08: Makeup and Behind the Scenes in Hollywood (w/ Kerry Herta)

In this episode we go backstage with an award-winning makeup pro from Hollywood to learn about the moviemaking process, successful creative collaboration, and what it takes to work on feature films and popular TV shows with this week’s guest, Kerry Herta.

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Episode Transcript

Thank you so much for meeting with me, Kerry. It’s been really a great honor to work with you and your company, bespoke pro designs. We were able to work with you guys on your new website, which was a pleasure. And I got to get a little more intimate about your work.

When we were uploading the imagery, and I was like, whoa, this is cool stuff. And so when we started the podcast, I was like, I’ve got to get Carrie on here. But, yeah.

So I just wanted to, first off, give the listeners a little bit of context to how we know each other, but I wanted to kind of dive right in. Like, I don’t know if I know anybody doing makeup at such a high level. So, anyways, I want to just thank you for coming on, taking your time to be with us.

Well, thank you for having me. It’s absolutely a pleasure to be here. I’m really enjoying it.

Thank you. Yeah. Cool.

And I kind of wanted to just dive in. What made you interested in the makeup field? What. What was the tug that got you into the industry? There’s a few tugs that got me into the industry.

I think as a little kid, I knew the arts were definitely a part of me. I didn’t know on what level yet. So as I journeyed through school and, and all that stuff, I just kind of started realizing the things that would speak to me and, you know, art and painting and all those different mediums spoke to me.

And I wanted to get into medicine, go into medical school, but having my independence, I wanted to do something that, you know, paid bills as well as kind of explore that creative side of me before I really journeyed down that other path. And in doing so, I got my license to cut hair when I was still in high school. And then in between, you know, summer and college and all of that, I met all these student filmmakers, and I got to do their projects, and I was reading their scripts.

Then there was, like, blood and guts and westerns and fights and cowboys, monsters and things that I was like, wait a minute. I can do what? So I think that just kind of opened my eyes up to a realm I didn’t really know necessarily could exist for me. So I decided I was going to explore that before I went further down the other path, and I’ve just been at it ever since.

And the two of them kind of go hand in hand because to create a good injury, you kind of got to know all that other stuff, too. Yeah. I was just wondering, does your time and experience in the medical field inspire you in particular ways, does it give you an edge on your work compared to if you hadn’t had that experience? Oh, I feel it does.

And even earlier on, I noticed it even on lower production sides, too. I started realizing what an asked that it was when I would be watching the choreography and rehearsals with the stuntmen and actors going through a scene on how somebody gets injured or, like, how they fall down a staircase and what they hid alongside, you know, along the way down. And there was times where I was like, well, the director wants the injury to be on the right side of his head, but, you know, he bashed the left
side of his face when he fell down the stairs, and, you know, just how things made sense and how I put them together and things like that.

Yeah, I felt like it was a really big asset, even, even earlier on, and I found myself, like, really diving into whatever the stunts were. That makes a lot of sense. Like, artists who do character design or, you know, figure drawing, you have to have anatomy, uh, built in, or else it’s going to look awkward.

Obviously, you can go, you know, journey through the uncanny valley, you know, on the different peaks and, and whatnot, but, you know, ultimately, you need to know where you’re at on that valley in order to produce a product that makes sense for the vision of the director or anything like that. You, you had mentioned that, uh, you know, the director wanted one thing, like, yeah, we want his gash to be on the. The top of the left side of the head.

And have you received pushback when you told the director, actually, it’s supposed to be on the left side, you know, and it’s really hit his jaw. What. How does the, how does that play out where you’re.

Are you actually speaking to the director directly? And do they accept that? Like, oh, that makes sense, or are they like, nope, just make the gash really big on the head? Well, therein lies the politics, Josh. There it is. I have had good and bad experiences with that, and fortunately, they were at the independent filmmaking stage, and that’s also, I think, a good reason why we should always start down there and work our way up.

I’ve found my way around navigating sensitivities and personalities and hierarchies, let’s just say. Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of directors that, especially at a higher level, they hire you for your experience, so they want to hear it. You know, if they’re in the moment creatively, you know, creatively, and they know that the way the light is and this angle and you know, this looks stylistically cooler to show it this way, they could be in that scene zone, but then if I say, well, do we want to
stay with that injury on that side, or do we want to make some changes to this at all to get that result, then they really appreciate you because they don’t want it to look not realistic either.

They don’t want to take people out of the story and say, well, that didn’t make sense. A lot of times, they do appreciate it. It’s how you voice it, because, like I said, they’re in their creative zone, and it’s our job to pay attention to those things and ebb and flow with their creativity.

But they essentially really are selecting us for our experience in that regard. Yeah. And I would imagine the deeper you get into the industry, the more experience that you have, the more leverage that you have as an expert to say, look, I’ve been doing this for 20 years at a high level.

Uh, you know, I know what I’m talking about. But, you know, you mentioned something where you’ve got to start somewhere and you have less leverage when you’re starting because you’re just kind of, like, producing it and you have less experience to rely on and to contribute. I was just kind of curious talking about that.

That. Where did you start? Within, I guess, Hollywood. I’m doing air quotes.

I’m not sure, you know, where Hollywood starts and ends. Within, you know, working your way up from independent films, like, what’s actually considered Hollywood. Maybe you could touch on that.

But, like, can you talk to me about your journey of progressing into these big, bigger pictures? Oh, yeah. Well, I feel like my journey is every day. Sure.

You know, I feel like I’m still on some sort of expedition every day. I feel like Hollywood is a really broad, blanket statement of our industry, really, because whilst it’s considered Hollywood in Los Angeles, California, you know, feature films are shot all over the world. So I truly feel like once you have actors and a script, a director and cameras and the whole crew base, essentially, you’ve created Hollywood in that regard.

