Friday, May 20, 2011

The Afterthought

I don't think certain people will ever understand how important a costume really is.

"Its just clothes"
Um actually its so much more. A costume is the identity of the actor. Its the first thing we notice once they enter the stage or screen. What the actor wears on their person defines who they are, how important they are, etc.

"Well it shouldn't matter. If an actor is a true performer, he/she could perform in anything, regardless of clothing"
Okay, so an actor can portray a homeless person dying of AIDS in an Armani suit and alligator skin shoes? Prove me wrong. An actor wears the costume, but the costume defines the character. Both are important. There is no performance without one or the other. We depend on each other. Without the other, the performance is merely a table read or a lonely garment.

"We're gonna give more of your budget to Production Design. No worries, you can just pull from actors' closets"
I am so sick of having this same argument with directors and producers. How often do you walk into someone's closet and they happen to have exactly what the script calls for? You can't just assume actors or even designers just have costumes lying around waiting for the big break. UNACCEPTABLE. I understand Production Design is vital in creating this world but the people occupying the space need to look just as convincing. Be realistic when you come up with a costuming budget. Do not insult me/make yourself look amateur by saying things like that.
When designers are forced to work out of actors' closets, the performance has already been compromised. The actor is not in a costume at all. They are in their own clothes. This does not help them get into character at all, in fact it does the opposite. They're no longer acting, they're sort of just hanging out.

I'm designing an indie flick, and my budget has continued to shrink, while the lifestyles of the characters have gone from working class, to wealthy Upper East Side. Now there's a flashback to the 70's...and yet my budget keeps shrinking. I don't care if its 30 years ago, or just last season. The past is the past, therefore more expensive b/c its now considered vintage or antique or period.

We are not an afterthought, even though you treat us as such. We complete the actors' transformation. We make the world even more convincing. Do not take us for granted.
Marinate on that for a while.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Top 5 Questions You Shouldn't Ask a Wardrobe Stylist or Costume Designer

1.) Did you go to Fashion School?
Seriously, what's that got to do with anything? That's like asking an actor if they can sing. Both deal with similar things, but are worlds apart.

2.) What's the biggest thing you worked on?
I've worked on lots of things with varying budgets. I'm still doing what I do, so clearly I can hold my own on projects big or small.

3.) What celebrities have you dressed?
How does that effect you respecting/hiring me?

4.) How much money do you make?
doesn't matter. I'm in this because I love what I do and while the money can be good, I'm strictly in it for reasons other than the monetary kind.

5.) Can you sew this button back on?
yes. but the real question is, will I? Maybe. If I like you.