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RE: [F-Costume] Fwd: Seeking aspiring costume designers for TV show!

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  • penny@costumegallery.com
    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. Cat Wrote: I hear you
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 4, 2012
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      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.

      Cat Wrote:

      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.

      Penny's reply:



      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.


      Cat wrote:
      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.



      Penny's reply:



      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
      computers.

      Cat wrote:
      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.



      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. 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!



      Cat wrote:
      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.)



      Penny's reply:

      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.

      Cat wrote:
      Always cool photos to look at. Love the detailed shots you take.



      Penny's reply:

      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.



      Cat wrote:


      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.



      Penny's reply:

      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's reply:


      Love it!!!!



      Penny Ladnier, owner

      The Costume Gallery Websites

      <http://www.costumegallery.com/> www.costumegallery.com

      15 websites of fashion, costume, and textile history

      FaceBook:
      <http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Costume-Gallery-Websites/107498415961579>
      http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Costume-Gallery-Websites/107498415961579



      .

      Description: Image removed by sender.





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Cat Devereaux
      Warning... discussion is about costume websites, only a bit of costume content below... ... That s easier to do w/ historical. With movie costumes, or many
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 4, 2012
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        Warning... discussion is about costume websites, only a bit of costume
        content below...

        On 2/4/2012 2:17 AM, penny@... wrote:
        >
        > 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 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
        sites.)

        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
        > 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.
        >
        > 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.
        >
        > When
        > we view one costume, there may be 20 good photos to choose from to go
        > online.
        >
        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
        tripod it.)

        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
        > also
        > just bought a collection of 1,500 antique 19th & early 20th century
        > photos.
        >
        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
        > costumes.
        >
        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
        lawyers...

        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.

        Large Sigh....

        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
        > people
        > 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
        > equipment,
        > 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
        > 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.
        >
        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
        adds completely.)

        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
        physical.)

        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,
        different solutions.



        > 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.
        >
        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....

        -Cat-


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