But my journey with all of that was kind of across the board. I’ve experienced so many different aspects of this industry, like commercials, print and editorial, fashion and Runway, celebrity, red carpet, tv, features. So I actually dabbled in so many of these different arenas.

And during that, I was trying to kind of figure out what my own niche was. And while I was doing a photo shoot, I missed being on a film set and vice versa. And I was like, well, as much as I love doing this high fashion thing.

I also love making you look really gory, too. So how can I combine that? And I started learning a lot about myself and what inspired me. And I love different eras, like forties, fifties, thirties, twenties.

I love all of that. I love making somebody into something that is so unique and not even them. And I think that’s the magic of acting.

It’s all, you know, make believe and somebody getting to, you know, become something else for the day and loving all of that. I’m like, how can I combine all that together? Like, it just, it didn’t exist, really. I didn’t think, at least not anywhere I knew I could access until FX network came my way and I started doing campaigns with them for Nip Tuck.

And before that, I was doing one of their interstitial type shows, which was scripted with two show hosts. And I did that for six years on FX network when they were kind of becoming. They were becoming a network that had actual tv shows and things like that, not just cartoon or Adult swim.

And it was original content, basically, and they had the shield and nip tuck. And so the network was just getting on the map, essentially. And I was fortunate enough to start creating campaigns with them for early on shows of nip Tuck.

And we put all those elements in the very, very brilliant marketing team in FX. I mean, I just can’t speak highly enough of them. Stephanie Gibbons is their brilliant brain behind it all.

And I would work closely with her, who’s like the vice president of the network, basically, and she would show me some images and tell me some ideas because this was so long ago now. And we would just create these elaborate characters that were so unique to whatever the season was. Like, she always buried the storyline with imagery into the campaign.

So they were drawing viewers in essentially with just visuals. And so we combined all of it, character, different eras, beauty, gore. We put it all together, and I’m like, is this really happening to me? So there started that journey and, like, I’ve just been in it ever since.

And I’m so grateful and honored that now we’re doing american horror story campaigns together and still creating together. It’s just been such a gift. My goodness.

Yeah. I mean, what, what great way to, like, culminate all of your desires and your skill sets into a particular, you know, I guess, network of production. I mean, how, how cool is that? And.

But you earned it. You know, you put in time and effort and you had to also discover what you liked and didn’t like what you liked more than other things through that journey of becoming, like, a very competent artist in that industry. So, you know, you earned it.

And I think that’s not to water it down, but I think when people stick with a particular trade or creative outlet or something like that, if they’re serious about it, they’re bound to put themselves in particular positions where the opportunity eventually becomes available and you’re ready to seize that opportunity because of your experience, because of your perseverance, because of your expertise and all that hard work and dedication. And so it seems like, you know, at a particular time, they
aligned for you, but not without all that hard work getting up to there, figuring out that you didn’t want to go into the medical field, but utilizing the medical field to your advantage throughout all of that. That’s fascinating.

Before we go any further. So you’ve, you’ve mentioned Niptuck. You’ve mentioned american horror story.

What are some of the other bigger features or shows that you’ve worked on that might perk people’s ears up and be like, oh, my gosh, wow, I could. And look for you in the credits when they rewatch it? Yeah. Thank you for asking.

Recent years, something a little close to my heart was my experience working on Black Adam. And there was a couple other movies as well in the superhero realm, Eternals and, well, haunted Mansion. Recently, actually, the most recent haunted mansion.

But Eternals and Black Adam were pretty fun. That is all. Fun.

Sure. I mean, what’s cool is you’ve placed yourself in a realm where if you’re doing what you love, you’re probably pretty happy, unless it’s just an awful script or something like that. But it doesn’t seem like those would make it to the level that you’re at, so they get weeded out.

What would be your favorite production you’ve ever worked on? That might be a really difficult question. It’s like, what’s your favorite song? Who are, what’s my favorite colors? Like, a lot of them. Yeah.

Well, that is actually really, really difficult because sometimes my experience lies within the camaraderie in my makeup room and, like, how we collaborate together as a team. Sometimes it’s the experience going through the journey with my actor, even if I don’t really turn them into anything so far above what they normally look like. And sometimes it’s really, really the art of it.

And, like, I’ve created something that is so unique, so there’s so many different types of really fabulous experiences. I’ve had one interesting, I guess you could say interesting as well as favorite experience. Was when we did the american horror stories doll stories campaign.

We essentially made head to toe human dolls, and we put the joints on them and the wigs, and we made them look like real life, kind of creepy dolls. So it had all the elements of all the things I love. You know, we made them look beautiful, but creepy and weird and not human.

And, you know, we did all the things. But that collaboration was a collaboration with my brilliant clients who come up with these concepts and giving each one of these dolls a personality. But then it goes into working with the set designers, and then you get inspired by where this doll is going to be put in a set, and then the costume designers and what are they going to dress them in, and.

And then my own team, how we’re going to execute them. It’s very, very stressful because the time constraints and trying to scratch our heads and figure out how we’re going to make these things to begin with. But just the collaboration of all these artists coming together and working so symbiotically together is such a happy place for me.

And I think because that one is so recent and epic in volume, that it’s standing out to me because I really, really enjoyed watching members of my team doing 1516 hours days, but walking around the room saying, how can I help you? You know, it’s just a room full of artists. It’s a building full of artists just working together so beautifully and very proud of that, as you should be. It’s really fascinating.

You know, we’ve had musicians on the show. I’m a musician. I’ve been in bands, I’ve been in different productions where, you know, 510 people are making something.

And it’s a lot of logistics and coordination and work and expertise and personalities and tastes coming together to build this one product that has to feel cohesive once it’s done. You then extrapolate that to hundreds of people working on a tv show or a film. If you sit around for the credits of some of those productions, they go on a long time.

