Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Community Theatre & Volunteering RE: [F-Costume] Re: Aladdin...

Expand Messages
  • Cat Devereaux
    ... or two half of the expenses are expected to come out of your own pocket, so not only are you working for free, but you re paying them to work. That s
    Message 1 of 11 , Oct 21, 2005
    View Source
    • 0 Attachment
      >>  The frustrating part, IMO, is that with community theater after a show
      or two half of the expenses are expected to come out of your own pocket, so
      not only are you working for free, but you're paying them to work. That's
      frustrating,

      I so totally agree... (and this goes to only a slightly lesser degree to
      college theatre when there's not a TA department attached).

      However... it's a wonderful reality check for any aspiring costumer. If you
      can spare the time and the money, it's an amazing experience, especially if
      you can work the person who's not quite thrown in the towel yet and get tips
      from them.

      You will learn to drape, alter, size adjust (OK, a new use for duct tape and
      safety pins), shop cheap, very cheap. Work quick, or you don't sleep.
      Learn when approximations work. Learn working with folks and learning to
      coax them into helping.

      Yes, you'll loose hair and sleep as well as time and money... but think of
      it as an internship, half of which is-by-your-bootstraps. It's one of the
      reasons I swear by "costume technician's handbook". It gives you a good
      grounding in a bit of all the tech bits, and a reference source. The book
      also tells you how to do it right... though you'll skip a lot of corners.

      Now... as I can hear some folks screaming out there... yes, there are a lot
      of community theatres, especially if they're bigger and established that do
      things the right way. You'll still find you're not paid a lot, and work
      long hours... but at least they cost the items out and you get most of your
      supplies.

      However, the ones that will let someone work the shop, with no experience,
      or the ones that keep pulling in the moms/sister/aunts to help out "just a
      bit" and then want to keep you busy when you tern out good work... are
      probably the first kind.

      Now... again... not to say this is bad... even if you're not doing it just
      to start a resume. Volunteerism is important. It's what makes a lot of the
      world go 'round in the arts field... especially theatre for kids and teens.
      They get their first experiences in these low/no budget productions... it
      opens a world of creativity. It's great to share in this. (Hey, I designed
      all and did 1/4 the sewing and 3/4 the fittings for a large cast of Oliver!
      in the 6 months before my wedding... so when I had the time, nothing stopped
      me.) Go out and infect others with your costuming...

      Just recognize that your own limits can get pushed into the ground. Know
      when to say "yes", recognizing there will be a large creep in time, money
      etc, and when to say "no" and when to move on.

      All of the above can also be said for working movies. You earn your stripes
      working for student films and on the b-minus and lower short films. You
      learn a somewhat different set of skills here, but same thing. Here you are
      faced with even a bigger challenged... when you graduate up to "serious".
      You can get a rep for doing free and then you have to work up to a few
      bucks. (Remember, getting paid from the profits when you're doing "B"
      means, you don't get any. Deal with it.) Then you get minimum and you're
      still paying out some since they'll only pay for materials no basic extras
      like interfacing, treats, machine wear, and eventually some money. Then, if
      you're lucky you can move to pro.... but it's hard to move up that level.
      When you're working for free or near... you get a better credit... but after
      a while... you need to get paid even if you don't get as fancy a credit and
      you're back to doing scoot work again. In film... you're not supporting the
      community, it's going outwards the director and producer... so once you're
      past your apprentaceship there... change and expect more.

      Anyway... just a Friday soapbox from someone who owns the t-shirts from both
      these (oh, and who ended up using those t-shirts to make duct tape
      dummies... seriously). <G>

      Short version... volunteer good... for your resume and skill set. Know your
      limits... and be aware what you're doing this for.

      -Cat-
    • Andrea Schewe
      I enjoyed reading every one s comments about community theater costuming. And, thank you Sarah, for the nice comments about my patterns. I must say, it is
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 22, 2005
      View Source
      • 0 Attachment
        I enjoyed reading every one's comments about community theater costuming. And, thank you Sarah, for the nice comments about my patterns. I must say, it is usually the community costumer I have in mind when I am designing for Simplicity. I have seen, more than once, volunteer costumers in tears back stage during production week, because they are having a hard time finishing up what they started.
        Yes, one has to budget one's time and resources carefully, when costuming for free. I am a performer. My bachelor degree in in Opera singing. I paid for college by sewing in the professional costume shops in New York.(hence my current career) Also, my mother taught costuming at a college in CA. So, when ever I am in a show, I help sew. I always take care of my own costume and one or two other's that are tricky in one way or another. BUT I will only be "The Costumer" once a year. It is grueling ... but can be rewarding. I like the challenge of getting the best effect possible, but stay within the budget and ability of whatever crew I have. I find careful use of color goes a long way. That's what people see first!
        I felt I had to stand up for community theater costuming, because I have met some non theatrical costumers that don't understand why one would bother to make a costume that is not 100% historically accurate or use polyester or any other short cut. I thought your comment was coming from that perspective. I fully understand the being used and abused by the director and anyone else who doesn't know how hard and how much work it is to costume a show.
        Plus I really enjoy reading what all you folks are up to. It would be fun to meet people in person some day.
        regards, Andrea
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Sarah
        To: F-Costume@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 2:17 PM
        Subject: [F-Costume] Re: community theater (was Aladdin...)


