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Thursday, 26 June 2014

My Uni Experience

Over the last 3 years I have been studying Theatrical hair and Makeup for Theatre & Media there is a link here to the college website. First a foundation degree and then a BA top up. I thought I would write a post on my experience and whether it was worth it or not.

So I applied on a whim (2 days before all deadline dates closed), I had nothing to do and was unsure about uni, where I wanted to go in life, so I honestly thought 3 years to have fun and learn something interesting. I did have an interest in make up and knew I wanted to use my creative skills somewhere. I never dreamt I'd get in. I sort of resigned myself to going travelling and doing seasons in Greece etc. I had actually started my Greece season when I got an email to say I had been invited to an interview, So I flew home took the interview and flew back to Greece again.

BA Year Group
The course is run by Brighton but the college was based in Worthing (about half an hour from Brighton) I left housing til last minute - I was having fun in Greece remember?! ( I would advise not to do that). So the day of moving in came and I was freaking out, I hadn't even seen the property before I moved in, turns out all my housemates were lovely and a bit weird (we had a major weed head living with us) and the house was typical student living -grotty. And as for the course I was uber scared, thoughts of what if I'm rubbish and everyone else is amazing. To be honest I think all the girls in my year thought this, along with is it going to be really 'bitchy' but no one was and it wasn't like mean girls!

 The first year we learnt the basic looks, foundation application, airbrushing, heavy eye looks, creative looks, lip work and did period hair and make ups (I think up to the 1930s for the first year), I loved this it was so much fun apart from there was a period of time when the make up looked the same (white face bright cheeks etc) but part from that it was all go go go!

We had a written folder where I kept a diary type thing of what I had learnt that day and how I and achieved the look and history of all the periods we learnt about so for example Victorians, Georgians 1920s flapper girls I loved the history side and ended up researching a lot. So my first year was the most amazing thing ever I did a few photo shoots, went on lots of fun nights out, had a great -ish house and met a lovely boy - I'm still with said lovely boy (Hi Tristan if you happen to be sneaking on my blog!).

White Rabbit Hair, Make up and Prothetic Nose Done by Rosie Mason
On to my second year - I moved in to a flat with 1 of my housemates from the previous year,  and it was that time when my mum was like 'get a job I can't afford your rent anymore' and I was like great there goes my social life. However I lost a lot more than my social life, I think my grades suffered slightly from it, I couldn't randomly decide to do work experience so my portfolio is some what lacking. So in all I had to juggle uni work, social life, work experience, boyfriend seeing, DVD watching and hangovers.

But what I learnt at uni was even better than the first year, we did prosthetics with Shaune Harrison if you don't know who he is you can check him out here, his work has inspired me greatly. But to give you a very brief over view he's worked on Harry Potter, Star wars and the Hunger Games. We carried on our period hair and makeups with the help of Mandy Gold, she's an incredible makeup artist and worked on loads of things check her out here.

We also carried on with period hair styles, up until the 1980s with the lovely Jason. We did body painting which was fun and I love doing that if I get the chance to. We had a work experience unit which I would have loved to have made it bigger and better than it was but work got in the way. Working is a catch 22 you need the money to live but then you also need to be available to concentrate on your studies.

Body Painting Rosie Mason Featured On CrownBrush IG

So the third year came round and it was a top up, and I was sort of like should I carry on, its going to turn extremely academic and I'm not a very good writer, however I really wanted to make a wig desperately so, so I thought meh its only another 3 grand for course fees, lets do it. Well it was a emotional roller coaster ride, I moved in with 2 lovely girls Jess and Dee (Hi girls if you're reading miss you both lots :( )  and we all sat and made wigs together, but it was such hard work, I had to drop an evening at work to help make it easier on my studies but I should have won the lottery so I could have quit my job and then concentrated solely on uni.

 But anyway the last year has been the hardest and the best, there were times when I really wanted to quit just from the stress and pressure I put my self under, but my flat and flatmates were all lovely. But I had fun doing an Alice and Wonderland collaboration with different disciplines (actors, costume and set designers). I made a prothetic nose piece with hair punching in it, so you could do anything really within the collaborative piece. Then there was the dreaded dissertation, I actually really enjoyed writing it as I based on something which I found extremely interesting, whether I'll get a good grade is another story.

1930s Wig I made and styled - Rosie Mason

Overall there is a massive influx of people wanting to become make up artists, its a cool career to have, but its very competitive, you have a mix of home taught make up artists and uni taught makeup artists all trying to get jobs, infact theres too many people to the amount of jobs available, so if you want to do make up you have to be committed to become very competitive. You can't just become a make up artist over night, a lot of work goes into it and at the in beginning work will be done for free, with images as payments, this if fine for the short term but ultimately you can't work for free forever so there comes a point where you need to start making money from it.

Over the time spent at uni I have spent around £1,500 (ish) on basic kit which uni got in and then you buy it off them, this total doesn't include extra things I've added to my kit, so be prepared for fork out a small fortune to keep your kit up to date with new products and brushes etc. If you embark on a course like this I would advise trying to get a job on a make up counter as at least you are learning your trade, and not working in a food shop like me. I think you don't really need to do the BA top up, I did because being able to have wig skills on your CV looks great but if you want to go out into the work place with out a BA (hons) you will still get work.

I think home taught make up artists are great, but I couldn't home teach my self and you never know who you may meet in terms of contacts at uni and where things may lead. You also meet so many new and different people. If you are struggling to decide to go to uni to learn makeup, just remember the courses will still be there in the following years maybe teach yourself a bit with you tube etc and you will never be too old to start a uni degree. So take your time and make sure its something you really want to do. This course wasn't a walk in the park, and I'm not saying its a really hard course but a lot more time and effort goes into it to get good results out of it.

Rabbit Ears For Production -Rosie Mason
What am I doing now I hear you ask? Well not much, I have moved back home (the isle of wight) to get a job there to save up for my next adventure, I want to carry on working in the make up industry however I need a some money behind me to make it work, and there is little scope for make up artists on the island. So I'm looking to save up here, move off to a bigger area, hopefully with the boyf and then maybe try to get my foot in the door within the make up industry whether it be counter work or something else.

I think if I could change things I would have avoided getting a job (unless it was counter work) as it doesn't help you study to your best abilities or gain any work experience, I would have considered a different uni as there aren't typical halls in Worthing and I felt I some what missed out on the 'typical uni lifestyle'.

 Looking back at my 3 years at uni I have had the best times of my life, but also the worst times. however all in all I enjoyed my self so that's the main thing and I've become a stronger person and learnt valuable life lessons and I think from that point of view uni was definitely worth my time.

I know this has been along blogpost and if you've got to the end thank you ever so much for reading :)


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