Thanks, Curtis. I totally agree. This sounds like a great project,
but the producer hasn't a clue about costuming. He gave me a
costume plot that I think was put together by a friend who owns a
costume rental store in Denver. She has done a lot of small theatre
shows in the area, but I don't think she's ever worked in a regional
theatre or anywhere that has a budget over $500. Her plot allocated
$800 for the design fee, based on 40 hours of work. I asked for 6
grand, based on 2.5 months of work. She goes into a lot of detail
about how much materials and labor would cost for each costume, but
her labor estimates are way under, in my opinion, unless you're
thinking of community theatre costumes, and I didn't get the
impression that's what the producer wanted. When I emailed him
about this, he admitted he hadn't even looked at the plot.
I think I will send him your emails and then see what he wants to
do. I probably will take a pass. I'm not into ruining my health
and still not even being able to pay my bills in the process.
On Apr 7, 2009, at 9:43 AM, Curtis wrote:
> By all means, forward him my message. Add this one on, if you want
> it. For a show on that scale, he needs to start designing at least
> six months in advance. Personally, I would push for a year, but I
> like to try and pad estimates for stuff like that because I've had
> too many bad experiences with massive design projects that got
> started too late.
> Most theater companies I know would be starting rehearsals about
> now if they were going to be opening in mid-June...or at least
> already be cast. And that's for a regular show, with no especially
> grand design elements. The regional theaters in this area start
> lining up their designers anywhere from six months to a year before
> they plan to open the show, and have already had at least one
> production meeting by the time they start rehearsals. The more
> elaborate the show gets, the more lead time they need...and to
> incorporate a cast of 20 or so with multiple acrobats and dancers,
> it will take a lot of lead time.
> Conceptually, it sounds like a really fun project. Realistically,
> his timing in approaching you is about right if he wanted to open
> at the same time next year. And a project of this nature should
> definitely take more than standard design fees, union or not.
> Unless he's willing to adjust his production schedule, I'd
> personally recommend taking a pass on this one, or else you'll find
> yourself burned out...to bring together everything it would take to
> get this scale of show up and running on the timetable proposed
> would require you to clear your table of pretty much everything
> else from now until opening...you'd need the time to design stuff,
> and then you'd be zipping around to oversee construction and sign
> off on projects with the various companies he hired to build your
> designs, since there wouldn't be time to confer on projects via
> other means (the speed of production would pretty much require face-
> to-face meetings to avoid confusion). You'd also need a good,
> prepared wardrobe team (I was hired in November, to start in
> January, for the Paralympics, and they already had design
> renderings completed at that point, plus the wardrobe manager was
> already on staff--I was hired as a crew lead). As it stands now,
> the project sounds like a recipe for a lot of heartache for this
> year...or a lot of fun for next year.
> --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, Sylvia Rognstad
> <sylvia@...> wrote:
> > Curtis,
> > All you bring up is why this project is causing me so much concern.
> > The producer seems to have absolutely no idea how much time this
> > take. I'[m thinking maybe I should forward him your email to help
> > give him an idea.
> > He hasn't even cast the show yet. There are 18 actors, some playing
> > multiple parts, and he wants a lot of dancers and acrobats as well,
> > each playing multiple parts. The play starts at the beginning of
> > time and goes to 2020, with scenes from various periods in history.
> > The first costumes are either planets or evolving life forms--he's
> > using animation in place of some of the live action. Lots of fast
> > costume changes. The show is indoors in a $300,000 dome he is having
> > built. There will be projections on all the walls of the dome of the
> > live action which takes place on a stage out of view of the
> > Sounds very exciting, I must admit, but I really don't think he is
> > being realistic. Do you mind if I send him your message?
> > Sylvia
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