In less than a year, Complections graduate Ashley Bull has established herself remarkably well in the make-up industry: she has already worked on five feature films, with four more in the pipeline for 2011. Ashley graduated from the Complete Make-up Artist Program (32 weeks) in August 2010. It is clear that Ashley is making a name for herself in the make-up industry. What’s her secret?
When asked what first interested her in make-up artistry, Ashley’s passion for the trade was all too evident. “I used to apply fashion make-up on my friends in high school,” Ashley said. “They would often come to me for prom or if they were going on a date. I always found it really rewarding to see the look on someone’s face when they see themselves in the mirror and love how they look.”
Ashley fell in love with film and television make-up years before attending Complections though. “I was wardrobe assistant on a feature called Leslie, My Name Is Evil two years before I came to Complections,” Ashley said. “It was nerve-wracking at first — movie sets run like well-oiled machines — but you get into it quickly.”
Attending Complections allowed Ashley to develop the skills that went hand in hand with her appreciation of make-up. “My teachers at Complections were great,” Ashley said. “The class sizes were small, which was really good. The classes also focused on career skills and not just applying make-up, which is really important.”
“The job posting system is also really great,” Ashley continued. “It’s important for students to apply to as many postings as possible — theatre, fashion shows, short student films, creatives — even if they aren’t in the area that they ultimately want to work in.”
During her studies at Complections, Ashley had the phenomenal opportunity to volunteer on the set of the award-winning film Trigger. Complections graduate Marnie Cossarini worked on the film as Head of the Make-up Department.
Two months after graduating, Ashley landed her first role as Head of the Make-up Department for a short student film. “It was terrifying at first,” Ashley recalled with a smile. “Your name is the only thing you have as a make-up artist, and it can be a bit overwhelming.”
“It’s healthy to be nervous, but you do need to feel confident in yourself,” Ashley added. “After all, you just devoted eight months to learning a skill!”
Shortly after, Ashley assisted on the first movie that she received IMDB credit for, the soon-to-be-released I’m Yours. It was recently announced that this film will be featured at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this year.
Her second key job was for a TV movie called The Deadly Game, which is currently in post-production. “The Deadly Game was an opportunity that I actually received through the>Complections job posting system.”
Ashley’s next film, The Bright Side of the Moon, was shot this past spring in Algonquin, Ontario. Ashley once again worked as Head of the Make-up Department for the three-week shoot. This film offered a unique opportunity because it was director Farhad Ahi’s first English-language film. The movie focuses on a married couple who emigrates to Canada from Iran. When they win the Canadian lottery, the wife is kidnapped and held for ransom. When the husband refuses to pay, the woman must find a way to escape on her own. The story is essentially one of overcoming trial and realizing that you are stronger than you think.
“Bright Side really focused on deteriorating make-up,” Ashley said. “Consistency was crucial to the believability of the story. The female lead had to go from an office look, to being thrown into the back of a truck, to being beaten up by her kidnappers. On the fifth day of the kidnapping, her finger is cut off, so the bandage that was used to wrap her hand had to deteriorate as well. Plus, the film wasn’t shot sequentially, so as a make-up artist, I really had to pay attention to continuity issues. This movie definitely relied heavier on make-up than any other film I have yet done.”
Ashley’s advice for make-up students and grads? “You have to volunteer. Think of it as a continuation of your education,” she said. “Jobs will come to you if you volunteer. It’s really a trickle effect: if you get one, you will get more. I was hired for Bright Side because of my work on The Deadly Game. That’s why it’s also really important to keep in touch with the crews that you work with!”
What’s up next for Ashley? “I am working on four more projects this year: a short and three feature films,” Ashley said. “I’m probably going to apply for IATSE membership at the end of the year because I will have all of the requirements by then.” Ashley’s enthusiasm, hard work and networking skills have definitely paid off in her career to date. We look forward to celebrating her continued success!