And it makes sense because it’s hard work and there’s a lot of moving pieces. But it’s absolutely fascinating when you actually step back and think about it, and I’m sure that you being in it all the time, you have a greater appreciation of what it really takes to make a movie, to make a great production, but it’s pretty fascinating. All of those minds, all of that taste and experience and just coming together to create something that greater than all themselves, there’s something really special
to that.

It’s cool that you are drawn, that that’s some of your favorite parts. Obviously, the end product is really, really neat to be proud of, but it makes so much sense that you love the experience, the journey, you know, not necessarily the destination is wonderful, and that’s what you’re there for. But you’re also enjoying all of that collaboration, because, for me, I love that.

Like, as a musician getting through the songwriting process and figuring out and sorting through, what is this song going to be? How would we perform it live versus recording in the studio? There’s something so magical about that. Yeah, I mean, that’s a really great analogy. It’s very similar, and it’s like a symphony, you know, like, you can’t have this whole beautiful sound without all the elements.

And, you know, I think people look at my work or they’ll look at an image, let’s say, like a campaign image, and they’ll think, wow, that was really cool. That, like, your work is great. I love what you did, but I didn’t do that by myself.

No, no. One of us did it by ourselves. You know, costume didn’t do it themselves.

Art department, you know, it’s like, it’s all the elements combined and just, like, you know, a song and a band and all that. Like, it all comes together. And I think what people aren’t really always understanding when they look at still images is especially when it’s extreme character.

Not. Not often is somebody doing that by themselves. You know, there’s obviously wig makers and, you know, hairstylists, then there’s makeup artists.

And a lot of times when we’re applying prosthetics and things like that, we’re working in tandem with each other. You know, like somebody’s putting on the wig and somebody’s, you know, putting a prosthetic on an arm, the other one’s painting the prosthetic on the other arm. You know, we’re all working together, and these.

All these elements take so much time to put together that you really can’t do just one here and one there. We’d never get it done, so. Yeah, right.

And so, you know, when I. When I look at the final end product, we’re, like, so proud. But it’s like, we are proud, you know? And I’m not above asking somebody’s opinion, because we are all creative, and maybe I’m seeing something that somebody else would see differently and make a suggestion, and that’s just like the game changer that drove this whole thing home. So I think, yeah, when you get a group of artists together, you want to just banter back and forth, and especially if you got the right
group of people together, utilize them.

I was just about to say that’s the, that’s the power in having a group of professionals with all sorts of different experiences. If you utilize that and take advantage of all of that talent in the same room or rooms, you’re going to have a way better end product that’s much more meaningful and powerful than it ever would be if it was one or two people locked into a silo, you know? Oh, yeah. And you don’t want everybody with the same skill set.

I don’t want that. I mean, I want them to have a broad skillset, but I want somebody to be stronger in one area than somebody else. And it’s almost like you’re matchmaking, really.

It’s like these two artists would be a really great team. So I’m going to put them on this thing because this person paints fast and this person applies fast. Or, you know, this person’s really, really strong at, like, you know, extreme beauty, and this one’s really good at extreme gore.

Let’s put them together. Like, you know how you can just really match artists up? I think, you know, that’s, that’s important, too. 100%.

That contrast brings out so much vibrance. We had a band on called Discord Theory for episode three, and their band name is even, like, attributing to what they are because they’re, they’re all very talented musicians that come from various backgrounds, jazz, and then, you know, another ones from, like, alternative punk rock, you know, and they all fuse together to make this very, very cool and unique sound because of their different trajectories that brought them together. So, I mean, it makes so
much sense visually that that would happen.

I wanted to know, how many people on average do you work with? You know, day to day or I guess maybe film or tv show, you know, what’s that crew that you’re in direct contact with? What’s the size of that? Well, my makeup department, ironically, on film and tv, you would think it would be pretty large. But our core daily team is quite small. Probably about, you know, four makeup, four hair.

And then we have what’s called day players, you know, heavier days with, you know, crowd scenes or something. Then, you know, we’ll just grow it from there and they’ll just work with us the days we need them and that sort of thing. But typically, the, the average size is like, you know, four, five, sometimes even three hair, three, four, or five makeup artists.

But when I do really big campaigns, I’ll have up to 60 people just in makeup. Yeah, yeah. Hair and makeup.

That’s impressive. That’s a lot. It is.

And crews range in the hundreds, like between 100, 200 plus on a movie or something like that. Sure. What do you notice about just from thinking about my business? I’m not that big of an operation.

Compared to that, how do you organize? What are some of the best tools or methods of keeping all of those moving pieces on the same page and organized? Well, first of all, it’s back to experience. It’s back to experience, but also it’s the structure of the job we do, you know, so it starts at the top, and there’s a schedule. Every day I have to meet the requirements.

The schedule x amount of people need to be ready by this particular time. So I take that and I create a plan around that. I know my big, broad picture and the end goals and what it’s going to take from soup to nuts.

And basically, I’ll just put in my own structure within the big structure, and I’ll hire according to the volume, and then I give everybody their tasks throughout the day. And, you know, here’s what’s on our plate today. This has to be done by that time because they have to be on camera shooting by this time.

So I’ll bring, you know, 14 of us in at this hour to accomplish that. Then I’ll bring another, you know, ten people in, and then we’ll rest them, and then we’ll get this going. Or, you know, see, you just kind of have to just balance it out all day long based on how full your plate is.

Really? Yeah. And that plan, being the ultimate arbiter of this person, needs to be done by three because we’re shooting them at 330 or four, whatever that gap is. And that’s that, because that determines that those people who are filming and directing and running the sound, they’re all there at 04:00 p.

m. to expect that actor actress in that place at that moment. I mean, it’s just, it’s fascinating, the level of planning, but if you all stick to that, then it works.

Yeah. And you have to stick to it. And then it works.

