Amalgamation of Life, Costume Designer

Plan Ahead

I can’t speak enough for planning ahead. Do not wait until production week to complete your costume plot for production. Things go so much smoother when you are properly prepared and thoughtful with your approach to dress individuals. I can’t tell you how many kudos I received from the teenagers who, I discovered a few days ago, almost never have costumes until opening night.

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, a few of the teens did not have a fully completed outfit until opening. All the pieces were there but not together. It came down to prioritizing what could be done quickly. I completed what I could for a majority of the teens to use so that I had enough time to focus on that which needed undivided attention. I didn’t think it would be possible for me to be more in favor of checklists than I was before, but that new habit I recently developed (say, around September 2018?) has seriously been helpful and useful.

I was able to keep track of what work I knew had to be done and what work I didn’t know had to be done. …No, you didn’t read that wrong. During tech week, I took the first two rehearsal nights to watch the teens perform. I wanted to observe who had what where (ha, or wear) and what was wrong. And when I say wrong, I actually mean needed repair or reevaluation. Maybe the dress pants didn’t work for a character or someone couldn’t get all of their costume on in time for their next scene.

This is one of the most important things to observe and identify that a show runs as smoothly as possible. If an actor can’t get dressed, you can’t have a show. As I am writing this I am reminded of the other kind of back end production staff roles that are equally as important as costumes. Stage crew, light operators, light designers, and prop builders. If what we create for an actor, a scene, a stage doesn’t work… we’ve ruined the possibility of an amazing show.

Now, I can only speak to my experiences as stage crew and prop builders (outside of costuming) and I can only speak for myself in general… But, I know I’m not the only one out there who takes these kind of copious notes. I also not the only person who needs a list like the above to keep them on task to ensure all tasks are completed timely. Or, the only one who takes the time to identify where I could have done things differently and made someone’s life easier while on stage.

Ah, alas–hindsight is 20/20. ‘Til next time.

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