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INDUSTRY

How to stay calm on film sets

by Pip Bulbeck

Lesley Vanderwalt, makeup and hair designer

LAST FIVE CREDITS: Alien Covenant; Secret City (TV); Gods Of Egypt; Old School (TV); Mad Max: Fury Road; The Great Gatsby.

DESCRIBE YOUR JOB: The makeup and hair designer is the most senior member of the makeup and hair team, chosen by the producers, director or an actor’s request, to design the look of all the characters’ makeup and hair involved in the production. Responsibilities include all cosmetic makeup, body makeup, facial hair, hairstyling, wig work and basic special makeup effects. If 3D prosthetics is required, the designer will consult with the SFX makeup artist or studio to create the pieces and look required by the director.

TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE MORE MEMORABLE PROJECTS YOU’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN: I’m not sure whether it is the people, the locations or the story that make them memorable or a combination of all three when magic happens… Mad Max: Fury Road has to be one of them.

MOST CHALLENGING REQUEST ON AN INTERNATIONAL FILM SHOOT: I love a challenge; that’s what makes our work so interesting. It’s all in the way you handle it and sometimes your best work comes out of these unexpected requests and you surprise yourself. As long as you set up your department to cover everything, you will always be fine. I like to think of the department as a little satellite city that can produce anything especially if away on remote locations. I try to cover all areas with multi-skilled crew.

FAVOURITE ACTIVITY IN AUSTRALIA: Travelling.

FAVOURITE PART OF AUSTRALIA: Far North Queensland, Port Douglas, and Sydney is pretty amazing. It’s a great and very diverse continent. I love the Northern Territory and its magic, and Western Australia and its colours: rusty red, aqua, black, blue, white and the most amazing sunsets.

WHEN I’M NOT WORKING I... spend time with friends and travel.

IF I WASN’T WORKING IN FILM AND TELEVISION I... I’d be an architect.

I’D LOVE TO WORK WITH... I have been lucky enough to work with people I would love to work with in my career. Others are no longer with us like [Federico] Fellini, [Alfred] Hitchcock, [Stanley] Kubrick. I think Eddie Redmayne, Jared Leto and Julianne Moore are pretty amazing and Keith Richards is a legend.

I KNEW I WANTED TO WORK IN FILM AND TELEVISION WHEN... I didn’t, we sort of crashed into each other.

WHAT IS YOUR WORK MOTTO OR PHILOSOPHY? On film there are always hours of waiting while each department does what it has to do to facilitate the shot and then a lot of panic to complete the day before you lose light or the light comes up. My mother always used to say, “Do not hurry, do not flurry, nothing good is got by worry.” I think of this often in moments of panic and remember to breathe.


Article originally published as part of Ausfilm’s Wizards of Oz campaign. Read it here.

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