Kate Benton’s Set Life

March 13th, 2018

March 13th, 2018

We’re very excited to welcome a new contributor to Warpaint.  The BAFTA and RTS nominated founder of PAM, one of the longest-established pro stores in the UK, and designer of countless TV shows, from Ab Fab to The Royals, Kate Benton needs no introduction.  Currently filming in Budapest, she’ll be bringing us regular news of set life and an insight into what in her kit.


PAM went on tour after Christmas to visit makeup artist, Julia Townend in her new and soon to be expanded studio in Leeds.  I flew back from filming in Budapest, and had to go via Brussels, late on a Friday night.  Leaving behind light snow and lots of mud and rain, I have a great long Canada goose coat, and brilliant boots, which make my life so much better when filming.  Wet weather gear takes a while to accumulate, but when I was a young trainee a spark said to me – and it’s so true, “Warm head, hands and feet, and you’ll be ok,” and so it’s proved, even when filming on the freezing tundra in Iceland last year.

JT Logo

Arrived in Yorkshire, and next day Saturday, the PAM mobile shop set up in Julia’s studio in Birstall.  Julia has a great set-up: it’s a beautiful studio with great light and we were all ready to go.  It’s nerve wracking to be doing make up for your peers as well as students, but the great thing about this tour is that it’s about makeup artists sharing knowledge.  I met some MUAs last year in Budapest who were from the north of the UK and we were bemoaning the fact that it took Budapest to bring us together, which is what prompted this tour.

JT Studio Kate at JT1

When everyone arrived, it was a great mix of both students and seasoned pros.  We spent the afternoon talking and demonstrating, comparing working conditions, pay and anything and everything connected to the makeup industry in the UK.

Kate at JT

I have been doing a lot of laying on hair while abroad in Budapest and we went through the technique, the extra tips I have discovered to protect the hair in wet conditions, see PAM Tuesday tips on our Instagram page, but plaster spray is a really handy tool, as are kebab sticks or even coffee stirrers from Macdonald’s.

We had brought some stock from PAM to sell at a discounted rate and the sale was a huge success.  Some of the things, like the new Jordane palette for tattoo covering, and the new paraben-free Ben Nye palettes, went down really well.

Pam logo

Julia Townend is planning to do more of these short classes, I think Tina Earnshaw is next.  It’s such a great way to share knowledge and a lot of fun.

BBC America

Next back to the snow and mud to carry on filming.  Straight into battle week, which means very early starts in the morning of 3.45am.  Luckily, we get picked up from our apartments every morning, so we bring a pillow and sleep in the van for the one-hour journey to the Unit Base, which is awash with thick sticky mud, mixed with slushy snow.

Kate mud

We are working what’s known in the industry as French hours, or continuous days, which means a shorter 10 hour on camera day, but with lunch on the run, usually boxed and brought to you on set.  This is very popular with most crews as it means a shorter filming day, but it is hard without a lunchtime break.

Kate more mud

We are trying a new blood by Robert Smith which we have just got in stock at PAM, is a very reasonable price and so far we love it.  It’s safe to go in the mouth, and moves well, doesn’t bead too badly, and is competitive price wise.  It’s great that our stock at PAM is driven by feedback from set.

Once we have wrapped* it’s a fairly long de-rig, as many of our cast have wigs, scars, dirt and bloods to be removed.  Then we clean up, re set, get our pillows, fall into the van and head home.

Kate dog on set

*wrap… end of filming.  Stands for Wind Reel And Print. From working on film. When the film would be wound up and sent to the labs for printing.



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By Emma Rutherford

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