Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How To Handle Peer Over Stepping

In a world where there are so many creative minds all in one room, many times your peers don't realize that they're crossing the line from suggestion to direction.  I'm always open to suggestion.  If you can improve on something, why not?  But when your peer is actually giving you direction and over stepping the boundaries, something needs to be said.

I had this happen a few months back where the stylist of a production I was working on was doing a lot of over stepping.  He felt that because he was friends with the director of the project, that he can tell me what to do.  He was pushy, loved to hover instead of doing what he was originally there to do and I even caught him "adjusting" makeup & hair! As many of you know me, I wasn't having it.  I took steps to make him aware that he was over stepping his boundaries.  Sometimes following these steps works and sometimes it doesn't.  Whether you want to deal with it or not is completely up to you.  Here's what I did:

  • I spoke to the AD (Assistant Director) about how I felt.  She pulled him aside and expressed how I felt (that didn't work).
  • I spoke to the 2nd AD (that didn't work either).
  • I pulled him aside myself and expressed how I didn't appreciate his constant over stepping (that worked for all of 2 days).
In the end, the production and I didn't see eye to eye so it didn't work out, but I can't say that I never said my piece.  It works the same in photoshoots.  Be open to suggestion but the minute it feels like someone is over stepping, stand your ground.  If one runs you over, they all will and you've lost all control of the situation, and that's never good.  You don't have to be mean about it, but a simple "I appreciate your input and I'm very open to suggestions but I feel that you're trying to take over creatively...."  That may or may not work and it may or may not feel tense for a while but you have to express how you feel.  You were hired for a reason and that's to do makeup.  Because the client trusts that you can execute the job.  If they wanted wardrobe to do it, they would of hired them.

A Little Extra...
Did you know that in the real (union) world of TV/Film if anyone over steps their boundaries you can be fired on the spot?  Whether it's hair or makeup or props, you're there to do what you were hired for and in no way are you to over step or give any kind of suggestion (unless you're the director, producer etc).  A friend of mine who's in the union told me a story about a makeup artist who lint rolled the actor (that's wardrobe's job).  Although she meant well, she over stepped and was heavily reprimanded.  If you're makeup, you're makeup.  That's it!  You can't go around handing out bobby pins (that's hair) or giving out band aids (that's props).  Take care of what you were hired to do and everything will go smoothly.


  1. This is great. I've seen a lot of unprofessional behavior in the media world, and a lot of it stems from people who think that their whole team is supposed to wear multiple hats. A truly pro set, even if it pays nothing, has a defined role and tasks for each member of the team, and they shouldn't overlap. That's just inefficient.
    What's silly about that is if you're doing a less professional shoot for experience, you're not even GETTING good experience- because instead of focusing on your role, you're busy helping others do theirs.

  2. Unrelated, I just wanted to say that "Douchebaguette" might be one of the funniest names I have ever seen online....^^^^

    Great talking points as usual, Yosell!