8543Re: How Did You Get Started as Costume Designers?
- Jan 8, 2007
> Should I enroll in an academic program? Is a degree crucial, orshould I just try to network and gain more hands on experience? Would
enrollment in an art college (FIDM) have significant advantages over,
say, a 2-year costume design degree offered at a community
> college (i.e. http://theatreacademy.lacitycollege.edu/thdept.htm) ?Also, would age be a factor
Costuming is about 1)Who you know, 2)Your ability of collaborate and
communicate well, and 3)Your specific arts and crafts skills.
Getting into the right degree program can potential help in all of
these areas, but so can going straight to work. The question is, do
you have enough to get you started? Do you have enough sewing skill
to impress those you work with? Do you have enough drawing skill to
effectively communicate your design intentions?
I work for the IATSE Theatrical Wardrobe Union in Seattle, and
through that work I have made enough contacts to get the chance to
show off my sewing and design skills in several Theatrical Costume
Shops here. I got my MFA in Costume Design in the NYC area before
moving here. Before that I worked in regional professional theatre
all over the country, and before that I got my BA in Theatre and
English in upstate NY. I started stitching and design as an
undergrad, took a few internships, and then took it from there. Grad
school was to specifically refine my draping and drawing skills, and
get some more contacts. It's been a long road (15 years) and only now
have I found a place I want to be long term. I did not take the fast
I know little of the L.A. theatrical community, except that many who
are involved in it have film careers or aspirations. In that
environment I would think that it is even more WHO you know. You can
work on that aspect by talking to everyone you meet in your current
projects. Make sure they know about ALL of your skills and interests,
because otherwise, I've found people will assume you are what they
see. If they see a volunteer sewing buttons, they'll assume that's
all you can or want to do. If you run into Production Managers,
Artistic Directors, etc, while walking through the workplace,
introduce yourself, even if, practically speaking, they have nothing
to do with your current job.
I'm basically a shy person, and these are the things that I rarely
do, but I see other people doing them, and getting the jobs I wanted.
I have a career I enjoy, but the more you can get your face and name
to stick in people's heads, the faster you can acheive what it has
taken me 15 years and a lot of student loan debt to do.
(sorry about being so long-winded)
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