Yeah. And the last thing anybody wants is having a large group of executives, studio executives, sitting around waiting for, for hair and makeup to get done, and they can figure out what the delay is. Oh, it’s hair and makeup because this person isn’t ready.

So you’re in the spotlight then? Not in such a great light. Yeah. We’re first up at that all the time.

It starts with us. Yeah, we start the day and we end the day. So whatever we need to put on actors to get them ready for the day, we come in and do that.

And then at the end of the day, we can’t send them home without taking it off of them either. So, you know, especially if it’s character and a prosthetic or all those things, we. We have to stay clean them up.

Yeah. I think that’s something that I didn’t really think about, that people don’t really think about is, okay, you put the makeup on and then you’re, you’re done, but you have to wait around and actually take it off. Wow.

Well, what’s harder, putting it on or taking it off? Oh, definitely putting it on. Okay. It takes a lot longer.

When I rock climbed, I used to go all the time, and down climbing was actually sometimes more difficult than up climbing, and I was just curious about that. It makes sense for makeup. That’s a lot because you could, sometimes you could just wash it off or take the thing off.

You don’t have to be so careful. Oh, we have to be very careful when we or you do. Okay.

Adhesives on people. But it’s interesting because the challenges at the end of the day are just different. You know, actors want to go home.

They’re tired. We’re all tired. Everybody’s tired.

We know we have to probably come back and do it again tomorrow, but when we are putting these makeups on actors day in and day out, they end up with sensitivities. So we have to be very, very gentle. So sometimes at the end of the day, it may not be necessarily more difficult than applying it, but the challenges are just different.

We have to be very cautious and slow and keep them calm, because if they’re feeling any kind of discomfort, then they get worried. But yet their patience is running out because all they want to do is go home and go to bed, and, you know, and so do we. But we can’t say that.

So, you know, the challenges are just different. I mean, obviously, we’re very meticulous putting it on and making sure it looks flawless all day because we maintain it all day. We touch it up all day.

They eat lunch. We have to touch it back up and all these other things. But the challenges that the other day are just, they’re just different, but they’re there as well.

Wow. Yeah. Yeah.

It makes so much sense. And you’re painting such a. You know, a vibrant picture of what that experience is like.

I want to dive in a little more because you’re talking about working with actors, and some of them, I would imagine, are pretty high caliber and maybe particular or maybe you’d be, you know, normal people would be nervous around actors or particular actresses. I just kind of want to get an inside scoop on what is it like being, because you’re right there in their face, too. It’s not like you’re from a distance holding a boom mic or something like that.

You’re. You’re touching them physically, and, and I would imagine unless you’re doing something with their lips, might. Maybe they’re talking back and forth.

What’s that experience like? Like, what’s. What’s cool about it? What’s not cool about it? That might be a loaded question. It’s a great loaded question.

It’s. It’s. It’s.

Yeah, it’s got a lot of layers there. It’s good. Well, we are very much in their personal spaces, like you said.

You know, we’re just right there in the front of their faces, so we, we see them at their rawest and their most vulnerable, and it can go either way. And, you know, we, we being who they see first thing in the morning when they walk in our makeup trailer and they see us, you know, ready to receive them for the day. And who knows what happened to them before they got to work or how their night was.

Did they have a terrible sleep? Did you know they have an argument with a family member? You never know what’s going on in their world. And it’s our job to nurture them and embrace them. And, and more often than not, you know, they come in and just ready to get the day started and sit down, and it’s.

It’s business, and we just chat and, and, you know, just bond, really, like, we’ve. We’ve really, you know, closely connected at this point because we are right in their, their personal spaces, but sometimes they also want to take it out on us, too, and we have to think through, you know, what we’re doing and calm them down and be their therapists and all that good stuff. But meanwhile, somebody’s walking up and down the trailer steps and it’s shaking, and you’re trying to put some little detail
on them or something like that.

So it just takes a lot of just mental preparation for us to get to work for the day and just not let any of this get to us. But there’s been beautiful conversations and all kinds of things that I will always cherish working with, you know, people sitting in my chair and all that. But, you know, like we were saying, you know, at the end of the day, the challenges are different.

In the morning the challenges are different, too. So, you know, just navigating around that. But, you know, getting to see some of these actors that we know and love on the big screen, who they really actually are as a human being, is pretty special.

And I think we’re very lucky that we get to do that because we are really the only department that sits and talks to them that way. Like, we have our own space and, like a little bubble where it’s one on one and we’re having a conversation and we get to know them and we get to go through that scripted journey with them, for sure. So it’s pretty special, I’ll say.

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the growth coach of St. Petersburg. Better business, better results, better life. It’s so cool, like having conversations like this.

This is like why I love doing this, because we get to dive into something that looks on the surface level, like, yeah, and I’m not undermining it or underplaying it at all. And sometimes it’s a good thing where you go, yeah, it’s makeup, it looks great, you know, but all of the dynamic that comes to getting it on, taking it off, everything in between, how you got there with your knowledge and the understanding of anatomy and things like that, it truly is fascinating, I think, with a lot of crafts,
you know, like if you see a band perform live, they make it look easy. You know what I mean? You’re like, if.

If they’re really, really good, you’re like, they look like they’re barely trying. It’s just like part of them. But the amount of hours and the difficulty and all of the different aspects of them getting to that stage is incredible.

But when they’re performing, when they’re on it, when you see that final product, it’s like, oh, yeah, that makes sense. This is great. And, you know, and so I say that because, like, it’s kind of cool to be.

To be able to dissect it. It’s also cool that people ingest watch it for what it is that when we look at even, you know, more basic television shows, like, for instance, big bang theory, there’s no dashes and stuff like that. They do have some different scenes where they dress up in, like, Star Trek uniforms or whatever it is, but, you know, most of the time, you don’t even think about the makeup that they’re wearing, but they all are, and they all had to have their hair done, even if they look
like they’re messy and out of bed.

