April 1, 2021

“Attending the Stockade workshop proved to be a pivotal step in my career. An opportunity to style on television came right when I was finishing up the workshop. The educational experience here allowed me to feel much more prepared.”

-Jennifer Lord, HMU Workshop Graduate


One of the fundamental aspects of storytelling is character. There are many components that define, differentiate, and reveal the nature of each character in a thoughtfully told tale. Beyond the words of a script is the subtle information that an audience gathers through performance and appearance. And in production, each of these choices are made intentionally, right down to that thickly masacara’d eyelash, bleeding wound, or sky high 80s perm. 

Often the first ones on set, and the ones you will find hovering close to camera, taking in each detail of the actor’s look, are the passionate people from the Hair & Makeup department. Working closely with both production and talent, they help to make characters real. 

When figuring out Stockade Works programming, we always look at the current needs of the industry in the Hudson Valley. For this reason, a Hair & Makeup workshop, which ran from March 6 – 28 of this year, was the perfect fit. Many of our workshop participants had a foundation of cosmetology skills, which served as a great foundation to build upon. With additional instruction detailing the mechanics of a film set, industry standards, and protocol, HMU skills become transferable, and working on set offers an exciting potential avenue for career growth.

On set there are key hair stylists and key makeup artists who report to production and art designers, in management type roles. There are also those who specialize in sfx makeup, natural hair, wigs, and so much more. As a film crew creates the vision that a director and script call for, HMU works like architecture, with character construction, creation, and design. 

The HMU Workshop was originally scheduled for exactly a year ago, March 2020. Right as the pandemic began, we had to decide: does it make sense to hold an in person workshop right now, when the focus will be specifically on touching each other’s faces? Instead, we pivoted to online instruction and are so glad that we were able to bring this workshop to life after all. And after a year of shutdown, we are starting to see a major uptick in production, and for that we are thrilled!

With our incredibly talented lead instructors Jen Donovan and Alexandra Brock at the helm, the HMU workshop turned virtual was a fantastic success, offering in depth learning, creative opportunity, and fun. Mary Stuart Masterson, Lisa Padovani, Christal Schanes, and Josh Turi joined as guest instructors, which was incredibly advantageous for our students. In addition to stellar lead and guest instructors, we also had an incredible lineup for our Career Panel. Guests included Vanessa Heshima Sims (GIRLS, For Life, The Blacklist), John Perkins (Gotham, Law & Order), and Jennifer Suarez (POSE, The First Purge). 

Next up for our workshop graduates is career mentorship. Graduate recommendations for local productions shooting in May have already begun, and we will continue to connect graduates to work and mentorship opportunities. Our goal at Stockade Works is not just to train, but also to open a pathway to meaningful careers.

We are so thankful for the industry renowned professionals who have taken the time to teach and to give back to the community, as we are for our passionate trainees and grads, who come in with open minds and a dedication to the craft.