Abias Makeup Artist of the Year 2014

What. A. Weekend!

This weekend I hosted the Face2Face Makeup Awards at the Spa and Beauty Expo, Sydney. It was a fantastic year once again with the judges job incredibly hard… the standard each year gets better and better! (I will recap on this at a later date)

On Sunday after the Face2Face Awards, I went to a hotel with my Mum and we hurriedly got ready to go to the ABIAs Gala Awards evening in Darling Harbour.

Myself and my hot date, Mumsy!

A couple of months ago I went to my amazing Tarot Reader whom is always spot on.. we talked about  variety of topics including the awards.. after consulting the cards she went on to tell me I wasn’t going to get it. She said someone who has entered quite a few times (this was my first year) was going to get it however I was to do well out of it regardless… she said I will be wise about it and will go on to do amazing things anyway. As she has been spot on about everything in the past… I have carried on with things knowing full well I wasn’t going to be awarded anything and of course, have felt like a winner this year seeing how far I have come despite many setbacks.

Even whilst Mumsy and I were getting ready… never did the thought cross my mind once that I was a possibility. I had an idea of whom I thought should win and that was that. I was more interested in having a great night and celebrating getting this far with my Mum which was her first trip to Sydney to visit me. Walking to the venue… or should I sashaying to the venue i our gowns there were no nerves… just excitement for a champagne and a good time.

We arrived to the new venue ON Darling Harbour and I was able to catch up with many fellow artists and friends from the industry. It was a perfect end to a hectic week.

We were sat at our tables and the event began… Will Fennell was once again the amazing host of the evening and I was excited to see Greg Gould sing live!

A couple of champagnes down and I was relaxed… apart from the fact once again a caterer has interpreted the fact I am Gluten Free as a sign I dont want to eat anything tasty… the night was so much fun. ( Asparagus for entree, Asparagus and mashed potato for main… and after I had to request a Dessert, I was able to have one bite of before they took it away during my acceptance speech…. let me point out that everyone elses meal looked insanely delicious and I was jealous)

Time came to announce Makeup Artist of the Year.

Everyone at the table looked at me funny and I told them to stop being ridiculous it wasn’t my year.

All the finalists work was shown up on the big screen… man there was some amazing work up there!  The finalists were:

Elizabeth Kramer

Kylie Apostoles

Sandy Tau

Kylie Eustace

Vivianne Tran

Sheri Vegas

Mia Connor

Blondie

Clare Mac

Ali Price

Erin Bigg

Becca Gilmartin

Myself and fellow amazing artists… Kylie Eustace, Mia Connor, Erin Bigg, Claire Mac, myself and Vivienne Tran

We were all invited on stage to receive a gift from Bodyography…and then a couple of other award announcements later… they announced the winner.

We were all shaking in our boots from anticipation. Meanwhile… I kept sipping my champagne feeling cocky about the fact I had inside info I wasn’t going to get it.

Our presenter explained the award was not for makeup alone… but for contribution to our industry, professionalism amongst other attributes… then says ‘lets just show you the winner’

All of a sudden… one of my images shows up on the big screen…. I think I even dropped my dessert fork in shock. For the next few minutes I am treated to the best collection of my portfolio all to the music of Michael Jacksons ‘Love Never Felt So Good’

WHAT???

My Mum took this shot of me in absolute shock trying to work out why my images were up there… My card reader for once was wrong!

What an absolute shock and honour!

The next thing to go through my head was ‘oh shit… I need to give a speech… I haven’t even thought of what to say… I regret the champagne!’

I made it on stage to accept the worlds largest award and I think I managed to give a speech that hopefully made sense and gave justice to actually how I was feeling.

Thanks to Claire Mac for this shot… I must have been funny with Will Ferrell laughing there in the background.

I do know I started my speech with ‘I clearly need a new card reader’ ha ha ha!

What I want to do though… in light of the fact I didn’t prepare a speech… is now indulge myself in writing what I would have loved to say up on stage. I will also include my entry I sent as part of my entry to the Abias.

I would have started by thanking my Mum for making the trip to Sydney and being my date… I didn’t in my speech due to being overwhelmed by the whole situation.

