Growing up on a farm in Connecticut, Michael Mosher knew he wanted to be a makeup artist since he was 7 years old. He would watch horror movies on Saturday afternoons and dreamed of making those monsters come to life. Michael would practice on his friends and family and by the time he got to college, he felt his skills were well beyond what he could learn in the classroom. Not long after college, he learned how to apply beauty makeup and started booking jobs on television and film in sunny San Diego. He took his passion and artistry and moved to Los Angeles where his career is taking off and his dreams are coming true.
Ninetofivehell.com got the chance to chat with Michael about his career, motivation and what it takes to break into the industry.
9to5: How does someone break into the industry?
These days, it’s VERY hard. It’s always been hard but the normal routes I took when I got into the biz are no longer available. It’s a lot of who you know, but now-a-days, it’s even more a lot of working for free, working as an intern for free, meeting the right people socially and bugging them till you can work for free.
9to5: What TV show are you on and how did that come to be?
Right now I’m working on a show for the CW network called the Originals. I’ve known the woman who’s the makeup department head for years. We first worked together on a film called Dead and Breakfast in 2003, and we’ve worked on several projects since. She called me and I said YES.. I’d love to be on a TV series full time. I know it’s hard work. A SHORT day is 13 hours… our last day of shooting last season was 21 hours. The hours are terrible, but we have a good cast and a nice crew and that always helps to keep a sense of humor and some sanity.
9to5: How do you keep yourself motivated everyday?
After doing makeup for a living pretty much full time since 1991, I still love what I do. There have been ups and downs, but motivation comes from passion. I LOVE doing makeup. I love pretty makeup, I love monster makeup, I love character makeup, I love to figure out how to accomplish Special FX makeup. It’s all good to me. I have a theater degree, so if I wasn’t for Film and TV, I’d probably be a poor theater nerd in NYC.
Where have we seen you work? Any particular tv shows or movies? (Credit: IMDB)Editor’s Note: These are just a few highlights of Michael’s resume.
Killer Women (TV Series) (special makeup effects artist) 2014
Decoding Annie Parker (special makeup effects artist) 2013
The Newsroom (TV Series) (make up artist) 2012
Luck (TV Series) (make up artist) 2011-2012
Cowboys & Aliens (make up artist) 2011
Bring It On: Fight to the Finish (Video) (additional make up artist) 2009
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (TV Series) (special makeup effects artist) 2008-2009
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (TV Series) (special makeup effects artist) 2008
Resident Evil: Extinction (On-set makeup effects technician: Tatopoulos Studios) 2007
9to5: What would you tell someone who hates their job and wants to start their own business?
You can hate you job without hating your life. Find something you’re passionate about and do that but you may not be able to do it for a living. It may come in as a money making hobby. Not everything that you have passion for can be a business that makes money. However the world is a pretty flat place, and if you can’t find something that you LOVE that can be turned into money, then find a way to love what you do in your spare time. NEVER let something that bothers you at work affect how much you’re bothered outside of work.
I have a side company that makes magic tricks. It was started for $500 in my living room. It won’t pay my total bills but in between movies or during slow spotsit keeps me fed and keeps a roof over my head. You don’t have to always do what you love but find love and passion in what you do. There is no reason in this century to have a job that makes you miserable. It’s VERY hard to go from poor to richbut you can go from poor to happy.
9to5: Any other advice?
It does NO ONE any good to complain. If you have a complaint, offer a valid more positive suggestion. If you JUST complain, not only will no one listen but people will become dismissive. No one wants to be around that asshat who bitches but doesn’t offer any sort of positive spin or solution. It’s the difference between a true leader and the office douchebag. A leader will have solutions. Sometimes, the more outside the box, the more interesting the outcome. What complainers have to realize is that SOMETIMES, life just has to be inconvenient. Learn to pick your battles and see the difference.
I rarely have bad days. You can look at life as a challenging, interesting, occasionally odd adventure, or you can let it stress you out. I choose not to be stressed. Stress is a choice, and the ONLY person it hurts is you. Same with jealousy, shame, fear, and anger. All are emotions that do you far more damage than they do anyone else. Let them go. Find a better emotion or find a solution.
Interested in learning more about Michael? Visit themakeupguy.com.