over time with a senior artist. It is not up to the artist to reach out to you and see how you are. If you’ve made contact, good for you, you must keep it up. YOU must follow through and listen to what the artist has asked of you, if anything. Be on the lookout for a workshop from them where you could re-introduce yourself and be impressive.
Keep your entitled attitude to yourselves, be aware that artists are people with lives, family, friends and yes household chores. AND know Senior artists are here to help you, but you just might have to pay for your answer. Don’t forget YOU must to take the initiative to move your career forward. At the end of it all YOU are responsible for your career! Realize there are many, many artists who help newbies everyday. Truthfully, it is all in how you approach them and your professionalism. This is a community of amazing artists both newbie and senior and we all must help each other. So good luck newbies I hope this explains why you don’t receive answers, and perhaps can help you adjust the ways you reach out to senior artists going further. Peace out fabulous people.
So in the immortal words of my beloved Volleyball coach, I want you all to
“shag your asses.”
How do you feel leave comments below? Remember to Follow and Like!
DeShawn Hatcher is the author of Assisting Rules! The Ultimate Guide to Assisting Makeup Artists and Hairstylists in Beauty, Fashion & Print. She is also a makeup artists of 16 years and is an educator, beauty writer, and working print, editorial, beauty, celebrity makeup artist in NYC. You can find her every Sunday on Periscope answering newbie questions and now on Youtube where she discusses weekly the business side of makeup.