Manny.. you show how I feel so well….

I would have then thanked Mocha Publishing and Bodyography for making it all possible.

One thing I attempted to say but unsure of how it came out … is mentioning the other finalists. Someone made a comment on stage that it was unusual to see a bunch of makeup artists being so friendly together… my reaction to that was suprise.

What we do as makeup artists is combine Art and People into a career… we do this because we love both equally. Of course we are going to be friendly… we all admire and respect each others work… at least that’s my experience and I dont believe it should be any other way. This job is half service industry and half creative… there is something to be admired from each artists career and when we support each other… it makes what we do so much better. I wouldn’t have such a fun career if it wasn’t for the friendships with the artists around me. Not only do I not feel so alone in a freelance environment… but who else would I refer work to? Who else would I be able to vent to in times of need? I see these friendships as essential and I dont see any reason for it to be any other way.

In my speech I would then take a moment to mention how much of a massive acknowledgement this is. For me… this is a perfect tip of the hat to remind me despite the setbacks, hard days and constant questioning of myself and from others… I have been on the right track. Believe me… it hasn’t always been clear I was doing the right thing and many times…. maaaany times I considered getting a ‘real job’… if I could offend my entire industry by using that term.

For those whom dont know me and think I make it all look easy… I am about to share some details about my career that you may see yourself in the story. Hopefully for some of you it will also remind you you too are on the right track. This is a condensed version but I hope it makes a difference to someone.

I have officially been a MUA for 14 years. I completed a 3 month diploma and entered the world of Makeup Artistry thinking I wanted to get into film. It was the only course I ever did. I moved to NZ to follow my heart and also try and get onto Lord of The Rings… in which I had successful interviews for but as fate would have it… never worked a day. Fate was strong for the 4 years I lived in Wellington.

I ALMOST had work on L.O.T.R., King Kong, River Queen and also later in Australia a few films here. Even as recently as this year I just had a MUA tell me they were trying to get me on Gods of Egypt. Fate has a giant big hand that spookily swats any opportunity in film despite how promising it looks for me. You can imagine after 5 years of trying… my confidence was squashed… in the meantime I worked in retail and did freelancing on the side. It had nothing to do with my skill set but a cruel twist of fate. Unbelievable twists of fate that you wouldn’t believe. Even as crazy as meeting a guy at a party in Wellington once who looked like Hagrid… I was telling him of my fate with getting onto film with the most recent being River Queen… he went white… he then went on to tell me he was in fact the reason I didnt get the job – he just so happened to be in the office when they were deciding between myself and another artist (which I had recommended) and as he had met her once in a cafe… he said they should employ her. They originally wanted 2 artists but had to cut one of us away… fate chose me… again… Incredible.

The man I moved to NZ for passed away which was devastating… but not long after I met the man who was going to be my husband… we eventually moved back to OZ and started all over again.

Fast forward past working my way up through retail and eventually becoming Head of Campus at Napoleon Perdis Makeup Academy… just over 3 years ago my 4.5 year marriage ended.  I had been freelancing full time for only 2 years. It’s not the time to bring out the violins… we are still friends and just realised we weren’t the match for each other.

At that moment I realised what I needed to do to survive as a newly single Makeup Artist… I needed to trust my instincts.. even though my head said I was crazy… and a couple of months after we separated… with no money to my name… a couple of contacts and a lead on a place to stay… I packed my car with a small amount of belongings and my makeup kit and moved to Sydney.

I knew I had to do it… I had wanted to do it for 3 years already but made it work commuting for jobs. In retrospect.. I was a crazy woman. Who moves to Australia’s most expensive city as a freelance makeup artist with no backup? Apparently me.

