Academy News
Marietta Carter-Narcisse, makeup designer May 28, 2014

Marietta Carter-Narcisse, internationally renowned educator and celebrity makeup artist, has a passion for sharing beauty that’s apparent in everything she does - whether she’s standing with a color palette in hand, brush poised before a famous face ready to be made up; or lecturing before a classroom, training a whole new generation of makeup artists. Marietta joins the TV & Cinema Academy as Cinema Master.

Marietta Carter-Narcisse, makeup designer

Your work is directly related to the character descriptions in the script and how you bring them to life for the director.

Marietta Carter-Narcisse, makeup designer

May 28, 2014

Marietta Carter-Narcisse, internationally renowned educator and celebrity makeup artist, has a passion for sharing beauty that’s apparent in everything she does - whether she’s standing with a color palette in hand, brush poised before a famous face ready to be made up; or lecturing before a classroom, training a whole new generation of makeup artists. Marietta joins the TV & Cinema Academy as Cinema Master.

What would be your Definition of a Makeup Artist?

My definition of a Makeup Artist for film is someone who can interpret the vague and the nebulous of characters and concepts from a director’s “mind’s eye”, bring it to fruition by making it tangible on screen.

Do you think there is a difference between a general Makeup Artist and a Cinema Makeup Artist?

Yes, I believe that there is a difference between a general Makeup Artist and a cinema Makeup Artist. A general makeup artist doesn’t deal with breaking down a script, or continuity.  The makeup is not necessarily character-driven so you can do any style of makeup.

However, for cinema, the script dictates the work of the makeup artist. You are creating characters, so your work reflects the characters that you are doing, which could be anything from period to contemporary to futuristic.  Your work is directly related to the character descriptions in the script and how you bring them to life for the director. Cinema makeup artists must read and breakdown scripts maintain continuity and pay attention to minute details. They must have some basic understanding of how to man a department, how to shop for supplies, how to budget. They must be timekeepers, highly organized and efficient at budgeting time. They must work closely with the AD department on scheduling by creating realistic “guestimates” for getting each actor through makeup.  Your work is not in a vacuum; you must collaborate with other departments constantly.

What brought you to this industry? What are you the most fond of in this industry, is it relationships with actors, directors, producers, the transformation that you can operate on characters,…?

I was introduced to this industry in the early 1980’s through my youngest brother Ian M. Carter, who at the time was working with the hit Motown recording group The Commodores.  Through him, I met the legendary singer Natalie Cole, and quickly became her seamstress/wardrobe stylist, makeup artist & hair stylist and personal assistant and confidant.
I am most fond of the complex combination of elements that it takes to make it all work, especially the relationships you develop with the actors, directors, producers, the costume designer the hairstylist, your co-workers on set, and mostly the evolving and transformation of developing a character from beginning to end.  There is a high that comes with bringing each character to fruition…there is nothing like it.

What are the basic requirements to be a Makeup Artist in the movie industry?

The basic requirements for a Makeup Artist in the movie industry are:
1. Passion
2. Great attention to detail or detailitis.
3. An innate sense of organization.
4. The love of routine.
5. The ability to think quickly on one’s feet.
6. The ability to be a team player.
7. The ability to not take things personal.
8. Understand the hierarchy of a film set and who sets the tone.
9. Read basic body language and personalities.
10. Know your worth and how to negotiate for it.
11. Respect each person’s role in the film making process.
12. Understand the importance of continuity and the role it plays in making a film.

What are you the most proud of in your career?

I am very proud of several things in my career, but what I have been most proud of, is the balancing act between maintaining a successful career with raising my son and creating a very strong family unit.  I loved the organizational structure and extensive research that I did with my team on the movies Malcolm X, Tina: What’s Love Got to do with it, and The Jackson’s – An American Dream.  Because of the historical and biographical nature of these projects, I spent a lot of time researching to bring as much real-life elements to each project.  I feel really proud when I watch my work on the big screen, especially knowing the challenges that I might have encountered along the way.  Seeing my work makes me smile to myself because every end result has a back-story and sometimes, you are the only one who knows the story.

Some MUAs in the USA and in Europe say that MUAs are not enough recognized in the industry, do you agree?

As a crucial part of a multi-billion dollar industry, I agree that we are not recognized enough. We are truly the “unsung heroes” of the industry in general.  We are usually the first ones to see the actors as soon as they arrive to base camp, in whatever condition they might be in.  However, when they leave the makeup and hair trailer in character, most producers, directors and other onset industry professionals do not have any idea what we (makeup, hair and wardrobe) might have gone through to get them camera-ready.  Many times we create “magic” to make the day flow smoothly.

What is your first impression of our TV and Cinema Academy project?

My first impression of the MAKE UP FOR EVER TV & Cinema Academy project can be summed up in one word: “Revolutionary”.

 

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  • TV & Cinema Academy,
  • Cinema Master