Thinking About Special Effects Makeup School?
Attending a special effects makeup school is great if you need a structured learning environment, but it’s not the only way to get the training you need to become a makeup and special effects artist. If you’re thinking about attending special effects makeup school, this blog post covers some things you should consider.
In the creative industry, experience typically goes further than formal education. Attending a special effects makeup school is great if you need a structured learning environment, but it’s not the only way to get the training you need to become a makeup and special effects artist.

Consider How Much Special Effects Makeup School Will Cost

When it comes to any program, you want to consider how much time, energy, and money it will take to complete your studies. With most special effects makeup schools, individual classes and workshops range from $2,000 - $5,000 while a comprehensive diploma program typically starts at $25,000. Equally important to cost is how much time it will take you to complete your studies. Will you have to reduce your hours at work or sacrifice other projects to make time for class and assignments? Do your current responsibilities and lifestyle provide the time you need to attend school?

For those with limited time and limited budget, looking at online standalone courses or booting up YouTube and practicing on your own are ways to gain the skills you need without a school-sized price tag. In the special effects makeup industry, what you know will always be more important than where you learned it.

Research Other Options

Attending school isn’t for everyone, and there are plenty of alternatives to attending special effects makeup school. The best way to learn anything is experimentation and practice. Buy some supplies and browse YouTube or Vimeo for tutorials. Continuous practice on your own will always be the best way to learn the ins and out of the craft. You can also look for apprenticeship opportunities once you get some experience to further your education. As your skills grow, consider lending your talents to local fairs, conventions, and parties. From face painting to Halloween makeup, events like these present an opportunity to practice and earn some money while doing it.

Pick A School That’s Right For Your Situation

Since special effects makeup requires a lot of hands-on practice, you’ll want to select a program that suits your learning style, availability, budget, and location. If you work during the day, a school with evening or online programs might be a better fit for you. If you’re worried about cost, finding something local is more convenient and cost-effective than attending an out of state school or boot camp. Do you need to go to class in person, or are you capable of independent self-study? How quickly do you want to finish school? Take all of these things into consideration when you pick a special effects makeup program. Take time to read reviews from current students and those who have graduated to make an informed decision before you start the application or payment process.

Develop an Action Plan

In this day and age, it’s not enough to go to school and expect to land a job as soon as you graduate. Make the most of your time at school and take advantage of any work-study or internship opportunities the school has available. It will help you practice what you’ve learned, and give you more pieces for your portfolio. Also, make time to meet with the school’s career advisor or internship coordinator regularly. Leverage the school’s connections to increase your chances of finding employment once you finish your coursework. To be on the safe side, develop a plan for supporting yourself and paying back your student loans just in case it takes some time to find your first job. Having a plan B in your pocket will alleviate stress and give you some additional time to find opportunities in the makeup and special effects field.

Though working in makeup and special effects is exciting, there are many different paths to building a career in this industry. School is great for those who need a structured learning environment, but there are other options available for aspiring artists with time and budget constraints. And, as we all know, practice makes perfect! For more information about gaining employment as a makeup or special effects artist, check out the latest Blue Whale Studios digital guide.