All I knew what to do was make actions every day that would help build my career here. The past 3 years certainly haven’t been easy… I have lived for weeks on a bag of rice and frozen veggies just so I can pay rent… over the past 14 years I have been without somewhere to live because of this job 3 times… once in Sydney… once in NZ and once in Perth. There have been more highs and lows than I would like to count but one thing stayed the same. I love what I do and I want to keep doing it.  Its a gut feeling I need to be doing this crazy job. I have visions of the work I want to do in the future and I just use the power of positive thinking to keep moving towards that. (I talk a lot about this in my course and soon to be completed book… stay tuned)

There have been many days where I would question if it was worth the hard times… and the answer was always yes, although I would have preferred to not experience them. They are starting to get few and far between now… but for a long time… I would even have to go without anything but bare essentials in the pantry and bathroom just to afford rent and a new foundation or lashes etc. You know you need to call the debt collectors for someone to pay your invoice when you cant afford toilet paper. Then it would be paid and you will be rich for a couple of weeks. All the freelancers will know exactly what I mean… I am not a special case.

Positive thinking has been my savior… and its a daily practice… sometimes even a moment by moment practice…it keeps me moving forward when ‘Becca from a few years ago would have collapsed in a heap.’ I still dont own any Rae Morris Brushes… or any fancy additions to my makeup kit… I just use what I have been able to afford and whats been gifted to me and do the best with what I have. (I will soon be getting Raes brushes dont you worry! They are delicious!) It hasnt been a consistent run of being poor.. but anyone who lives in Sydney knows how expensive it is to live here. Even at the start I knew I was doing well to pay my bills as a freelancing mua… but sometimes that’s all I could afford. Bills. No IMATS spending sprees for this one for the first couple of years.

2014 has been the best year… and please dont think its all been doom and gloom with me…

Sprinkled in between the hard times have been some amazing opportunities and life long friendships formed. I wanted to however put some of the harsh reality of my career in a nutshell for those who are experiencing similar realities to show you… its OK… keep going… do what you need to do just dont give up. We all have different journeys.. some are easy.. some are like mine and I constantly feel like a fat kid falling down a set of stairs… but its all perfect if you follow your crazy gut instincts. It doesn’t always look the way you imagine.

Through everything I continued to work on love jobs, body art projects, this blog, The Green Brush Project and the FaceFace Makeup Awards in which this was my third year. Resilience is key… as is forward momentum and squashing as often as possible negative thinking and talk. Make your own opportunities if none are presenting itself… keep doing work even if its with cheap makeup… any good MUA will show you their favourite staple lower end product they keep tucked away in their kit. You dont have to have the best of the best to do a good job… but having the best would be nice! Above all.. dont get caught up in negative culture.. it isn’t worth it. Surround yourself with positive people who believe in you or at least are open to understanding the crazy ideas to come out your mouth.

So in my speech at the ABIAs… I would have also said how much this award means to me. Its a massive acknowledgement for me from my peers… for through the hardships over the past 14 years… being poor in between invoices, temporary homelessness, completely starting over in a new city 3 times… loss and insecurity… this award is such a massive touchstone for me to remind myself to keep focusing on the good and striving to create beauty in images and with my clients. It will remind me to keep pushing myself and stretch what I believe to even be possible for myself. It also is a landmark event to confirm this is my real job. I feel like I am only getting started.

How I actually felt on the inside yet the champagne gave me courage…

So thank you to all my special friendships I have in the industry… you know who you are. Thank you to my fellow MUAs that I can also call friends… its a privelage to know and work with you. From here… I want to keep creating whats in my head as well as work with other amazing artists… I cant wait to finish my book ‘We The Painted’…. I want to continue to support emerging artists through the Green Brush Project and the Face2Face Makeup Awards and above all… I want to keep having fun in this crazy job we do.

I mean really… we have a crazy job. We manipulate a human face with pigment as a job. We pluck, prod and glue hair and all sorts of objects onto skin as a profession.

