Friday, November 19, 2021

At The Iver Make-up Academy, we love watching how quickly our graduates find fulfilling work in the screen industries. Each path is unique, but we’re incredibly proud to give our students the professional skills they need to launch exciting and high-profile careers.

In this post, we share the story of one of our talented graduates, Maisie Brooks, who has embarked on an inspiring journey working on films, TV shows and documentaries.

The first steps

In 2018, Maisie was working as a beauty make-up artist when she was offered a role doing make-up on the set of the TV series Delicious. She had no formal training in screen make-up artistry, so she found herself out of her depth. She says, “I was way in over my head and had no on-set experience or etiquette knowledge.” It was a life-changing moment because it steered her career in a new direction: “I really wanted to train up and be able to work properly on a film and TV set one day.”

Maisie started researching different schools, and The Iver Make-up Academy stood out because of the quality of its tutors. Our tutors are BAFTA, Oscar, and Emmy award-winning make-up artists with an impressive portfolio of film projects and contacts. Their real-world experience with the latest techniques, styles and products adds a wealth of knowledge to our make-up and hair artistry courses. Maisie chose to do the Advanced Certificate in Make-up and Hair Artistry, a comprehensive 30-week course.

The experience

Maisie loved her time at The Iver Make-up Academy. She particularly enjoyed the support she received, saying, “I learnt so much and felt like I could ask the tutors anything.” One aspect that surprised her was how – despite her expectations – learning about wigs and how to use them in films became her favourite subject.

Besides learning practical skills, she values the exposure to new ideas and influences she received at The Iver Make-up Academy. When it comes to creative inspiration, she likes to get back to basics. Her favourite movie for make-up and effects is the original Frankenstein (1931), which her tutors encouraged her to watch. “I’m still bewildered how they did that sort of thing back then. I also love the 1930s make-up in it.” 

Her top moment was the day she saw the results of her hard work come together: graduation day. “Receiving my certificate from Liz [Tagg-Wooster, Principal] was such a proud and happy day!”

The career

Since graduating from the Iver Academy, Maisie has embarked on an exciting career working on productions such as Endeavour and The Witches. Her diverse portfolio includes music videos, panto live theatre, corporate, low budget, and short films, but her favourite role has been working on the Stand Up to Cancer documentary and live event.

Maisie’s career has already brought her some fantastic opportunities. She appreciates “meeting amazing casts and crews and being a part of something that feels so huge at the time.” There’s nothing better than “watching your work or something that you have contributed to on the big screen.” Although she also has high praise for the ever-popular food craft services: “The Witches had the best!”

As a huge Harry Potter fan, she also enjoyed working with Chris Rankin because “it felt cool to be doing Percy Weasley’s make-up.” While working with actors is the main part of the job for a make-up artist, graduates can also expect to work closely with directors as they progress in their careers. As Maisie says, the advantage of working with directors is the chance to “see their overall vision and get a look into all aspects of the production.”

Maisie’s most challenging project was The Castle because the prosthetics became unstable throughout the hottest summer day last year. Of course, COVID-19 also created problems as productions were shut down and postponed: While it has been challenging, restrictions eventually eased, and the industry found ways to adapt. She suggests that perseverance – alongside strict Covid-19 protocols – is the key.

Maisie understands that she will always be improving on her craft skills, so she is constantly seeking new experiences on productions. She’s looking forward to doing more period drama to gain more experience working with hair and wigs.

If you’re inspired by Maisie’s story and want to learn more about becoming a hair and make-up artist for the screen, take a look at our courses. You can also get in touch with us directly to learn more.