RE: [F-Costume] Fwd: Seeking aspiring costume designers for TV show!
- FYI: For those who don't know, Cat & I have had large meta costume websites
for a long time. That is what this conversation is about.
I hear you there. We're only 6k pages aprox. (Did I say only?) Our pictures
didn't count as pages. Will need to now. In this modern world, we need to
track where/who w/ the photos as well as all the cool costume stuff.
I stopped counting the photos years ago too. I count the pages once a
year.mainly because my advertisers want to know the number. I am an
organizational nut. When certain topics grow so large, I created a website
for them. Domains cost under ten dollars a year now.not like in the old
days when they cost $100 a year. I have over 80 domains right now.but I buy
the .com, .net, & .org levels of every phrase. For example, costumelibrary,
I own all three levels. I am working on developing my 16th website.
costumegallery.com is the umbrella for all our websites. BTW, the only
domain that I don't own all three levels is this one. Costumegallery.net is
a costume rental business.
Tell me about it. We're still the largest Front Page site (non modified)
that Microsoft has heard off... in fact about 3 times a big as anything
else. They don't understand how I can publish anymore... yea... can't
really. It clunks and spits.... and I cross my fingers... Then my computer
blew up as Christmas... and I can't even do that. Must have new computer.
Wow! FrontPage! I remember when your computer went haywire! I am so happy
you got it working again! We have a new laptop but it has crashed so many
times that we keep it backed up on an external hard drive. We have another
one external hard drive with four retired computers backed up on it. My
website at one point was based out of Pensacola, Florida.then Hurricane Ivan
hit there.my website was gone for a month. I changed host and now it is
backed up daily in two different cities that are not located in severe
hurricane locations. What a pain in the butt it was move all of the
websites. I also have space in a secure location on my server to backup my
Yup... we're setting it up so there are multiple editors for the next
run.... so it doesn't depend on one person, and skid to a stop when that
one person gets sick... and gets slammed w/ far too much real life.
Good luck with your new process. My hat is off to you! We have a handful
of volunteer interns that help with typing and cleaning some of the
graphics/ fashion plates. Our interns have been with us for several years.
Presently we are working on four 1968 clothing trade journals to go online.
We have all learned a lot from the magazines. The magazines are trend
prediction reports for girl's wear, boy's wear, junior girls, teenager boys
and girls, womenswear and menswear for 1968 & 1969. The images for the
reports are fun too!
I don't mind that. I use the computer to "see" the costumes. (Really
can't get out much, even missed the last FIDM exhibit... and it's less
than 5 miles from me.)
I truly understand. A lot of people cannot go to the exhibits for several
reasons. That is why the web is so wonderful.exhibits can be there at
people's fingertips. Where I grew up we lived so far from museums and
couldn't afford to travel to them. I read encyclopedias from front to back,
over and over again. I thought, these places and things really couldn't be
out there in the world. When my husband went to Egypt. I told him that I
really didn't believe that the pyramids were really there until I see a
photo of him at them. He got off the plane and handed me the photo.
Always cool photos to look at. Love the detailed shots you take.
Thank you! Sometimes I do not see the full costume details until I zoom in
on the photos. We have certain areas that we focus upon in costumes. When
we view one costume, there may be 20 good photos to choose from to go
online. My husband and I compete as to who can take the best photos of a
costume. I have about 30,000 photos that we have taken to go online. I also
just bought a collection of 1,500 antique 19th & early 20th century photos.
Hopefully this summer we are inventing a new way to take costume photos.
Have to wait for my biggest advertiser to come in for the $$$. This
invention will blow away the industry. We are having this invention built
this summer and sticking a patent on it. But because a patent will be
involved, I can't say what the invention is.
The advantage of being a business. We're just a poor little charity that
pays our server bill off the google adds and we donate to ourselfs
for anything else... one of the software limiters... and does mean we can't
hire tech... so we limp along.
You could apply for grants being a charity. Please don't discount yourself
for being a charity. You play a vital role in the industry! That is what
my husband and my conversation was about tonight. What a vital role you
play in the costuming world. He had asked me why I don't cover more film
costumes. When someone has a great website for a given section of the
costume world, I don't tread there. I do some film costumes, if it is
dropped in my lap like the Young Victoria film was. But you are the expert
in that area. I decided a long time ago to not go into a topic where people
devote their life to specific areas of costume. I just sit back and enjoy
your work. I don't dive into an Elizabethan because Drea's site is the
expert. I respect my peers.