So I raise my glass to all my fellow MUA finalists… and to fellow MUAs overall… heres to all the things you have done to get the job done that will go unnoticed… to the courage it takes to continue this job despite what life throws at us… for all the early morning starts… the love jobs… the endless hours of washing brushes and preparing your kit when everyone else is out having a great time… to all the times you sacrifice your social life for work… for all the clients that do things that dont allow you to do your job properly… for all the bad makeup days that make you question if you know what you are doing (come on… I have them all the time)… for always being the first to arrive and the last to leave… for all the lunch breaks makeup needs to work through… for all the times we get asked what makeup they should wear when all we want to do is relax and enjoy our time off… for all the miracles we pull out of our bum on shoots… for all the clips and pins we give to stylists who run out… for all the times we are doing things on jobs that is clearly not in our job description… and for all those times that clients say the weirdest things to you about the makeup you have done even though you KNOW they look amazing… and go and change it to what they want… even if it means strange eyebrows, orange face or adding black when 10 minutes ago they clearly said NO BLACK…. I salute you x You are all amazing.

 

Here was my photographic entry for the ABIAs. Thankyou to my buddies Nelson Lai, Jason Zambelli and Mr Thom Kerr for making them possible xx

Dear Diary…

A week ago, I was up to my elbows in glitter creating a new beauty shoot featuring soon on Black Magazine…

Behind the Scenes shot on INSTAGRAM – beccagilmartin

All of a sudden I noticed my Instagram and Facebook going slightly crazy. The reason? The ABIAs Finalists had been announced and I had made the cut. Very cool.

Being a finalist is a nice ‘tip of the hat’ to every artist to acknowledge that despite days of feeling like everyone else in the world knows exactly what they are doing except you… who just seems to make it all up as they go… is on some sort of ‘right track’. Its a very cool list to be on. I am amongst some gorgeous people x

The past few months have been pretty amazing for me in regards to creative and professional satisfaction… some of which still has not been released and so I am limited to what I can share. The announcement of being a finalist definitely helped soothe my post USA blues…

Last November I took a trip to the Joshua Tree Desert to body paint for Kimbra… what we created hasn’t been released as yet… however Kimbra is drip feeding us teasers from her album cover shoot. Joshua Tree Desert is certainly a special place that I would like to return to with a bunch of friends… crack open some wine and relax for the weekend. Makeup and Hair for this shoot was done by the uber talented Justin Henry.

I can’t wait to share about this project!

My last trip to LA a couple of weeks ago was only supposed to be a part of my mini break to NYC after IMATS… however I ended up staying slightly longer than planned and was Kimbra’s Makeup Artist for her new single, 90s music.

The clip isn’t released as yet… however you can hear the single here:

Before I was In LA.. I was in NYC for two weeks. If you have the latest copy of Makeup Artist Magazine issue 108 you may have seen me nestled int he wrap up story about IMATS NYC.

I traveled to NYC to speak at IMATS NYC about my course, its philosophies as well and my upcoming book.

My model, Mike Perfetuo , flew from LA to be my model as well as allow me to paint him and his identical twin brother in two series of body art shoots (yet to be released)

Here are some sneak pics…

More Rorschach ink tests which I thought quite fitting as Mike and Matt are mirror image identical twins. Image on instagram beccagilmartin

A quick social media break with the boys during the first shoot of my trip.. the inspiration behind this shoot is a conversation around how we judge ourselves when we look at our own reflection… this paint turned into something quite different from what you see here. I was assisted by the lovely  Lindsay Schwebke image from Instagram beccagilmartin

As I started getting ready for my IMATS presentation in my hotel room… I had to keep reminding myself to treat this like any other presentation… the fact that I was about to speak for the first time in America about my course and book was causing some excitement!

Here is a visual wrap up from the day at IMATS

Mikes front is done… almost… the hotel room is chaos but we are all feeling excited.

The text is the french interpretation of the phrase from Moulin Rouge “The greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return”… a dedication to someone I once loved who is no longer here. The flower is part of the new book I am working on ‘We The Painted’.

costume on backstage… final touches… ready to rock and roll!

Showtime! Explaining the concept of using MINDSET and BODYART as a training tool for yourself to increase your skills as a makeup artist… as well as achieving confidence and a whole range of benefits difficult to list in an hour time slot. FINALLY I get a shot on stage where I am not pulling a face.

The orchid is actually one of the exercises in my upcoming book ‘We The Painted’ I will pop a link to the step by step preview at the end of this blog x

Its safe to say ‘Makeup Excellence using Body Art’ will be a success in the USA…. and that is very exciting for me!