        --- In F-Costume@yahoogroups.com, "Andrea Schewe" <aschewe@v...> wrote:
        > So, I need to ask, what is so bad about costuming community theater??
        > [snip]

        Ah, well, you're quite right about the challenging and exhausting
        part, and in some cases the rewarding part also. I suppose the
        slippery slope is that if you don't have good boundaries (which I
        didn't for many years) it can take over your life to where you aren't
        paying as much attention to the things you need to. I finally
        realized, costuming for my local shakespeare co., while very inspiring
        and rewarding, needed to come from a place of abundance in my life,
        which I wasn't having any more at that time. It was past time to back
        off and let others do a share of the work. I also realized I had been
        putting so much more time into it than I ought to, I had led the
        company into a fantasy land of what they could expect from minimally
        stipended costumers. It was a major reality check to change to people
        who had day jobs and kids that they couldn't abandon for three or four
        months. (like I had, oops) Now, I'm more careful about time and
        priorities, I managed to limit my involvement this season and mostly
        stick to the evening and weekend times, while staying on top of paying
        work during the day. Sure made my cash flow a lot more comfortable!
        And I had a lot more fun not being burned out, too.
        I guess there is perhaps a dearth of community costumers? Such that
        once you show that you can do it and are willing, everyone comes
        knocking on your door. So, if that happens, just be careful how much
        you take on, keep the work to fun ratio reasonable!

        And while I'm on, I must say that I love the stuff you design for
        Simplicity! You have made my community theater costuming job easier,
        for sure!





        ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS

        a.. Visit your group "F-Costume" on the web.

        b.. To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        F-Costume-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

        c.. Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


        ------------------------------------------------------------------------------



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Yvette Rivadeneira
        Thank you, Andrea, for the kind words regarding my turbans, etc... and the positive outlook on costuming community theater... I haven t much experience yet in
        Message 3 of 11 , Oct 22, 2005
        View Source
        • 0 Attachment
          Thank you, Andrea, for the kind words regarding my turbans, etc... and the positive outlook on costuming community theater...
          I haven't much experience yet in this area, and am learning as I go... I have noticed, however, like Sarah mentions, that I get very excited and have a hard time saying "no"... something I think I'll need to learn... I need to keep the priorities straight... I think this particular theater I'm involved in sounds good, after reading all the comments here... They have provided most of the fabrics and other supplies, and they want to fairly distribute the burden of the jobs to be done... Seems like a good crew here... At this point, I'm only costuming shows my daughter gets into (and this is her second show)... I think it'd be very hard to "not" costume a show she is in... But, I guess I'm just not tired yet... but I know I could get there, and burn out... That's what I meant when I said I'm a little frightened of getting buried in it... So, our family just needs to pace her shows! ;)

          Also, like Sarah, I'd like to thank you for all your pattern designing with Simplicity... You are a blessing to a great many of us! :)
          Yvette

          Andrea Schewe <aschewe@...> wrote:
          I haven't met you folks yet and I took a look at the really lovely turbans, etc.
          So, I need to ask, what is so bad about costuming community theater??
          I have at one point in my life worked in the professional costume shops in New York and have also done my share of community theater. In my opinion it is so much more challenging and exhausting and frustrating to costume a show with limited resources and hence, when it turns out well that much more rewarding!! I applaud all community costumers where ever you are.
          Andrea
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: belluthien
          To: F-Costume@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2005 11:56 PM
          Subject: [F-Costume] Re: Aladdin...


          Thanks, Sarah! Yeah, I guess I'm slipping... and I'm hoping I don't
          get buried there... ;)
          Yvette

          --- In F-Costume@yahoogroups.com, "Sarah" <sarahstrong@u...> wrote:
          >
          > Lovely as we'd expect! Careful, though, now you are sliding down the
          > slippery slope of community theater!
          >






          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS

          a.. Visit your group "F-Costume" on the web.

          b.. To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          F-Costume-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

          c.. Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



          SPONSORED LINKS
          Science fiction Fabric dyeing Fantasy costume Cat scratches

          ---------------------------------
          YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS


          Visit your group "F-Costume" on the web.