It was a BIG decision to move over to a subscription site. We had a panel
of people discuss this for six months before moving in this direction. But
the funding was necessary to move the Gallery into the direction that I
wanted. We frequently need to update computers, camera and video equipment,
take the trips, etc. People don't realize how much money is involved with
having big websites.my tax guy does! A question that I am frequently asked:
How do you make money doing this? We make money from our subscribers and
advertisers. The advertisers came to me because they are fed up with Google
ads & affiliate programs.
One of our new classroom students asked me recently. "What do you do for
your day job?" I told that this has been my day & night job for 16 years.
For the first ten years of business, it was 7 days a week with 12 hour days.
Now I take weekends off. Cat, I know that you keep about the same hours that
I do and have for years. Your works is VERY appreciated and hope that we
are doing this for a very long time! It is a passion that we want to share.
Sigh... would so rather just be studying costumes or helping addict someone
else to costuming, or helping work on something that's not a t-shirt.
Penny Ladnier, owner
The Costume Gallery Websites
15 websites of fashion, costume, and textile history
Description: Image removed by sender.
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- Warning... discussion is about costume websites, only a bit of costume
On 2/4/2012 2:17 AM, penny@... wrote:
> FYI: For those who don't know, Cat & I have had large meta costume
> for a long time. That is what this conversation is about.
> ... ...
> I stopped counting the photos years ago too. I count the pages once a
> year.mainly because my advertisers want to know the number. I am an
> organizational nut. When certain topics grow so large, I created a website
> for them.
That's easier to do w/ historical. With movie costumes, or many fantasy
costumes in general, they derive naming from a "story", that has key
words that are jealously guarded. So for us, it made sense to keep
everything under the Alley Cat Scratch "brand". Is why we never went
after any of the spellings of LOTR Costume, and since "hobbit" is much
more protected... dangerous for losing identity. Istead I stress way
to much on how to give each sub-web an identity... one that works both
for costumers, and for Google (having admired that this strategy doesn't
work for the Wayback machine.)
> Domains cost under ten dollars a year now.not like in the old
> days when they cost $100 a year. I have over 80 domains right now.but
> I buy
> the .com, .net, & .org levels of every phrase. ...
We skimp on that, but depend on Google to separate out the difference...
and grrrrrrr at matches, and also since we share the name w/ an 80's boy
band, leave them someplace to go. (Google is good at sorting out
"valid" sites. Also a lot of the variant of our name, the "X" folks pay
megga $$$ for 'cause they like "alley cat" and all the variants. Sigh.
Weird world if ya mistype. )
The other advantage of keeping everything under ACS is that when we're
really active w/ traffic, like during movie time, our website rating
goes WAY up, into the high tracked territory. That helps the adds
(which feed the server) and helps costumers and sewer locate us because
we get good bounce for being a very high-traffic site, vs just a
high-traffic site. (And I'll do anything, to help folks find the site....)
> Wow! FrontPage!
Of the older tools, it's one of the best for costuming sites because of
how easily it handles photos. In fact, it's been the hands down winner
for just about all of the image-heavy costume sites. Folks are now
painfully transitioning... but there's not been a good middle of the
road tool for large sites. (ie, easy to use, but can handle the trafic,
and handle the images properly, and google friendly.)
> I remember when your computer went haywire! I am so happy
> you got it working again!
Ooops, not quite right. Beast is kinda up. I have no printing. It's
even slower before. Can't publish right now. Had my poor C drive have
a crash and a really fab computer tech resurrect what he could.
(Shot-out: Hey folks in LA, I can't recommend Alhambra Computer Service
enough.) Am waiting for the supply chain to refill after Christmas...
really BAD time to buy a computer now... and converting hoards of things
because I'm not going to be able to buy the licenses for my next machine
(and I don't use black/grey market software). New machine will be a
hybrid of a lot of old components put in the new machine, and plugged in
peripherals. The good news is that the photos for costumes aren't at
risk, though a lot of the e-mail write-ups are tangled in this upgrade.
Sigh... but working on it.