Final pic by Last x Witness

posing for pics after the demo… more like having a giggle and trying to pose normally.

My NYC peeps! In possibly the most unflattering lighting *sigh* (L to R) My assistant from my first shoot with the boys… Lindsay Schwebke, me, Mike Perfetuo, Matt Perfetuo and my gorgeous assistant for IMATS, Zoe Tranter

One of my favourite shots of the day… Before and After…. ha ha ha … Mike (R) and Matt (L) www.perfetuotwins.com

IMATS NYC was an amazing experience… walking around afterwards with Mike was definitely a slow process for the amount of people interested to stop us and ask all about what we were up to… The atmosphere at IMATS was electric and made me want to travel to all the different IMATS in the world. The amount of amazing speakers, demonstrations at different stands, the products and resources available was impressive. Easily a place to be inspired, overwhelmed and well worth the trip. If you can… go!

I created a handout for the people at NYC IMATS and can share with you now.

If you aren’t familiar with ‘Makeup Excellence using Body Art’… the principal is you use MINDSET practice and BODYART practice to train your way to a stronger Makeup career… quite like a Makeup Artist Bootcamp.

The link below is a preview of one of the exercises. You do not need a model…. just practice on yourself. Often.

Click the link below to download your free exercise and tag

#beccagilmartin

#makeupexcellenceusingbodyart

in an instagram pic!

I will soon be announcing my final 2014 dates for ‘Makeup Excellence Using Body Art’ in Australia… and soon USA dates!

Classes can be arranged on request. Please email [email protected] for more information.

I class where breakthroughs happen for everyone. I love what I teach and can’t wait to take it around the world.

B x

Beautiful You Australia

Late last year I was invited to work with Beautiful You Australia to help create the campaign for their upcoming event in Melbourne.

ANY project that looks at our own definition of beauty I, of course, would stand up to be involved in. Even in the process of viewing this video I was confronted with how different I looked then to now (have lost a considerable amount of weight) The conversation around ‘beauty and power’ is something I am fascinated with. The default setting in my thinking easily goes to the negative thoughts around my appearance… yet I am fully aware that beauty,confidence and power is an inside job.

On a daily basis I am reminding myself that I am whole, complete and perfect just the way I am. Not in a hippie tree hugging way… yet in a matter of fact way. I choose THAT truth. I dont want to spend much of my life proving otherwise… because who says so? No one is telling me there is anything wrong with me except myself… so I am consciously choosing to put my energy into a more enjoyable truth. I am also aware that this is active thinking… and sometimes it is hard to choose those thoughts when my brain is also trying to find evidence in any moment to prove otherwise. The default setting of thinking measures myself up to every other human being around me… and how disempowering is that? I am not anyone else but myself. I only really do great things when I feel confident and no one can create that for me but myself. I like to think I have done enough soul searching and experienced enough of life to know who I am and be proud of that… yet its so easy to buy into a false sense of uncertainty. And it is exactly that… false. I have witnessed models get down on themselves for comparing themselves to other models… completely missing the point that they, uniquely, are insanely beautiful. I have also witnessed a client, whom was so overweight I basically had to lie on her to reach her face for makeup as she sat in the chair… completely own who she was as a woman and be one of the most photogenic people I have met. Beauty really is an inside job and has no correlation to your looks. This I believe to be true.

To be involved with a project that opens the door of self exploration, challenges default ways of thinking and also attempts to empower women in what they need to realise they are whole, complete and perfect right now is an honour. Let alone under one roof top a village of resources catered to every area of feeling beautiful. After all… if we all felt good about ourselves wouldn’t the planet be a much nicer place to live?

I can’t wait for this event!

B x

To TFP or Not TFP… That Is the Question.

This is a touchy subject. I know this, because whenever the topic comes up amongst creatives of all types… PASSIONS are IGNITED like an Italian lovers quarrel!

For those who dont know what TFP means… Trade For Print or in other words… work for free. The reality of TFP can be some low res images 8 months down the track… sometimes nothing… yet, sometimes…

Magic happens!

