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What's the most insulting thing that's ever happened to you as a costumer?

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  • K Murphy
    In light of the discussions lately about the value of our work and so forth, I was just wondering if you all have stories about the absolute worst, most
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 9, 2006
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      In light of the discussions lately about the value of our work and so forth, I was just wondering if you all have stories about the absolute worst, most insulting thing you've had happen in your professional capacity.

      I have a couple of favorite stories to get the ball rolling...

      When I went on maternity leave from my primary position seven years ago (I costume 6 musicals and 6 drama workshops per season), a man applied for my job and put all kinds of interesting references on his resume. When he came in for an interview, he admitted that though he did have a background in theatre, he'd never costumed ANYTHING, had never studied design, and didn't even know how to sew. When I asked him why he'd applied for the job, he said, "Well, I'm sure I could learn...I mean, how hard could it be?"

      There's more...

      I work for a professional theatre that is funded as part of a park district, and my boss has a PhD in theatre. HIS boss has a BA in "Gym." We lost an Equity contract because she didn't want to "deal with any unions." And here's the part I almost quit over: after 14 years of allowing me cash advances, the park district decided it was "too much of a liability." So now I have to spend my own money and be reimbursed (I made only one mistake on one receipt in 14 years...I miscalculated by 11cents.) We're not talking petty cash, here, either...we're talking the entire budget for each show.

      How about those horror stories -- vent people, vent!





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    • Liz
      Last year I designed The Diary of Anne Frank - it was my first show as a non-student designer, at my alma mater, the University of Rhode Island. Due to the
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 14, 2006
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        Last year I designed "The Diary of Anne Frank" - it was my first
        show as a non-student designer, at my alma mater, the University of
        Rhode Island. Due to the nature of the show, I provided a lot of
        rehearsal costumes -

        Peter has this scene where he rips the gold Jood star off of his
        sweater - there is quite a bit of dialogue about it. For the tech
        rehearsal, I allowed Peter to wear the sweater, but I told him not
        to rip the star off for real, because there was no wardrobe crew
        there yet to sew them back on the next day. This makes sense to you
        all, correct?

        I was upstairs constructing something or the other, and a stage
        manager came upstairs to tell me that the lighting designer had a
        question for me. So I figure it was something about color, and went
        downstairs to talk to her. This is the conversation that followed
        (roughly paraphrased):

        Me: Hey, whats up?
        LD: Shouldn't Peter tear off his star?
        Me: Yes.
        LD: Well he isn't.
        Me: I know, I told him not to for tonight because we have no
        wardrobe crew to sew them or collect them.
        LD: But in the SHOW, he should tear off the star.
        Me: ...I know.
        LD: I mean *condescendingly* his CHARACTER would tear off the star,
        so he should do it.
        Me: ...I've got it covered.

        The issue with the above conversation being a. DUH. It is in the
        script that this happens, and believe it or not, I read the script
        more than once... and b. what the hell does this have to do with the
        lights anyway??

        Then there was the time when the director said "Make sure that the
        stars are secured with something better than velcro." ... I would
        hope that my degree in costume design would at least enable me to
        realize that in 1942 Nazi Europe, they probably didn't
        velcro ...um...ANYTHING.

        this show had a myriad of problems like that - because I think many
        of you would agree that people tend to think that costumes is
        somehting anyone knows most about... and so everyone wants their
        input. Choreographers are especially notorious for that. And of
        course if it is a safety issue, that is noteworthy. But if it's a
        style preference? get over it.

        There is my vent. you DID ask for it!! ;)
        Liz
      • ~lisa.s
        For several years, the community college where I work did A Christmas Carol as a cash cow production. A year ago, the actor cast as Scrooge was on the small
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 15, 2006
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          For several years, the community college where I work did "A Christmas
          Carol" as a cash cow production. A year ago, the actor cast as Scrooge
          was on the small size and looked about 12. It didn't help he had a head
          of very full hair which he wore on the longish side. I asked all men to
          get their hair cut short--even providing illustrations for them. Final
          dress came, and Scrooge still hadn't had his hair cut. His hair was so
          dark and dense that no matter what we tried we couldn't get it a
          believable white/gray color. So I told him it was imperative that he had
          it cut before our 10:00 am opening the next day.

          Needless to say, he didn't.

          That evening, before the show, I left my clip board in the men's
          dressing room. When I went to get it, an envelope was attached,
          addressed to "costume person". The letter was signed by kid's father
          (which I still don't believe, just from the handwriting) saying that he
          and his mother liked their son's hair the way it was, and I must not be
          competent in my job if I couldn't put a wig on him, or find another
          solution, besides having the kid cut his hair!

          Later in the run, the kid came up to me, holding a program and asked, if
          everything in my bio was true (!) (25 years experience in academic and
          professional theater, yada yada yada...) and said he hadn't realized
          that I was faculty. (!!)

          After that show, I had it written into the audition form that if cast,
          the actor agrees to have their hair cut and/or styled as deemed
          appropriate, by me, for the role.

          It hasn't broken my heart that the kid hasn't been cast in any other shows...

          ~lisa.s
          --
          * llsturts@...
        • Brad Gould
          Hello, Recently, my boyfriend and I were watching A beautiful Mind on dvd. Going through the special features I saw a clip on the aging makeup where they
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 14, 2006
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            Hello,
            Recently, my boyfriend and I were watching "A beautiful Mind" on dvd. Going through the special features I saw a clip on the aging makeup where they mentioned making pieces to apply to Russel Crowe's face to age him. I believe that they said that they were using a silicone or silicone foam. Where could I get this, and could it be used in drag for fake breasts?
            Thanks for any info, I've never worked with anything like this before.
            Brad


            ---------------------------------
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          • Steven Sorton
            Try http://www.smooth-on.com/specialfx.htm . They should have what you re looking for. Lord Ironwulf ironwulf@optonline.net Yahoo ID: lordironwulf Shadow
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 15, 2006
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              Try http://www.smooth-on.com/specialfx.htm . They should have what you're looking for.



              Lord Ironwulf

              ironwulf@...

              Yahoo ID: lordironwulf



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              ----- Original Message -----

              Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 22:29:05 -0500 (EST)
              From: Brad Gould <bradleyvictor@...>
              Subject: Silicone?

              Hello,
              Recently, my boyfriend and I were watching "A beautiful Mind" on dvd. Going through the special features I saw a clip on the aging makeup where they mentioned making pieces to apply to Russel Crowe's face to age him. I believe that they said that they were using a silicone or silicone foam. Where could I get this, and could it be used in drag for fake breasts?
              Thanks for any info, I've never worked with anything like this before.
              Brad




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