For those who have not been with me since the conception of this blog I am a costumer, for those that have no clue of what that title means someone who helps with the costumes on a movie, tv or theatre production, we do the planning, designing, tracking down outfits the client wants, ironing, making sure continuity is on and all those bits and bobs that the director doesn’t think about. Now you may think his job is all fun with a tiny hint of stress and you would be correct in that assumption, but let me share a little secret with you, when your just starting out in the industry you don’t get payed, I remember this one time I asked to be payed and I was admittedly kicked off the project, in the world of movies, television and theatre you have to take a lot of free gigs to bolster your reputation and expand your portfolio. It’s an exhausting experience and a lot of people quit after a couple of years and I don’t blame them, no pay, jobs are hard to find and sometimes productions get cancelled. I’m not saying others in the industry have it hard but this is just my perspective on the matter from where I am, it’s a rather thankless job and if anyone’s getting payed last I seems to always be us the costumer. As much as I want to continue to gripe about the state of people being payed in this industry and the struggles of a costumer getting continuous work that’s not what I’m going to be going on about, what I wanna write to you about is about my very first customer as a costume designer, for the sake of privacy I will call this person Time because of the time they wasted with me.
This tale begins as most do you finish school and I was looking for a job so I checked my favourite site Starnow and after a little bit of browsing the first ever ad I answered was to make a medieval dress pretty simple construction but also a lot of work, when starting any garment you need to make up sketches, looked at patterns, travel around looking for fabrics that fit within the budget so that means trips to the city. After all this preparation I made plans with her to meet in the city so I could show her my progress and sign off on the outfit she wanted to have made up, but she doesn’t show up I thought she was just running late so I waited and waited. After 20 minutes I call her up and she tells me she isn’t feeling well and I reschedule to meet her, again, again and again and again at this point I’m pretty fed up with her at this point and when I call up again she say’s that she found something on ebay and I’m furious as I had spent hours upon hours working for her when I could have been working on another project for someone. Now this was my first job and after a bit of venting I felt alright and I tried to forget about her, but then she contacted me again a year later and I thought she’s serious this time she means it and so I got out all my old stuff and then she backed out again at the last minute. Then I heard from my other costuming pals that this women had constantly done this to them as well and they had way more experience than I ever did in technique and in affluence.
Your probably wondering what is the point of this tale I’m telling you and I guess if there ever was a point to this little story it would be to expand your community when talking to costumers and to avoid people like this, you can’ always tell at first but then it becomes clear on who they are after the second time they cancel on you.