Working with your Make-up Team

Last month we shot out short film Foxhole. As we were creating a thriller, this was the first time that make-up was a big role within the film in regards to special effects such as bruising, cuts and...well other stuff that we can't possibly tell you due to spoilers.

In order to have this done right we were fortunate enough to work with Make-up Artist Olivia Dench, who runs her own business Olivia Dench Make-up. Here's a look at her work on the film and some tips on how to work alongside your make-up team to achieve the look you want for your project.


1 Find the right person

With Foxhole being a thriller, we wanted someone who had worked with facial bruising and the use of blood for our action sequences. Make sure you find an artist who matches the genre you are going for, look through their previous work and portfolio. We considered many MUAs before making our decision with Olivia, this was based on her previous work, training and portfolio of photographs alike to what we were looking for.


2 Planning together the look

When the story of Foxhole was in development, writer and director Caris Rianne put together many documents to aid not only just the MUA but the whole team to become familiar with the visual identity that she had for the film. The main thing that we all looked at was a pinterest board that she created, which you can view here.

Sharing photographs of how you want the characters to look will not only aid your MUA and stylists in preparing for the shoot but ensure that you're both on the same page when it comes to the visual plan you have for your film.

Idea image.

Idea image.

Final product, Poppy Evans.

Final product, Poppy Evans.

3 Planning - scheduling the time

Scheduling a shooting day can be difficult, especially when in most cases you'll be running over! To ensure that your MUA gets the right amount to achieve the look you want, discuss with them before creating your shooting schedule to know how much time they will need and if this is achievable on the day. 

With all our films there has been a large female cast, so if you want them all to achieve a certain look ensure you plan not only the right time for this but the right team. 12 actors, 1 MUA and just an hour to prep a scene....good luck. One way you can save time is discuss with your actors to arrive with a base layer already applied or even ask them to arrive in their own make-up ensuring it matches your plans.

4 What you need on set

Make sure that you plan out an area for your make-up team on your recce day at locations. For Foxhole we filmed at four locations and two were outside! Ensuring that there was a table, chairs available for our MUA and her equipment and with the exterior locations some shelter! It's also important to have a member of your production team available to ensure that the work between the MUA and the actors is sticking to schedule.

5 Continuity!

With some of our characters having facial marks, we had to ensure that there was continuity from each shooting day for this make-up. Take photos and communicate with your MUA. We had to shoot an additional day two weeks after our initial shoot, so we took screenshots of the footage as well as photos to make certain that there would be no significant differences between scenes!


Thanks to Olivia Dench our short film lived up to the visual plans that our director had and added a beautiful touch to our film. To view more of Olivia's work or to get in contact with her regarding an upcoming project that you may have links to her Social Media sites are below.

Foxhole is due to join the festival circuit in autumn this year, with an online release expected in 2018.

All photos above are by Hannah Clayden.