RE: [TheCostumersManifesto] Re: Theatrical costume design compensation
- I have found that the best way to make decent money in the costume world is RENTALS. I usually make 2-3 times my design fee by renting from my own stock. It takes a while to build, but with every show it grows. I started collecting purchased (new and vintage) clothing and built-from-scratch costumes when I was in grad school and now have a warehouse full of stock (thousands of pieces and counting). I use on average 50%-80% of my own stock on every show I design. They never seem to have much to pay the designer, but they always seem to have decent costume budgets. And, the rentals are "business income", not personal income, so most of it can be written off....
This is one thing I have that the newbies coming out of school don't. One stop shopping.
Date: Mon, 23 May 2011 14:03:47 +0000
Subject: [TheCostumersManifesto] Re: Theatrical costume design compensation
Interesting discussion. I think the compensation for the whole costume team (not just design) is inadequate and kind of the "pink collar" ghetto of small and regional theatres. Why is it that many regional theatres have IATSE contracts with scene shops, electricians, stagehands, etc. but not with the costume shop and wardrobe crews? I feel that it's because these other jobs are primarily done by men and costume jobs are most often done by women. I find it amazing that theatres advertise entry level costuming jobs that pay less than $15 per hour (generally with no overtime) and say, "MFA preferred"! But the truth is, there are plenty of young newly-minted MFAs willing to take on these jobs. People will stay in these positions and move on (often to non-theatre jobs with better compensation and working conditions) in a few years and then the theatre can hire a new crop of young people, again willing to work for very little. Years of experience is generally not as valued. As someone else said in another response to this post, the only way to make any money is to work in LA or New York. I don't know what the answer is to this problem though.
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