It’s for the magic moments that have creatives around the world getting lured in to TFP for the romantic notion that some magic will happen for everyone involved… and like a sordid addiction… have no awareness of when to stop… or even that stopping is a choice at any moment.

The fear of saying NO to a TFP and then it turning into an amazing project, connection or lead to possible work sure has gifted some creatives sleepless nights or at least that extra glass of wine to calm the nerves.

I have been around a lot of students lately and so questions about TFP has come up a bit. Now that we are in the times of a major feature film having a $250 makeup budget in which Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews go on to win the Oscar for… it feels like a good time to share my thoughts.

You would have seen this floating around social media.

Some artists are a strict NO to free work.

I went through phases of thinking this way… In and out of complete stubbornness… sometimes even righteous on my NO’s…  however I dont think the question of  saying yes or no is a simple black and white answer. Here lies the problem.

I definitely think it’s a case by case scenario and you should always at least CONSIDER it before you say no and slam the door. I also think that TFP for your career evolves over time and possibly gets more valuable as your career progresses. Now, everyone will have their individual opinion on this… but this is what I have learnt over the past 14 years:

WHY WORK FOR FREE?

Sometimes that hardest part of TFP, especially when you are in your first few years of your career, is explaining to your friends and family whom cant get their head around the fact that you would ‘work for free’. This is a crazy industry and its hard enough sometimes for us to wrap our heads around whats going on.. let alone people who aren’t in it. So give them some slack. The trick for others understanding, and your peace, is education… I am often saying “hey remember when I went and did that ____ for free? Well from that, I met _____ and I picked up this ____ job and now have a new client who pays well”… I feel like I am now, however, well practiced in choosing my TFP so I can say that more often… but i did have to ‘kiss a few frogs’ to learn the ropes.

When you start in the industry, the benefits of TFP can be great. You get new images for your portfolio, you get to meet new industry people, you also get to experiment and refine your craft under real working conditions. That in itself cant be bought.

The catch is, no one can tell you what will be a good TFP or not… you need to develop your inner compass. You will make mistakes along the way but you will soon get a good feel for it.

One of my favourite TFP stories is a few years ago…standing backstage at Sydney Fashion Week after just directing makeup for Miss Unkon… and realising that the whole reason I was in that position was because I one day said yes to a TFP through Model Mayhem… the photographer and stylist from that shoot went on to start Miss Unkon who took me along for the ride.

Jemma Baines for Miss Unkon

SAY YES TO EVERYTHING? THINK ABOUT IT FIRST.

– When you are a new artist… its easy to frantically say yes to everything that comes your way. Regardless of your experience… you should still do your homework. I like to consider TFP as relationship builders… not just an opportunity for a new folio picture that, lets face it, you will probably stop using the image in 6 months time as you will have better examples of your work as you refine your craft.

Here are some mantras I find useful –

Will this HONESTLY move my portfolio forward?”

“Do I have a good feeling about this job? Yes? Do it. No? Dont EVER be afraid to say no.”

(no ones career has stopped because they said no)

” Do I like the past work of the photographer?”

“Am I willing to give away this time and product for free even if nothing comes of this work?”

“Is this a working relationship I want to invest in?”

Do your homework… you can soon tell photographers who do the rounds of new artists.  This may be a clue into seeing that may not be a long term working relationship. If you like their work… then go ahead and do something for your portfolio but dont get upset if its a brief working relationship.

Regardless of your experience… I always say…  think before you say yes.

The art of good investing in TFP is recognising the VALUE for your career.

TRANSITION WELL

After a non specific period of time… (and you will instinctively know when this is happening)… your TFP starts to transition into something new. It actually NEEDS to to benefit your career. It goes from photo shoots with strangers where you just have your fingers crossed something will look great… to testing, where you as a team collaborate to create folio shots. The difference is only subtle… but it does strangely feel like you are at the next level of the computer game we are all playing.

It’s during this time you should start saying no more often… not to your collaborations with other creatives you are testing with… but no to the TFPs you were saying yes to at the start. Basically say no to anything that isn’t going to elevate your portfolio… or more to the point, start letting go the grip you have on the idea that every single offer of TFP is an amazing opportunity. You have already invested the time building your folio from scratch… the time now is to build UP on that… not sideways.