That was intentional. And so it’s just this. It’s.

It’s just interesting that everything in that realm is so planned and that there’s so much behind every artist and every piece of the set and the person, the people on it. Um, you could just go down these rabbit holes, and it’s fascinating. You had talked about some of the difficulties.

Uh, you had just. Just hinted at it, and I kind of wanted to know, you know, what. What would you say is one of your, you know, most major setbacks or the.

The most, you know, difficult spot you’ve been in in your industry where you go, man, uh, I don’t know about this, or this is. I don’t know how I’m going to get past this. And just curious what that was and how you overcame it.

Oh, wow. That’s a wonderful question. It’s a little multifaceted for me because I am a makeup artist and a department head who happens to have career accolades and awards, which is amazing.

But I also have a company where I educate aspiring artists, and I’m very passionate for that. And a lot of my classes becoming full are dependent on my stature as an artist. So I want to grow my stature as an artist to fuel my classes so I can teach, inspire, and mentor, not because I want to win a popularity contest in my industry.

So setting off on that journey to do that, I noticed that I had to put myself out there a little bit more, and that’s vulnerable and scary. And then I started noticing that students in markets that I’ve taught, whenever they were gaining ground on becoming a professional and established, there was a whole lot of people in that market that wanted to try to knock down my credibility in order to knock down theirs. And it’s really just competition, is all it is.

And I remember calling my agent up one day because her and I were going to do an event together, and I said, I don’t know if I can really do this anymore. I don’t know. I mean, it seems like there’s a whole lot of people talking about me in that market, and I’m just so uncomfortable about that.

And she basically said, congratulations. I was just about to say it’s kind of an indicator of where you’re at within the industry if you were getting that attention. And that’s what happened.

And, of course, you don’t realize it at the time, and it’s scary and sad, and you’re just like, I don’t understand. I’m just here to help everybody and mentor and support and make sure everybody gets jobs and share my knowledge and all these other things. But I realized at that moment that if it’s happening in the educational sphere, it’s going to, you know, happen in my career, amongst my peers.

And it really, fortunately, it hasn’t really impacted me super negatively other than I’m under the microscope. People watch what I, what I do for sure. You know, they’re, they’re always kind of cool.

That’s a good indicator that your work is at a particular level where people put you under that microscope. Yeah, my own colleagues are. Yeah.

And I now have grown to just realize that that’s my norm and that’s where I’m at and to be honored by it. Yeah. I just have to look at it like that, and I do.

And I think, I think I’ve been very fortunate that I really don’t have anybody coming for me in that way, but I’m always certainly prepared for it, that’s for sure. Yeah. I would, you know, think I’m kind of thinking about actors or sports figures, you know, lots, you know, even like scientists and any, any people competing, you know, because, like, you’re getting a makeup gig that somebody else didn’t when you got american horror story or this or that black Adam.

You know, when you get to that upper level, there’s inherent competition, and you’re never going to not, like, ruffle a feather or two because of, even if you’re the most wonderful person, 100% of the time, people are going to feel like you’re coming after them because you took that job that they didn’t. But what can you do about that? But it’s kind of interesting there. But you just, I think it’s very healthy that you just take it as a compliment and that you use that as fuel.

Yeah, well, that’s all you can do, you know? I mean, at the end of the day, it’s really just a bunch of sensitive artists wishing it were them or why didn’t I get that job? Or, you know, it’s just like, I can’t really take it personally because I’m not really doing anything personal to anybody other than just succeeding. And, like, I joke around that because now I’ve worked with FX somewhere around the 20 year kind of mark, and for us as freelancers, that’s really, there’s something to be said for
that. Not a lot of people can say they’ve held a client at that level for that long.

But I joke saying, I’m sure there’s a long line of people that want to push me down the stairs or in front of a bus, you know, just to be able to have, you know, a shot at that. But, well, watch your back. Yeah, because you don’t want that to happen.

No, but I always laugh and I even tell my students, I’m like, you know, they’re like, wow, that was amazing. Or that was amazing. And I always feel like, well, no good need goes unpunished, you know? So, like, you pull off one thing, then they know that that can be done.

So the next one is just going to be a little bit more harder than the last, right? They always are. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

You had mentioned, though, about, and I think this ties into it, you know, that you’re not in it for popularity contests, but yet people are still putting you under the microscope. So do you think that it helps that you’ve won so many awards? What is it? You had mentioned a bunch. Eight.

Yeah, eight. Eight now. Well, I think what comes along with the success is I give out a lot of jobs to do what I do.

So each big job, I’m hiring a lot of people. And when you’re one of those players in that field that give out the jobs, you’re looked at differently. And, you know, there’s the people that want to be on your jobs, and they seek out to work for you and with you.

And, you know, and then there’s the other people that are like, well, I want to work on their job or I want to work on their job. So it’s like, whatever sets you aside. And a lot of what sets me aside is my jobs are highly creative and we get to create together.

And like I was explaining earlier, my way of doing it is very collaborative. And there’s a lot of people in my position that they hire a team and they delegate, do this, do it this way, use this, use it that way, and they don’t let them really explore their own take on it, really. And in my makeup rooms, I want it to feel we’re all in it.

Together, and it’s very. A cohesive unit. It’s very much teamwork.

And so I know there are a lot of people that really are clamoring to be on those jobs with me. So now other artists are even hitting up the artist at work for me. So it’s just.

It’s interesting with the. The popularity contest in that way, because there’s always that little voice. Are you being nice to me because you want a job? It sometimes feels that way, and it’s probably not fair to the person I’m speaking to, but there’s times where I’m like, you know what? You weren’t speaking to me two years ago for any other reason when we were at these events, but now you are.

When I’d bump into you, you didn’t know me, but now you do just interesting things like that. Yeah, that’s a reality of it. Totally.