New version will be organized to keep all the costume stuff a bit
separate. And yup, I've got all kinds of photos that haven't gone up
yet. Eye candy for the future.... but I don't want to let the photos
loose w/o their tracking data. (That doesn't just help me organize,
will help folks doing costume research when they can easily find the
sources, so they can search in those directions.)
External drives are important for backing up all the pictures that
costumers collect. Cloud storage has it's usages, BUT cloud, being out
of our personal control can disappear... and that's wayyyyy wayyyy
wayyyyy of topic of info useful for costumers. (Cloud sources don't
just disappear, but when studios get into fair-use vs. takedown, folks
that have private photo collections on various pubic location can find
their photos disappearing, so I've got a no-trust of a lot of the photo
Penny, will need to talk off-line about backup strageties. W/ Front
Page, since it's a push system (that puts the page up exact on the
web)... the whole web is also on a person's computer. Almost all the
modern options that database the article, it becomes "pull" (ie data is
pulled from the database and page created on the spot). This creates
new back-up challenges.
> >> >> Yup... we're setting it up so there are multiple editors for the
> run.... so it doesn't depend on one person, and skid to a stop when that
> one person gets sick... and gets slammed w/ far too much real life.
> Penny's reply:
> Good luck with your new process. My hat is off to you! We have a handful
> of volunteer interns that help with typing and cleaning some of the
> graphics/ fashion plates
We've had a group of folks that create whats out on the Alley Cat
Scratch pages almost from the beginning, but the publishing has been
choked w/ me. ACS manages to be what it is BECAUSE we have a group of
folks working together... joint brain -- it knows much more than any one
or two folks know.
And, gee... would could get rid of a lot of my dyslexic typos too.
But... empowering more folks to bring their knowledge and energy
together is what we're aiming at.
> I truly understand. A lot of people cannot go to the exhibits for several
> reasons. That is why the web is so wonderful.exhibits can be there at
> people's fingertips.
The costume photos get edited differently than the beauty photos that
pop up for use in news, or to show the basic concept.
I remember when we first stated pulling details out of the photos we had
taken, or were given permission to use. The detail that shows up in the
costumes is just eye popping... and by framing the photo differently and
adjusting the light and contrast, there's a whole new world of texture
and detail that shows up. Then there was the whole thing how we'd crop
and frame - asymmetrically neck to below waist, one sleeve to just past
the other shoulder... to get them most bang for the buck for
"recognizable" close-up.... was considered crazy back then, now I've
seen museums using that crop to show the real eye-candy of costumes in
their exhibits. IT's fun to find those details and to create the
enthusiasm in costumes... that might otherwise be missed w/o making the
details easy to see. Fun, while educating.
> we view one costume, there may be 20 good photos to choose from to go
It's fabulously great when you get a chance to get that many shots of a
costume. I so often work from blurred crops from over a shoulder, or
too darks. It's gotten me lots of practice using Photoshop's edit
features... and I can brag about pulling detail out of black. Really do
need a new camera that shoots great detail low light photos. (Too many
of the new ones achive a crisp look by throwing out the details.... to
the point that my over 10yo camera shoots better photos in dark if I can
With 20 good photos, you've got the "trial" of trying to find the best
of the set to push for google to use as the main take-away.
Once we get the new web site up/organized, then there's a fight to get
better recognition.... have trouble getting photo permissions because
our site has gotten too much "trash" as just a "fan" site, so even when
we're doing legitimate reviewing, and providing a lot of publicity on
something, we get dissed, and can't even get the photo permissios of
some local blogs. Sigh... have I said before, prefect just playing
costumes... vs all this other stuff... but seems required to do
better, and more in depth costume research... so it's on the to-do plate.
> My husband and I compete as to who can take the best photos of a
> costume. I have about 30,000 photos that we have taken to go online. I
> just bought a collection of 1,500 antique 19th & early 20th century
So total yummy. I still need to go though the hundreds (and hundreds)
of negatives our family has to pull out the cool costume content from
just family connects. (Hey, one whole branch was newspaper reporters
and publishers... much documentation... badly organized that needs a
costume/historical eye to sort out. Research is in my blood,
litterally.) There's lots of things to discover... but it takes a lot
of organizing to get it to the useful point.
> Hopefully this summer we are inventing a new way to take costume photos.
> Have to wait for my biggest advertiser to come in for the $$$. This
> invention will blow away the industry. We are having this invention built
> this summer and sticking a patent on it. But because a patent will be
> involved, I can't say what the invention is.
