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Hollywood comes to Halifax; Hollywood Make-up Artist Thomas E. Surprenant visits Calderdale College

21st July 2014 <b>Hollywood</b> comes to Halifax; Hollywood Make-up Artist Thomas E. Surprenant visits Calderdale College

Last month, Calderdale College was honoured to play host to Emmy and Academy award winning Make-up Artist Thomas E. Surprenant renowned throughout the industry for his incredible work. Thomas has worked on a huge list of blockbuster films and smash hit TV series such as; Mad Men, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Trek, The Grinch who Stole Christmas, Donnie Darko and Buffy the Vampire Slayer to name but a few.

Thomas has been working as a make-up artist in the industry for over 28 years: “Well most of my family worked in the film industry, I was discouraged at first to get in to it because it wasn’t the glamorous thing that a lot of people imagine it to be. I had an aptitude and a love for art and I was eventually introduced to other make-up artists.

“I started learning on my own and with the guidance of some old-time make-up artists I became good at it; I started getting introduced to people and was pointed in the right direction. I worked my way into the union and word of mouth spread that I was talented, a good worker, could perform my duties and I didn’t complain.”

Students and lectures from Calderdale College and colleges across Yorkshire gathered in numbers to watch Thomas demonstrate his outstanding work which has pioneered the industry. Thomas imparted his knowledge of the profession, tips for getting into industry and what it’s like to be a part of the industry to College students and invited them to ask questions throughout the demonstration.

When asked about the event and how these types of events can help aspiring students, Thomas told us: “I think it’s really a wonderful thing. I don’t see a lot of this happening back in the US and I think it’s brilliant. I think it is rewarding for the person speaking and I think it’s rewarding for the people watching.

“I think you can also get a lot out of it and hopefully take from the positive and learn from that person’s mistakes and shortcomings.”

Hair, Media Make-up Lecturer, Pamela Clare who organised the event said: “It has been absolutely brilliant; what I really liked about it was that lots of other college’s and lots of other make-up artists have been so inspired. It has just been phenomenal and the feedback from everybody has been great.

“Today was about giving back to young make-up artists and inspiring them to hopefully achieve the standards and heights that Thomas has reached.

“Thomas went into depth on what it is like to be a make-up artist. To hear it reiterated backs up first-hand everything that lectures all over the country including me have been trying to hammer home. It’s about getting out there constantly and promoting and making the most of yourself.”

Thomas believes students thinking of working in the industry need to be multi-talented to continue to perfect their craft: “Learn everything, the more you know about your craft and related craft the better off you are because it opens up more doorways for you.

“If you just do beauty make-up you are limited on what you can do and if you just do effects make-up you are limited on what jobs are available. If you do hair, make-up, make wigs and hair pieces or fabricate prosthetics you will have a better understanding of the craft and the job opportunities will become more and varied and sometimes you can earn a bit more money. It is always a good thing if you are multi-talented and diverse in your field.”

Charlotte Bottomley, Level 3 Hair, Media Make-up student at Calderdale College watched the event: “The event was really beneficial because it gave me an insight into what the industry is like. Just to be able to speak to him about what he does and how he does it is really good as well.”

Thomas E, Surprenant’s top tips for becoming a successful make-up artist and breaking into the industry;

· Go out and find independent projects to work on

· Make use of the internet

· Network as much as possible

· Get yourself out there and show off your work

· Speak with other professionals

· Let people know that you are willing and available

· Be patient and move at your own rate

· Pay attention to what you are doing and not what anyone else is doing

· Always stay professional

The Hair, Media Make-up course offers students a diverse, creative and hands-on experience. Hair, Media Make-up Lecturer, Pamela Clare is a highly active member of the industry and is the new Head of Make-up on the Bronte blockbuster which is due to hit screens next year. Pamela welcomes students to take advantage of her wealth of industry experience and contacts as she guides them through the course, broadening their skills and nurturing their creativity. The course is filled with opportunities to participate in a vast number of competitions and extra-curricular work experience which allows students to develop and further their career.

If you are interested in studying Hair, Media Make-up at Calderdale College or would like further information on any of the courses please visit: or call: 01422 399 316.

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