“Is being a costume designer, especially in theatre, as exciting and theatrical as I think it is??”
This question was posed to me through email a while ago.
I really want to encourage anyone with the dream of becoming a designer to do it. There is no better feeling than getting paid to do something you love. Not only can you proudly exclaim that you love to get up everyday and go to work. But you also get to use phrases like, ” do what you love and the money will follow”.
Now for a small dose of reality
There are days when I DON’T like what I do.
There are actually days when I have to force myself to go to another meeting with a director I don’t enjoy working with.
There are times I want to roll my eyes at an actor in a fitting because they are just making suggestions that cannot be executed (or falls squarely into the category of “stupid).
There are nights when all I want to do is watch TV, but I can’t because I have renderings that are due the next day.
There are days when I don’t eat lunch because I’m too busy shopping for that one elusive costume piece to complete the look – which makes me crabby to everyone around me because of low blood-sugar.
I take on shows that I’m uninspired by because I need the work. I take on shows that don’t pay well because I need the work. I work with theaters that I know won’t lead to any notoriety because I need the work.
If I didn’t have a spouse who supported me, I would be living in an efficiency apartment, eating ramen noodles, tea, and beans on toast.
So, no, it isn’t as exciting as most people think.
Even the biggest designers are not going to red-carpet events every other weekend. But one should have dreams….
I wouldn’t do anything else.
One thing that having a baby has taught me, is that you hold onto the good times (the smiles, the laughs, the chasing through the hallways) and put the bad (exploding diapers, sneak spit up events, inconsolable crying spells) in the back of your mind.
Being a designer requires a lot of self discipline. There is pride in that.
There are also the joys of creating art that is enjoyed by others: audience members, actors, directors, etc.
There are wonderfully fun and fantastic people working in film, television, and theater, and you get to know them.
I am challenged, inspired and rewarded in this career.
This is why no other job has worked for me. And likely never could
10 Comments to The allure of costume design … and a reality check
Leave a comment
Search the archives
- Long silence, new project!
- Costume Renderings: Mistakes, Mishaps, Failures, and Flubs – Part 3
- Costume Renderings: Mistakes, Mishaps, Failures and Flubs – Part 2
- Costume Renderings: Mistakes, Mishaps, Failures and Flubs – Part 1
- Jessica interviews Jessica
- Greening Theatre With Foundation Garments
- The allure of costume design … and a reality check
- Sources of Inspiration
- Designer . . . Actor . . . Director
- How you can turn any school subject into a costume focused study