Ooooohhhh, looking forward to it. There's lots of new camera
technology out there, and ways to display print and video. Just
because a lot of costume is history doesn't mean we don't use the new,
latest and greatest technology to learn even more from it, and to
hook-in and inspire new costumers and scholars.
> You could apply for grants being a charity. Please don't discount yourself
> for being a charity.
Not discounting, BUT, there's a certain amount of freedom staying
uncomplicated. We move up to the next level when it simplifies (or on
the other side, amplifies) what we do with costuming. That doesn't mean
we would turn down grants... but right now our priority is on the
conversion, and the conversion being very friendly with Google. (Hey
I've VERY good w/ google and there's a lot of pitfalls in the conversion
to new technology.)
> You play a vital role in the industry! That is what
> my husband and my conversation was about tonight. What a vital role you
> play in the costuming world.
Thanks, but it really needs to be a "we play". The others are quieter,
but still there, and still working.
> He had asked me why I don't cover more film
Turns out very different than historical costume. Lots of "rights"
arguments. Lots of study on what constitutes fair use. Movie studios
DO NOT want "fair use" defined in the courts... so you dance w/ them.
(Back when the LOTR movies were coming out, I actually worked at that
studio, so that was even weirder - we had permission for more photos
than we used from the exact right people at NL to give the permissions,
BUT we both agreed to error on the side of extreme claustrophobic desire
of what fair use might be from some over zelous suits at the studio
above NL "wanted", even if not legal.)
Need to know photographer rights vs. studio designers.... and be willing
to compromise (... and using just enough photos for research and study
vs. "all" to discourage buys down the line of the main product.)
Need to spend time researching trademark vs. copyright instead of
researching costume. Need to have website setup to handle Cease and
Desist letters (even if over zealous on their part, and overreaching) so
that only part of the site might be effected. Need to figure out how to
handle adds and links that don't tick off "official licensed resellers"
w/o having nothing, or drownings. (Having these guys actively on your
side will calm over frothing studio execs better than a large pail or
water, or having your own lawyer.) Also, they've always got bigger
Need to vet any donated photos have to be vetted to make sure that
they're not coming from improper sources. (ie, we don't buy anything,
or even accept spy pics from folks who's sighed confidentiality
agreements until they're expired. That's very painful sometimes. Fab
stuff. Heck, in that category, I and to sensor my own eyes every day
when I did web entries... I walked pack 8x10 eye candy every day, and
helped sort/lable some of the PR photos.)
And this doesn't even include the politics that hit when hitting fan
bases or cross over with folks that do grey-market costumes. (Got
physically threatened there once. Was glad I was able to just laugh that
dude off... and his own partner yanking him away... explaining why he
might become toast.)
Or count that fan-based politics about costumes vs. that movie, or the
stars. VERY different priorities. Costume site CANNOT discuss costumes
in detail with a no-spoiler rule. (Where a costume is worn, and the
emotional content of a scene, and the restrictions/requirements of an
actor's actions... effect costume choices. There's a reason that most
of the early computer gen action flicks had characters in stiff leather. )
Also amazing how much explaining the "movie magic" freaks out some
folks... so this becomes part of the behind the scene work for movie
costumes. (Think back on all the discussions on how the LOTR
fellowship cloaks work - they don't keep anyone warm, they look cool;
they're not weather proof and the straps are there to look good, so kit
can be lifted/slid off back boards. There may be 3 or more versions of
"one thing - think the fellowship cloaks, Matrix had 7 different fabric
or leather cloaks of various patterns, overlooked scrip notes change a
costume mid-shoot lik Frodo's main shirt.) It's politics and dance,
along w/ the pure research.
But love it.
Historic costume has another whole set of issues that are specific to
it. Each area has it's own specialty.... and stresses. Websites that
succeed adapt to the requirements.
> When someone has a great website for a given section of the
> costume world, I don't tread there. I do some film costumes, if it is
> dropped in my lap like the Young Victoria film was. But you are the expert
> in that area. I decided a long time ago to not go into a topic where
> devote their life to specific areas of costume.
There are times where it steps on no-ones toes. There aren't rules
here.... but unless you've got a lot or something or it's a
love-of-the-heart there's a mater of practically of how much energy
get's expended when someone else has it "nailed".
