The difference between goals and dreams and the great value of both

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By Grant J Everett

Goals come in all shapes and sizes. They can be small, like getting out of bed before 1pm on weekdays, doing the washing up instead of leaving dirty dishes on the sink, or learning how to pay bills online. They can also be much bigger, like completing a TAFE course, finding employment, or living independently. But one thing that ALL goals have in common is they need to be attainable. Not necessarily easy or quick, but attainable. 

Dreams, on the other hand, have no limit. You might dream of living to 145, or to becoming a best-selling author, or emigrating to Mars. And while dreams don’t have to be realistic, their key benefit is that they can be used to work out what goals you need to attain along the way. So if you want to live to 145, quit smoking, eat right and exercise. Want to be a major author? Read lots of books and practise your writing. Want to move to Mars? Become friends with Elon Musk. Just keep moving forward one step at a time, and opportunities will naturally unfold.

Say your dream is to be a make-up artist for major Hollywood movies. While it might feel unrealistic to become the one who applies Jennifer Lawrence’s eye liner or crafts convincing bullet holes on Tom Cruise’s forehead, this dream would lead to learning bankable skills and pave the way towards possibilities you might not have expected. Remember there will always be a demand for make-up artists, and the amount you can earn dolling up a bridal party would make your eyes spin like a slot machine. 

Here’s an example of plotting your way towards becoming a film make-up artist.


A film make-up artist helps bring movies to life in all sorts of ways, like beautifying actors, making them look older or younger, and working with prosthetics and masks. 


Learn the basics of applying make-up, research the tricks that make-up artists use, and learn to have an eye for shades, colours, textures and products. Practise as much as possible by trying out new techniques on yourself and on friends and family, continually aiming to improve your speed, accuracy and detail.


You could start with an accredited course like a Certificate III in Make-Up at TAFE. If you really want to take your beautician skills to the next level, you could also learn to do hair and nails. However, film make-up artists need accreditation from a specialised school, as they have to learn things that the average make-up artist isn’t trained in, like latex masks, prosthetics, Terminator-with- his-face-half-burnt-off effects, that sort of thing. 


Film make-up schools may provide apprenticeships and on-the-job training, and might be able to help you gain work after graduation. Learning on a film set is an invaluable opportunity, and definitely one worth taking if it’s offered, even if it’s only an unpaid internship. You need to start somewhere! As getting anywhere in the entertainment industry is all about who you know, begin networking immediately. There are unions and groups for professional make-up artists who can help you get in contact with the right people. Also, hang out where people in the industry go, and make the most of email and social media.


Film make-up artists work with famous people, so you need to be discreet. Avoid the urge to share what you see on set, especially with the media. Your clients need to know you can be trusted, or you’re out of the circle of trust for good. When dealing with stars, be polite, level-headed, patient, and adaptable. There’s also the usual expectations of any job: have a good attitude, arrive on time, always be willing to learn, and don’t pretend you know everything. 



• Working as a professional make-up artist is like any other for-profit business: you need to balance your finances, keep track of accounts, use time management skills, return phone calls and emails in a timely manner, and conduct yourself in a professional way. 

• Record your best work in a portfolio to demonstrate your skills. You should also have a digital portfolio, like a slideshow or a YouTube video. Be sure to include pictures that demonstrate a wide range of abilities and techniques. 

• Always strive for excellence. Do your best work every time. Celebrities don’t tolerate it when somebody isn’t giving their all, and word will get around if you aim for average. Aim high and you might surprise everyone, including yourself. 


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