So you work with an agent, your hiring teams. I’m just kind of curious because for me, pricing is, like, my least favorite part of the job. Does your agent help you with pricing yourself and then working within the productions budget, or does the production tell your agent, who tells you, here is the budget, um, and then, you know, how many you can hire on your team? How.

How’s that process like? I’m just kind of curious on the. A little bit of the finance side of it. Oh, yeah.

Well, a large reason I have an agent is so I don’t have those money talks. Yeah. Personally, for sure.

Absolutely. I wish I had an agent so bad. Yes.

It will cost you 20% to have one, so I think you do it. All right. I feel like it would be worth it.

Yeah, it is for me. I think I’m really lucky in the regard that a lot of times, budgets come my way as is, and they trust me to attack it in the way I need to. Carrie, here’s what the ask is.

Staff it the way you need to. For the most part, they’ll trust me to get the job done and the way I need to, and they’ll trust that I’m not blowing their money in ways I don’t need to either. So I’m very, very fortunate in that regard.

But there’s a lot of times somebody will go to my agent and say, this is all we have, and she needs to make it work. And then if my agent presents that to me, I get that, then I might not be the right person for this job, because to do it right, I would need a little bit more than they’re offering. So instead of me having that conversation.

She can have it for me. Oh, that’s so nice. Yeah, it is nice.

And, you know, at the end of the day, everybody has a budget. You know, it’s how we do that dance together to put the pieces together, really. And when you come in under a budget, you know, promise, promise high, come low, that kind of thing, it’s.

You really look good. It’s such a huge bonus to do that for yourself. What is the biggest, like, the most interesting thing where you’re like, I’d love to work on this, but I have to turn it down.

Oh, wow. Well, I was asked to turn Billy Zane into Marlon Brando, and he. He’s Marlon Brando.

You put the pieces on him and the wig and the makeup, and he’s Marlon Brando. And he does it phenomenally. And I did a sizzle reel, and we did turn him into Marlon Brando.

And it was probably one of the most special things I had looked at after I’d done and said, wow, I can’t believe we just did that. And watching him act out Marlon Brando was just. That was just such a treat.

Really, really amazing. But they just didn’t have the funds, really. And I really fought through that, thinking, well, on one hand, you could just look at it like it’s a passion project and go for the gold.

And, you know, at this stage of the game, I very well could do that. And that was my plan. I was going to go to Tahiti and shoot all this footage and this beautiful script and go along that path, and they literally had no money for it, and I was gonna go, and something else came my way that I had to be an adult and.

And not do it, because I also knew what they were asking me to do without the money wasn’t gonna be as special as what it could look like if they had it. Just wait a little longer, get some more funding, and it could just be epic. And they just wanted to get it done.

And that, for me, I kind of. Yeah. So I was on the fence of, do I walk away or treat it as a passion project and see what I can donate to the project to make it, you know, look really, really good.

But then when some other client came my way with, you know, a project that. That was on the plate, I kind of just had to take it. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Like you said, you sometimes just have to, like, wake up and be like, well, that’s just even as good of an opportunity, because there’s been some things where I. It’s, you know, business comes to me, I’m like, that is a cool business. What’s your budget? And it’s just like, that’s not a, you know, they say the number. I’m like, that isn’t even like, what do you.

How do you think I eat? You know? Yeah. So it’s like, you know, just, why don’t you just wait a little, and we can do it right next year, you know, just save up a good chunk each month, and then let’s hammer this out. We could strategize all the way up until there, but at least you got to do the sizzle reel.

So at least you got to, like, kind of scratch the surface on that. At least experience it for that particular. Oh, yeah.

It was amazing. I don’t think Billy’s name will ever talk to me again, finishing the project, but, you know, I had to pick my. My battles on that one, and it actually really pulled on my heartstrings because, you know, I am at a place in my career where I could go do a passion project and make $0.

Like, I could go do that for a month, and it’ll be just fine. But when it came down to they just didn’t have funding for me to do what I needed to do to build all the other characters and take a team over there and just, you know, really do it right, and then I would have lost a client in the meantime that said, you know, we’ve got this project on the table, so it hurt my heart to separate myself from it, but I do feel it was the right thing to do. Definitely.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ultimately, you have to do the right thing for you at the end of the day. Also, I want to throw in there that you did the right thing for the industry.

If you start to take jobs where you’re not valued, then that waters down everybody else, and the expectations are changed, even if it’s one project, but then 100 people do that. Then the tone out there is that, hey, we could all get this work for cheaper when you actually can’t. And so you do have to kind of stick to your guns.

I’ve had to do that, like, all my life. I’m finally nearing an area where, okay, we’re getting near the value that we deserve, but, man, is an uphill battle in the creative and the arts. And it’s just.

It’s so interesting because so many other parts of the world are just taken for granted as far as, like, you go to get a medical procedure or whatever. And I know that this is all very important, you know, for that, but. Or an iPhone, it’s like, that’s the price, and no one bats an eye.

But then if you’re talking about, well, I need to apply this makeup and it’s x amount of dollars, or I need to do this website for you, it’s in your, you know, asking for 55 different pages, it’s going to be this. And all of a sudden it’s like there’s negotiation. And it’s just kind of interesting that the arts gets this.

It’s always seems like a struggle in arts, you know, whether it be music or the new visuals. And I know that higher level productions and it is valued and there are good budgets, but getting there is a really tough road. It’s a very tough road.

I mean, you. You just have touched on so many things. It’s.

It’s the value that we have and teaching people what value we hold. And I’m sure you get calls all the time of, you know, just do this website for me and, you know, I’ll pay you later or whatever, can’t you give me a deal? And, and, you know, whenever we do that, we are devaluing ourselves and what we bring to the table. And, you know, I always say to my students and aspiring artists, you have to teach people how to treat you.