There's always room for special gallery sites that feature a movie
because someone has extra contacts that allow extra access and special
knowledge. Party! It means more knowledge for everyone!
> It was a BIG decision to move over to a subscription site. We had a panel
> of people discuss this for six months before moving in this direction. But
> the funding was necessary to move the Gallery into the direction that I
> wanted. We frequently need to update computers, camera and video
> take the trips, etc.
I kept things free and out of my pocket for as long as "Real Life" went
my way. Things changed. As said before, I'm VERY good w/ Google, so I
can ring out a few extra pennies that way. Being full "free" means
we've get more latitude on fair-use. add the charity (which even when
the IRS couldn't figure out what category to put us into, agreed we
were), it gives us a bit more protection. (Being right or wrong
doesn't matter if a studio goes after you... being on good terms does.)
For the rest... we depend on the kindness of strangers.... and FRIENDS!
As said before, we've better for the joint dream.
> People don't realize how much money is involved with
> having big websites.my tax guy does! A question that I am frequently
> How do you make money doing this? We make money from our subscribers and
> advertisers. The advertisers came to me because they are fed up with
> ads & affiliate programs.
Affiliate programs mostly suck. Google, it's the big dance.
Since our site traffic goes WAY up and down seasonally, and by movie
release/re-release... it's much harder to explain to advertisers... or
they want to pay next to nothing for ALWAYS vs balance out or pay
premium for premium times. ACK! So, it's a cheat for me to push those
decisions off to them and their Google account. Means less money for
us, but also less hastle. Don't have to worry about adds that might
cross a copyright or tradmark line.. just get to say, take it up w/
Google. Don't have to worry about higher payout during popular times,
or even figure out that "popular time"... just let Google's bidding take
care of that. DO have to worry about drawing in the right traffic to
the right pages... though Google must like what we do because they
actually send folks to us (ie free adds). Do have to worry about
traffic being high enough to get the better adds... BUT that's OK w/ all
the advantages. Do have to pound on Google about add catetories.
(Anyone remember the Prop H8ate boomdoggle? Google totally redid their
add selection options after enough folks pounded, or shut down their
Also, our demographic, while sharing a lot of dedicated costume folk,
has a LOT of different, non-overlapping parts. You get a lot more of
the educational/university folk/institutions. They look to your for
more details, for more educational, etc. Many interested much more in
the study vs. the recreation. More committed long term. (Yea, I know
that's not not a good summary... but just using it for contrast. Real
general, over simplified on both... totally skiping the large demo we
share.) We get a lot more first time costumers - teens and twenties
that are seeing something for the first time that inspires them to want
to sew, AND with them, the mother/grandmother/even father they're
bringing on with them. A lot of our folks are specifically interested in
creations... not just study. (We have both... but lean more towards the
Because movies automatically get the "fan" label, a number of the
academics find that that "need" to even hide their credentials because
in some stuffier educational circles, it's not consider "proper" study,
or even for interest. So while you can list and footnote exact info, we
sometimes have to ask our folks to take the word of unspecified folk.
(With a fancier website, this is something we're really working on
trying to fix... and salute those who tell the pressure group to
go-fly.) This makes acceptance of some of the research harder, and
does put off some folks.. but we hope their love of the movie and
specific costumes bring them back... either as helper, or researcher.
We both have non-English speakers to our website... ours since they
often come for such a specific costume in mind, wouldn't convert to a
monthly. The same goes for those we draw in just looking for Halloween
stuff.... though we try to convert them to more serious costuming...
they've got a while before they'll call themselves costumers... our
folks are earlier on the food chain... so model is again different.
So each type of site handles it different... different requirements,
> One of our new classroom students asked me recently. "What do you do for
> your day job?" I told that this has been my day & night job for 16 years.
> For the first ten years of business, it was 7 days a week with 12 hour
> Now I take weekends off. Cat, I know that you keep about the same
> hours that
> I do and have for years.
I wish I still could. da big Sick rules instaed... I spend more of the
time trying to just find brain cells or sit up at the computer. Can't
anymore. So even with Judy and everyone else doing lots, the site
suffers. BUT... will get there. Are getting there....
Anyway... rambling far too long... on what it takes to play at costume
webs, vs costumes... please excuse the typos and extra rambling....
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