Who’s Who on a Film Set? Part 2

In Part 2 of Who’s Who on a Film Set, we look at the job roles of the Costume and Hair and Make-up departments.

Both of these departments deal with the overall look and finish of each individual artist in the production – be that the Main Artist or SA. The designers work with the Director to set the style of each character, which is then carried through the story-days of the production.

The departments work in a very similar way and the team members are all very welcoming. The trucks that they work from are a treasure trove of fun, After all, who doesn’t love dressing up!


The Costume department consists of a Designer, Supervisor and Assistants. The bigger productions may also have a Crowd Costume Supervisor.

Taking measurements for costumes

The roles are allocated as per the needs of the production and therefore the Assistant or one of the Supervisors may fit the SAs.

Some productions that are set in modern times will ask the SAs to arrive wearing their own clothes. If that happens, you will be given a list of what to wear.

It’s usually a good idea to take a couple of options in case the designer doesn’t like your choice and always wear unbranded clothes.

All costumes are designed and sourced by the Designer whilst the Supervisor looks after the everyday running of the department. This includes department call-times and booking daily staff, makers and breakdown artists – they make costumes look old, dirty or even battle worn. They also work with the 2nd AD to set the call-times for the Main Artist to make sure they are ready to be on–set.

Costume Assistants dress the Main Artists and look after them during the shooting day. They keep continuity notes, make sure that the actor is warm and happy and they do the final checks before each take to make sure everything is perfect. They also maintain, repair and launder the costumes as required throughout filming.


As with the Costume Department, the Make-up team also has a Designer, Supervisor, Hair and Make-up Artists and sometimes a Trainee. Productions with a large SA call will also have a Hair and Make-up Crowd Supervisor with their own team of Make-up Artists.

Their day starts with setting up the room and individual workspaces for each member of the team. For continuity, each Make-up Artists will look after particular Cast Members and maintain their look throughout filming. This can include putting on wigs, tattoos, prosthetics or applying special effect make-up like bruises, cuts or scrapes.

A Make-up Work Station

They will also have a continuity bible filled with photos of each character for each story-day of the script. This will also have information on hair accessories, wig pieces and any specific make-up used. There is also a bible for all SAs so you will have your photo taken several times during the day!

For productions set in the modern day, the SAs will be seen by the costume department for checking before lining up in groups for the Make-up Artists. They may tweak individual SA members by applying a lipstick or adding a hair accessory as required.

For Period productions, the SAs will normally have a hair and make-up fitting prior to the shoot day to establish the all over costume and make-up look. This mostly consists of hair styling and dressing, sometimes a wig maybe needed but does not necessarily involve much make-up, if any.

Any specific make-up requests will have been sent before the shoot day. However, as a rule of thumb, it’s best to arrive on set with clean hair and a natural make-up – avoid a full, heavy make-up and don’t contour.



If you want to know more about Costume and Make-Up designers watch this space as we’ll be posting crew interviews.

Learn more about the Technical Crew in Who’s Who on a Film Set? Part 3! 

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