          To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          F-Costume-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

          Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


          ---------------------------------





          ---------------------------------
          Yahoo! FareChase - Search multiple travel sites in one click.

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Sarah
          ... designing for Simplicity. I ve noticed that your designs tend to strike a very nice balance between a period (or movie-recognizable) look, and simple
          Message 4 of 11 , Oct 23, 2005
          View Source
          • 0 Attachment
            --- In F-Costume@yahoogroups.com, "Andrea Schewe" <aschewe@v...> wrote:
            > it is usually the community costumer I have in mind when I am
            designing for Simplicity.

            I've noticed that your designs tend to strike a very nice balance
            between a period (or movie-recognizable) look, and simple construction
            that is also easy to alter. That Elizabethan ish bodice (there are at
            least three patterns which are variations on the theme) has been great
            for the shows where the director wanted something later than Italian
            Ren (which is my favorite whomper stuff, the straight waistline makes
            it soooo easy to adjust, and I omit doublet/gown sleeves for summer wear)

            > when ever I am in a show, I help sew. I always take care of my own
            costume and one or two other's that are tricky in one way or another.

            We *like* people like you!! I have especially appreciated having
            costume allies in the cast where we have occasionally had problem
            actors who didn't take care of stuff, or who looked in danger of
            taking things home. Nice to have someone keeping an eye out every night!

            > I find careful use of color goes a long way. That's what people see
            first!

            yes! I started by making color swatch cards for the shows I did, by
            going to period artwork and matching the colors I saw there. I used
            Bayeux Tapestry palette for King Lear, and Italian Ren for a lot of
            stuff, it really helps when you go to the fabric store even if you
            haven't matched each color to a specific costume, to know what purple,
            red, blue, green, etc. actually works with the whole look. Nothing so
            jarring as a nice period palette with a sudden acid purple.... :P

            > I felt I had to stand up for community theater costuming,
            because I have met some non theatrical costumers that don't understand
            why one would bother to make a costume that is not 100% historically
            accurate or use polyester or any other short cut. I thought your
            comment was coming from that perspective.

            Ah, yes. I've met that type too. But since I learned period costume in
            the SCA, I started with an understanding of the spectrum of
            authenticity! I love having a client come to me and want a period
            accurate outfit, if they are prepared to pay for the time that takes.
            But in community theater the trick is to develop "whompers" that give
            the look of period clothing, while also being easy and comfortable for
            actors who aren't reenactors to wear. And for wardrobe supers to wash!

            > Plus I really enjoy reading what all you folks are up to. It
            would be fun to meet people in person some day.

            Me too! Same here!
            Closest I can come is to share a link to the Hampshire Shakespeare web
            site where you can see some pix of past seasons.
            http://hampshireshakespeare.org/
            current front page photo is from Young Company Midsummer, with my
            faeries in rags and Alex's rest of the cast.
            In the photo gallery, my shows are 1996-2001, and the Winter's Tale. I
            also did the heraldic surcotes and banners for Richard III (some of
            the background characters are wearing tunics from Lear, which predates
            the web site gallery)
            I realized recently that my ultimate template for the Italian stuff
            was the Zefirelli Romeo and Juliet... *sigh* so worth having on dvd!
            Ah, and there aren't pix from MND at the company site yet, but lots at
            http://www.amherst.edu/~nadahlman/pictures/scripts/browser/browse.php?id=5
            thanks to one of the actors.
          • Sarah
            ... and the positive outlook on costuming community theater... You ve done a great job making lots of variation, so they look interesting as a group, and (as
            Message 5 of 11 , Oct 23, 2005
            View Source
            • 0 Attachment
              --- In F-Costume@yahoogroups.com, Yvette Rivadeneira <belluthien@y...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Thank you, Andrea, for the kind words regarding my turbans, etc...
              and the positive outlook on costuming community theater...

              You've done a great job making lots of variation, so they look
              interesting as a group, and (as far as I can tell without knowing the
              show) also indicating status, which is a very important function of
              the costumes.

              > I think this particular theater I'm involved in sounds good, after
              reading all the comments here... They have provided most of the
              fabrics and other supplies, and they want to fairly distribute the
              burden of the jobs to be done...

              that's very encouraging.
              I sometimes welcome the chance to use up stuff in my stash, but I
              don't mind being reimbursed for it at least some of the time. And it's
              important to have a shopping budget!
              This summer worked better for me because I was pretty careful to
              mostly only work on costumes during specific times (evenings and
              weekends, mostly) when I had helpers coming to work with me. That way
              I didn't stray too far from the paying work I need to get done during
              the day.
            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.