Melissa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My start as a makeup artist for television and film production began in high school back in the early 80’s. I went to makeup school in Los Angeles and graduated at the same time I graduated high school. I immediately found a mentor who was a very famous special effects artist and apprenticed for him for 3 years. When I was ready to go out on my own, I relocated to Las Vegas in 1992 and started working on live shows on the Vegas strip at the MGM, Luxor and at The Rio hotel. I returned to Southern California in 2001 to San Diego and began to market myself to local, independent production companies, as well as commuted to Los Angeles to work on films and commercials.
Overtime, I developed great working relationships with many producers and directors in San Diego, so I was able to pass my Los Angeles work to my team. I opened Epic Makeup in 2001 and built a team of artists underneath me who I trained in the knowledge of proper, camera-ready beauty and men’s grooming for productions that used HD at the time. Today, myself and my team work on countless television commercials and independent films, live events, corporate videos, and print campaigns. HD has evolved into 4K, 6K and 8K productions and our technique and skill level has evolved too in order to meet those demands. My team and I have won 7 Emmy Awards from The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences – Pacific Southwest Chapter and I am currently developing another department of Epic Makeup that will provide on-line classes for emerging artists who need guidance in developing their businesses.
Has it been a smooth road?
Being self-employed is never a smooth road, but I was lucky to work with a man named Brian Buffini of Buffini and Company – a local Carlsbad company that coaches Real Estate Agents globally. I was hired to be his personal makeup artist because he was expanding his on-line training business, as well as his live stage seminars and wanted to look his best. He became a long-term client of mine and in a sense, my business mentor. I find that in my line of work, if you pay attention during the filming of a project, you will learn a thing or two from the clients who sit in your chair. I discovered that what Brian was teaching resonated with me even though I wasn’t a Real Estate Agent. He was teaching business techniques to the self-employed and to those with an entrepreneurial spirit. I was struggling to expand my business, my finances and to reach my goals before I started working with him and one day I thought, “You have this incredibly successful and knowledgeable man teaching you how to improve your business…why are you not applying his principles?” Needless to say, when I started to take his advice on building working relationships, being in service to others and skill development, I noticed a big change in my confidence level. He helped me change my unhealthy business habits to more successful ones and that changed my life! I am also lucky to have a makeup artist mentor in my corner as well. Eugenia Weston is an artist with over 40-years of experience in my industry and she owns a very successful makeup line called Senna Cosmetics. She has taught me the latest techniques for the ever-changing world of production. Technology is always changing in my line of work and production companies are now filming on the most incredibly high-tech cameras you can imagine, so it is imperative I educate myself and upgrade my skills to keep up and not get left behind. I am always learning something new!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Epic Makeup – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Epic Makeup is a global company that provides proper, camera-ready beauty and men’s grooming looks for television, film, live events and corporate video productions. We specialize in working in 4K, 6K and 8K media and with production companies who have state-of-the-art equipment. I have been working in this industry for the past 30 years and I shared with my team all my makeup techniques and industry knowledge so that they are ready to either work alongside me if the production is large or that I am able to confidently send them out to another set if my company is double-booked on a production. What sets my team and I apart is that we consider ourselves to be in “service” to those who sit in our makeup chair! What that means is that we truly care about them and how they feel during the makeup process. We show them through our actions that they can trust us and that we are good at what we do. At the same time, we want to be considered a valuable part of the crew and that means working as a team and being respectful of everyone on a set. I think we are unique because we work from a place of authenticity. We take direction, we value the jobs of every crew member, we understanding lighting and cameras and how they make a difference in our makeups, we ask questions if we are unsure of something and we understand the power of being the last person that the talent will interact with before they go on camera.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love San Diego because we have an amazing film community here. Some of the best film and television Directors, Producers, DP’s, Lighting Directors, Editors and other crew call San Diego home. We have production companies in San Diego that have state-of-the-art sound stages, editing equipment and camera gear for every production need, plus we have incredible weather almost 365 days a year. Our city can provide a location for every scene in a script and that makes this town unique! Does your script call for a big-city feel? We got it! Do you need a desert landscape for your movie? We got it! Want to film on a real-life aircraft carrier? No problem!! It is crazy to me that more productions don’t film here, especially because it is way more economic and better for their budget. Plus, we have talented, award-winning crew right here in San Diego that are locals, so there is no need to pay to house out-of-state crew!
Phone: (858) 344-7201
*Orgiinally posted February 15, 2018 http://sdvoyager.com/interview/meet-melissa-street-epic-makeup-carmel-valley/