This can be the most difficult part… and for a lot of people this is the time they get righteous and say no to every single unpaid job. They start building momentum and that’s it… no more free work. “How DARE you ask me to work for free!”  I think there is certainly a time to cut it down dramatically… however, you should always keep an open mind to testing with your favourite professionals and you could be creating fresh new images for your folio that fills gaps. Your working life isn’t going to magically provide you with the perfect recipe of examples of your work that will have the clients calling in.  Sometimes you need to boost you body of work with a test to show your versatility as an artist. Also sometimes a test with someone higher up in their careers is worth its weight in gold.

TRUST YOUR GUT INSTINCTS

I have had TFP jobs where something inside me said to do it… and even though I may have hated every minute of it… something good has come from it in the end. I have also had the opposite happen… I thought it was going to be GREAT and the results were rubbish and I never saw those people again. I clearly didn’t trust my gut on those occasions.

Here is, (in a round about way) an example.

I had just moved to Sydney from QLD and one of my favourite clients had booked me for a paid campaign in Byron Bay. I was super excited as I LOVE this client and I always get to do beautiful work. A week prior… I had an overwhelming gut feeling that I should replace myself for the job. This went against ALL logic… financially and any other logic that applied. I mulled over it for a day and then  felt I had no choice but to have that awkward conversation with my client. I replaced myself with another artist who was amazing so I knew  she was in good hands.

The next day I woke up with one of those “What the hell have I done???”  gasps. I couldn’t change my mind back so went about my life.

The day I was supposed to be in QLD for the campaign… I was sitting in my studio when I received a phone call.  It was from the moving company who were  transporting my large furniture items and sentimental things down from QLD.

They were 3 days early.

Not only were they early… but the truck driver was irate that he couldn’t get down my street… a long story short, I spent the afternoon calming him down so I didn’t have all my stuff broken as well as finding a place to park the truck and borrowing a Ute so we could move my precious things to where they needed to be.

Had I been in QLD… he said  (in the most irate voice) that he would have dumped it all at a storage shed and  it would have cost another grand at least to them have it moved a second time. Not to mention I had a sneaking suspicion my things would have been damaged.

My campaign money would not have covered the cost.

Needless to say… I gave my gut instincts a high five and was grateful nothing got broken by the neanderthal who hated his job. I also still have a great working relationship with that client whom I still work with today.

BEWARE THE CARROT DANGLER

If I ever hear the words “this will be excellent exposure for you“, as a rule, I run away as fast as I can.

I find this is a line fed to artists when the asking party needs to convince the artist to work for them because in fact it is better for the asker than the artist.

In other words… “this will be excellent exposure for you” translates to “I need you, but I dont want to pay you… and this is all I can think of to say to sound attractive to you”

Those TFPs that I have done where I have been fed that line… never works out the way it’s promised it will. Never.

You know what is great exposure? A commercial during super bowl. Is this job a super bowl add? No? Think HARD before you say yes.

There IS of course that one exception to the rule… which is:

You independently see value in investing your time in this job.

I have said yes to TFP jobs where this horrendous line has been fed to me. This was my response (or something like it)

” You know, I know you think this is going to be great exposure for me. This is going in a national magazine and it sure does sound amazing. However, it’s not actually ‘great exposure’ …No one is really going to pull your magazine apart and search fro my tiny name in tiny writing down the spine in hope to catch whoever did that most beautiful natural ,barely there makeup on that naturally gorgeous model, then try and find me to book me for more work from that picture. I do, however, need some more natural tear sheets for my book so of course I would love to come along. Please dont use that line again.”

We all had an awkward laugh and it turned out to be a great shoot and the rest was history… and I bet they never use that line on anyone again.

*just note I knew I could speak like that as I had rappore with the client… I wouldn’t say that to just anyone… or maybe I should ha!

This is true UNLESS the exception to the rule is played… and if your play THAT card… all responsibility is on you. If it’s a bad outcome… you can’t complain about it. You made that choice. You, however, can pat yourself on the back if the gamble pays off. But for Petes sake… do not keep saying yes to TFP, getting a disaster outcome… then do it all over again. Learn that lesson quickly… for the sake of the industry! Say yes only on special occasions.