And if we keep giving it away, then we’re not showing them we hold value. And sometimes when you say yes to a project, then, you know, for a lot less money, they’re saying, see, it can be done. So, you know, we.

We don’t want to set that as a standard or an expectation at all. We certainly don’t. Definitely.

When I had students, I. I used to say, you know, if someone, someone comes to you and say, look, you know, just do this for free, it’s going to be great exposure. You tell them, I can’t eat exposure. Sorry.

Yeah, you know, like, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s okay. Maybe. Maybe once or to get it off the bat, but if you.

If you keep going down that road, you’re not only doing yourself a disservice, but you’re doing all of us a disservice. So I really hammered that home with my students when I taught as well. So glad to hear that you have that torch burning as well, because that’s important.

It’s the only way that the value perceived, because, like in music, things are changing, too. Even music and film now. You pop on Netflix, you pop on Spotify, and you just scroll to whatever you want through tons of different films and you just press play and it’s free, essentially.

You know, you’re, you don’t think about your Spotify or your Netflix subscription. It’s basically free. And, and, and you could skip it.

You can, you can, you can indulge in it or not. And it’s fast. And I just had a radio host on for episode six and he kind of broke this down, that the ease of access kind of waters down the love that it took previously in analog scenarios, say, for instance, a record you took work and effortlessly to put on that album, to go to the store to buy it, to have the device to play it, to then actually physically put the handle on to press play.

And you’d have to get up and change the song or press pause if you’re not and you’re kind of stuck with that record. And there’s something magical about, you know, you’re being immersed into that. There’s, I think, a different perceived value now where everything is so accessible.

You know, people look at the same with podcasts. Like this podcast people are going to be listening to be like, yeah, you, like, you guys just met and then you press record and then now it’s up. It’s like, oh, boy, there’s so much more that goes into it.

And in a way, just like when you watch a movie, if you, you know, a lot of people start walking out at those credits, there’s magic because it’s like, wow, there it was. I experienced it. Cool.

I’m going to go home and go to bed. But like, all of the work that goes into what you just saw in that hour and a half is incredible. Oh, yeah.

The six months it took to get that 90 minutes. Yeah. You know, well, and then all that went in on the back end, on all the post work and all that.

Absolutely. Yeah, totally. Yeah.

Yeah. There’s. There’s a lot that goes into everything, you know, podcasts and, you know, and also too, like, people need to factor in.

It’s. It’s time. Not a lot of people have just piles of time laying around.

So when you dedicate yourself to something, there’s something to be said for that as well. Absolutely. Yeah.

Speaking of time, we’ve reached a time in the episode. It’s called the rapid fire sound effects galore. But yeah, we’re just going to do a rapid fire.

Points are very important in this. You could lose. You could win.

We’re going to see if you come out on top. Are you ready, Carrie? Not sure, but give it a try. I just goof around and have fun with it.

Really, it’s just another set of questions. But there are questions that are common that I ask most every guest. I like to because they’re overarching, that I think are very tangible and interesting to compare to different industries, people doing different things.

So I’m going to start out with one I love. And that I do ask everybody is, what is your biggest source of inspiration? My biggest source of inspiration are the artists around me in my makeup room. They’re my biggest source.

They absolutely are. The people next to me that I create art with, they’re my biggest source. It makes a lot of sense.

Yeah. You guys feed off each other, and, like we were talking earlier, you don’t have a film without your team. Yeah.

Awesome. Well, I’m sure the people who have been on your teams will love hearing that if they. If they happen to listen to this.

I hope you’re listening. They will. You.

Yeah. Do you have a favorite book? Oh, I. I feel like I have favorite books. I know it’s a hard one.

This is the nerd in me. So I was just talking to somebody the other day about my love of history, and I’m just like. I’m just seriously very nerdy.

But there’s a book called I, Claudius, and it’s about the roman emperor, empire, and all the different emperors that reigned, but it’s from the perspective of the emperor Claudius. But the book really goes into just the whole life and structure of ancient roman society, and that’s just my nerdness. I, Claudius.

It’s very interesting. Well done. Noted.

Oh, man. That. I mean, roman histories.

Fascinating. And I know that when I get a little more time, that’s going to be one of the deep dives I. I go into, um, because it’s so pivotal in human history, and so much is just. There’s so much.

There. There. Yeah.

Yeah. Well, and it’s told in. In a story.

It’s. It’s certainly a story format. So it’s like you’re reading this book, but it.

It almost is like, am I reading fiction? No, it’s both, like, non fictional fiction or it’s interesting anyway. That makes it digestible or, like, more engaging, too. Yeah.

Yeah. Oh, cool. Do you have a favorite musical artist or a particular album? I’m not going to ask.

I don’t ask people. What’s your favorite song? That’s. That’s ridiculous.

But what about an artist or album? Oh, my gosh, Josh, this is so tough. Every time I think I have a favorite, it’s it’s something else. Oh, my gosh.

I mean, I love genres. Different genres. That’s it.

You can start there. What’s your favorite genre, then? Maybe that’ll whittle it down to the artist. And I know, like, for me, it’s like, oh, it’s.

The mood that I’m in really depends. Well, it does. Well, I mean, I love Frank Sinatra, but then, you know, I love classic rock.

I don’t know. I just like. I like music.

That’s a tough one. Can we just cough it up to. That’s a tough one.

Yeah, yeah. You’ll lose a couple points, but no worries on that because the points don’t matter. Honestly, these aren’t made to be necessarily easy.

And also, it’s. It’s. These also aren’t things that you think of, like, every day.

You’re not like, okay, today, who’s my favorite? You know, just check it in. Who’s my favorite artist? What’s my favorite book? Where do I get my inspiration from? You know, they’re not made to be, like, normal things you think about. So how do you pick? There’s so many.

I know. I honestly, if someone asked me that question back, there would be a big moment of silence. I wouldn’t know how to answer it myself, but luckily, I’m on this side of the microphone, so.

