Assisting is one of the best things that a new artist can do to help develop their skills and advance their career, and sadly the rules that can help you become a great assistant aren’t taught in school.
That’s where Assisting Rules! by Celebrity Makeup Artist, Educator and former Assistant, DeShawn Hatcher comes in.
You might remember seeing this book mentioned in our previous article 10 Books Every Makeup Artist Should Read.
The book is split into 4 sections: Research, Marketing, Communication and You Got The Gig and each of these sections include topics such as: things to research, ongoing education, self-promotion, branding, organisation, cover letters, how to call, reviewing your performance.
The book includes homework by way of research forms, self-assessment sheets, follow up sheets, and there are lots of real-world scenarios that have been included so you can get a real understanding about what happens on set, and the things that a great assistant should be doing.
Sprinkled throughout the book are tip and quotes from big name artists such as Kevin James Bennet, James Vincent and Roshar, as well as from Deshawn herself.
“The key, head person in charge, lead artist, your boss, the one who hired you, is the reason you’re on set!” DeShawn Hatcher
I love the conversational style of the writing. As someone who has watched lots of Deshawn Hatcher’s videos on her YouTube Channel it was like hearing it read in her voice.
There are so many great tips on how to land an assisting gig and what is expected of an assistant. There’s a whole chapter on set etiquette which is essential reading for anyone who wants to assist including things you should do before you start approaching artists and so much more.
The book is only available in soft-cover and is only available from the U.S. which does make it expensive for us here in Australia. At the time of writing purchasing the book + shipping to Australia is approximately $60AUD. As someone who reads everything on my iPad I’d love to see an e-book get released.
I’m a self-confessed grammar nerd so the spelling errors and grammatical errors were like daggers to my heart.
My take-aways from the book
Preparation is vital.
Before contacting an artist to apply to assist you should research them. Read what you can about them, study their work, subscribe to their blog if they have one and connect on social media. Make sure that your website is up to date and that your social media accounts are a good representation of your work and of you personally.
Be professional at all times.
Not just in your application email/letter, but also on your social media, your on-set performance and attitude. The way that you act will reflect upon the key artist, so if they think there is a chance that you’ll act inappropriately it’s unlikely you’ll land an assisting role.
Learn what is expected of you
If you are lucky enough to get an assisting gig ask the artist what they expect of you before the job. Are you there to clean brushes and get coffee? Are you going to be applying makeup? Whatever it is that they want from you, do it with a smile.
After a job take some time to reflect on what you learnt, saw and did. Send a follow-up email to the artist thanking them for the opportunity and asking for some feedback on your performance. If you get constructive criticism don’t defend your actions. Thank them for taking the time to explain to you so that you can perform better next time.
Grammatical errors aside Assisting Rules! is an invaluable resource for new makeup artists and hairstylists looking to assist established artists in beauty, fashion or print.
This book review is just my own opinion, and doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinion of everyone here at Makeup Freedom. The book was purchased by myself. If you have a book you’d like to have reviewed feel free to contact us.