IN CONCLUSION…

The biggest lesson I have learnt about this whole debate is unless the job is with a group of excellent individuals all collectively getting together to create an image/s that will elevate everyone’s portfolio… or if you personally see value in doing this TFP after long consideration… you should say no.

Now, of course for the newbies in the industry.. TFP is essential to create a circle of working relationships to also work on your own craft….it’s your time for building a foundation of good people around you and this is an excellent way to do it. However, this period can’t go on for too long. I also think any job that isn’t purely for portfolio is probably taking advantage of you. You wont die if you say no. The sooner you say no to TFP the sooner you attract paid work.

I think the key is communication. Saying things like ” I am in a period where I am building my folio so I would love to say yes.” then ” I have come to the end of my initial folio build, so thank you for the offer, but I am currently transitioning into paid jobs”… or something along those lines ensure you are in control of your decisions. Develop your compass by checking out the final products of the tests you said no to… if you wish some you had said yes to… keep practicing your selections.

Then… as your career grows… TFP turns into valuable test shoots with people you love also working with. The definition of TFP changes and you create great shoots to work on your folio.

Dont get caught in the perfectionism trap… your folio will never be perfect… I dont know any creative who has stopped working on their folio. Say no sooner than you feel comfortable as it will contribute to a better industry.

Once you have your basic folio, only say yes in very special circumstances. The opportunities will keep coming if you are proactive. Commissioning your own tests for your folio is always a good alternative to TFP.  The other way to say that is “if there is no door of opportunity… build your own door.”

There are so many grey areas in this debate.

Not everyone will agree with what I am saying too.

I think each opportunity should be evaluated case by case. If you think its a job that you should be getting paid for.. then say no. You wont ruin your career. I still test all the time… ( test is another word for TFP ) most of us still test, however with people we know and love and are sure to get amazing results from. Its the best way to stay fresh, current and reinvent our folios to be current in the industry. So the notion to NO TFP FULL STOP is a bit restrictive to possibilities in your career.

I am sure the artists on Dallas Buyers Club saw the immense value in the extremely low budget job… and boy did it pay off.

But those offers dont come around all that often.

Listen to your instincts and get all the facts before you make a decision.

USE TFP AS A TOOL FOR YOUR CAREER… DONT LET TFP USE YOU.

If in doubt… watch this. Your doubt is probably your instincts telling you to not do it.

How Do You Define Yourself?

Happy New Year! I trust everyone had a great silly season and are all either slowly getting back into work mode… or by the looks of it on Facebook for my 9-5 friends… violently ripped out of holiday bliss land and thrust into jobs they loved last December. Eep. Maybe some changes to be made there my friends in 2014.

Yesterday I decided to join the world and open my laptop for the first time this year. After a couple of hours I realised that this task was too much to be done solo so headed to a friends place to have a work day. I have a lot to be looking forward to this year and time to get my skates on.

My evil plan of a shared workday to inspire ‘getting back into the swing of things’ didn’t really work as I just got distracted. A lot. I later found out that this was the case for a lot of us… so am letting myself off with a warning.

After a couple of great  You tube distractions… my friend asked me if I had seen the TEDx talk by the worlds most ugliest women?

Um… excuse me?

I was assured this wasn’t what I thought it was going to be… (in my mind I imagined one of those horrific montages making an unfair example of someone who doesn’t look like everyone else)…We tracked down the video and for the next 10 minutes I was inspired and in awe of the amazing Lizzie Velasquez and how she viewed her life. I was inspired by her view of the world and was one of those people who come along and remind you to stop being a baby about small things and focus on the juicy fruit that’s a little further out there on the shaky branches. Not only inspiring but entertaining as well.

After watching this I felt like 2014 was ready to rock and roll… I just had to join it. Combine that with watching ‘About Time’ … and I have inspiration and motivation dripping off the walls.

I couldn’t NOT share this.

Hello 2014…

I am happy to finally meet you.