Makeup Artist

When the actors report for the day, one of the first places they hit, after the craft service table, is the makeup department. Everybody on camera has to wear some makeup, even if it's just to bring out the person's natural color under all the lights.

If the scene calls for a high-society party or a prehistoric tribal gathering, then the makeup on the leads should reflect that. It is up to the makeup artist to apply the actors' makeup in the morning and touch it up as the day goes on.

William "Billy" Thomasson didn't want to get involved with makeup, but when he did, he hit the ground running. "Originally, I wanted to be an actor. I was going to college as a drama major and had to take a makeup class as part of my course requirement. I didn't want to learn anything about makeup; I thought it was something for girls to put on me while I was in my star trailer.

"The first day of class, in staggers the professor, looking all beat-up," Billy recalls. "He had a black eye, and his nose was bleeding and looked broken. When he collapsed in front of the podium, we all rushed to help him. Somebody asked him what had happened, and he said he had a real nasty run-in with a makeup brush. Then he got up, grabbed a jar of cold cream and cleaned himself up. I knew then this was going to be an interesting class."

Billy went from one class in makeup to a complete course in cosmetics. He started out working for photographers on print ads and then came to Los Angeles to do films.

As a makeup artist for feature films, Billy works with the director and the production designer to create a makeup look for the film. He'll also work with the costume designer to make sure the colors and designs he wants to use will go with the costumes.

Billy can create any era of time and any class level needed for the project, from the down-and-out unemployed in the 1930s to the aristocratic French in the 1700s. If he doesn't know the appropriate makeup style offhand, he researches it to make sure he gets it right. He specializes in flat, everyday makeup but has been known to design his share ofblack eyes and bloody noses.

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