Yeah. But tomorrow I’ll be driving around going, oh, it’s probably that. All right, maybe this one will be harder.

I don’t know. What’s your favorite film? Really? Of course. It’s black Adam or something you’ve worked on, right? I wish it was that high.

I love tombstone. All right. I love me a good western.

Awesome. Cool. I do.

I like. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the tv series Firefly. It’s like a Sci-Fi western.

Sci-Fi meets western. And it was done by Fox. They have one season, and then it got canceled, and everybody was super mad because it’s so good and, like, the soundtrack is western, and it’s got, like, western vibes when they go to the worlds, but it’s Sci-Fi and it’s taking place in the future.

You might dig that. I’m gonna have to check that out. Okay.

Yeah. And shout out to all the Firefly fans out there. You know what I mean? Okay.

We’re almost done with the rapid fire. You’re doing great. One more.

How do you define success? Oh, I don’t think I want to define success, success for myself, because it’s like, I don’t want to give myself a glass ceiling, but I think success means to me, how I would define it is setting out on a path that sustains you, that you’re passionate about. Is successful to me. To be able to put a roof over your head and food on the table consistently and still find passion for what you’re doing to achieve that.

I love that. I feel like out of many of the answers, that’s definitely one I resonate with a lot. Yeah.

Is the word sustainable? Because you could have quick success, but how successful is it if it’s a one hit or a fluke or an accident, you know, but sustaining that thing, you know, like, for instance, bands or tv series, you know, it’s like, how do you keep putting out great albums one after the other or great seasons one after the other? That. That’s the tricky part. Like, if Firefly had a season two and three and four, would it be as good as the first one? I mean, I’d love to find out.

Come on, Fox, what are you doing? Maybe Fox didn’t think they could. They’re like, how? Well, we gave it our all on season one. We got nothing left for two.

They just used all their energy. Now they’re all their energy. Tired? Yeah, yeah, something like that.

Well, it’s like with me, it’s like I pull off a very, very difficult job. I’m expected to always be able to pull off a difficult job. You know, you can’t.

You can’t not. There’s no going back. That’s it, right? Yeah.

That’s interesting. Okay, you won rapid fire. Great job, Carrie.

Thanks for sticking with me on that, but I thought it was really insightful. That’s really good. I just want to conclude with a couple of things.

So I want to kind of know, what are your future goals? What does Carrie Herta look like in ten years? Five years? Where’s your career going? What are you working on? Aha. Well, in five, five to ten years, I definitely will be educating a lot more. That’s really important to me to carve out a schedule that allows me to do that more so I can do that around the country and continue to mentor artists and grow careers.

And I also have bespoke pro designs that we are actively growing so we could bring high end, exclusive custom products to the pro community. And that is like, within the ten year goal of, you know, really making sure that that’s spread worldwide. And I feel that within the next ten years, I will be picking and choosing my projects more than just by necessity, itll be more by choice.

Sounds great. Its also really cool to hear that youre focusing on educating to make sure that this awesome art continues at a high caliber. But also its clearly scratching a particular itch that you enjoy diving in with people, learning and working together on that.

I feel you on that. I missed education and once I choose allowed a little more time, I’ll become an adjunct instructor and like pick up a class here and there, like maybe once a semester or something like that. But I look forward to seeing where it goes.

Also, I, you know, I look forward to building your website more and, you know, continuing to work with you because it’s such a pleasure to see it all come together. I’m like, oh, man, this is really, really cool. I mean, you guys could go and check it out.

Anybody listening? Bespoke prodesigns.com. you can see her work. It’s amazing.

No thanks, Josh. But like I said, I didn’t do it all by myself. It took a villain.

Totally. Yeah. Thank you.

Well, and you have me as a client, as life. I’m a lifer. I’m a naming lifer.

Wow. Yeah. Well, I like that.

Has a nice ring to it. But that means a lot. I really appreciate that.

I love working with you. So it works out good. Ditto.

Yeah. But there’s going to be many more websites we’re going to, we’re going to do together. I have no doubt.

Yeah, me too. Cool. I, uh, so I like to kind of dive in at the very end here.

You know, maybe it’s one of your students, former future students or someone in the industry listening. Someone not in the industry listening. What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone listening? That it’s just like, I wish I would have heard this when I was, you know, up and coming or even now.

Well, I mean, I think everybody always says things like, don’t give up. And it’s true, don’t give up. But, you know, back to even talking about value.

I feel that if you are passionate for something and you want that bad enough, just keep going. You’re going to find your way there. Maybe try a different avenue, explore a different option.

But I always say there’s enough work in every niche out there for someone to be able to join the party. So just keep going until you’re invited to the party. There’s always going to be one.

Wow, that’s awesome. I love the way that you put that as it being a party. I mean, if you’re not having fun, what are you doing.

Yeah. Well, I mean, we all know as adults we have to get out there and work, and not every day is going to be fun. Days are going to be stressful.

Like, every. Every job has its perks. It has its negatives.

It has all the things. And, you know, work is. It’s what it is.

It’s work. So if you find something that you want to do, you know, just keep going, there’s. There’s enough out there for everyone.

There always. There always will be. I think that’s great advice.

And, I mean, speaking of work and jobs, you know, this is part of my job, which is crazy. I mean, I set it up this way, but to be here, you know, to get to talk to awesome people like you and dive into your story, I mean, I love how I got to know you so much better now. This is so cool, and it’s just a pleasure knowing you.

But it’s also hard to believe that this is. This is work right now. And so it’s just been an honor and a real big pleasure working with you, getting to know you better.

And I hope people are inspired by this episode. Oh, thank you, Josh. Likewise.

And I hope so, too. If I can inspire one person, that just makes my day. Okay, well, you did, so consider your day made.

Thanks, Gary. Thank you, Josh.

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