Hairdressers can work on feature films or for television programs or stations. They liaise closely with colleagues in the hair, makeup and costume departments, as well as with directors, actors and extras. They create hairstyles to suit production requirements and also work with wigs, hairpieces and extensions to create the looks needed for each of their actors or presenters.
Hairdressers are recruited onto films during pre-production and work throughout the production, usually on a freelance basis. They work on principal and supporting actors and, depending on the schedule, usually look after several actors throughout the production. The hours are long and the job can involve long periods working away from home. They oversee hair continuity during shoots, meaning they may have to adapt their work depending on which scenes are shot in what order. When the scenes have been shot, hairdressers wash out products from, and condition performers’ hair. They remove wigs and ensure they are cleaned and prepared for further use. Hairdressers may be required to assist with any subsequent publicity shots.
In television, hairdressers work alongside makeup artists and look after the actors or presenters in particular programs. If they work for a particular tv station, their hours are more regular than in film, however there might be early starts, for example in the case of morning television programs, where the presenters are on air at 6am and have a hair and makeup call of 4.30am. The hairdresser would also work on celebrity and special guests if need be. If they work for a series, then they would be required to be on set or location to look after the actors and prepare them for their roles.