THE MANIFESTO IS MUTATING! IT IS TURNING INTO A WIKI THAT CAN BECOME THE HIVE MIND OF ALL COSTUMERS, FINALLY LIVING UP TO IT'S SLOGAN: "COSTUMERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!" YOU CAN HELP IN THIS PROCESS BY MOVING PAGES TO THE NEW SITE AT THECOSTUMERSMANIFESTO.COM, HELPING TO EDIT THE PAGES THAT ARE THERE ALREADY, AND ADDING YOUR OWN ORIGINAL INPUT.
Ultimate Sticker Book: Costume
Huge numbers of students are given the assignment of interviewing a person who has the job they want to have as adults, and asking a series of job questions. However, there are many, many kids who would like to become costume designers, and not a lot of us designers who have time to answer the dozens of inquiries we get. I am no exception, I can't spend the time answering these inquiries individually. What I can do is answer the questions I am asked most frequently, and give you links to a large number of other online interviews with costume designers (see bottom of page), many of whom have answered similar questions in their interviews. As a student you can use these to complete your report. ----Tara Maginnis
What Do You do as a Costume Designer for a Living?
Hello Tara, my name is Miranda and I'm in the seventh grade at Prospero Middle
School. In English class I'm doing a job search. For my profession I chose costume
designing. I have a list of questions that I would like you to answer as best as you
can. Thank-you very much for your time, this is helping me out a lot.
1) What kind of skills training and/or education would I need to become a costume designer?
Tara: I needed a Ph.D. and most costume designers in University theatre need at least an MFA, that is a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Design. Generally, to do this sort of work in an educational setting you need to be prepared to be a college professor, that is do historical research, have English skills sufficient to be a published author of articles BEFORE you are hired, as well as every year after you are hired. You need to learn to draw figures that look well proportioned and in character with the play. You need to have lots of social skills for interacting with your director, the other (scenic and lighting) designers, each of the actors, and the public (not to mention the students who will be working with you to make the costumes. You need to learn all sewing, painting, dyeing and crafts skills needed to make your costumes, including how to draft period patterns from scratch, well enough that you can teach these things to your workers. You also need a good knowledge of costume history, theatre history, art history, and the usual more generalized social and political history. You need library research skills, internet skills, and basic budgeting math. You should get a demonstrable competency with pencils, pens, opaque and transparent watercolor, drawing inks, felt pens and Prizmacolor pencils. Computer literacy is also a must.
Costuming Made Easy : How to Make Theatrical Costumes from Cast-Off Clothing (written for adults, but any bright Jr. High School or High School kid could use it to make great cheap costumes for school plays)
Instant Period Costume : How to Make Classic Costumes from Cast-Off Clothing See above description.
The Costume Designer's Handbook : A Complete Guide for Amateur and Professional Costume Designers Rosemary Ingham & Elizabeth Covey. The standard textbook on costume design. Illustrated in B&W and Color.
2) What does a costume designer actually do?
3) What are the working conditions?
4) What are the average high/low earnings of a costume designer.
5) What is the future job outlook?
6) What is the most enjoyable thing about being a costume designer?
8) What got you interested in being a designer?
Today I spent 9-1 doing assessment reports for the university administration, 1:130 helping a high school film class borrow costumes for a project, 1:30-3 sorting through our costume storage to weed out discards for the year, 3-4 discussing cleaning plans with my assistant, and digging through paperwork on my desk, 4-5 putting away antique costumes and accessories into storage. 515-7 Hunting for needed costume items at value village. 715-9 writing this. 9-930 vainly trying to get online to send it. After I do get through (945?) I'll go straight to work on scans for my web site, probably till 12.
11) How do you feel, in working in the costume world, design ultimately affects the performance?
Design affects different performances different ways:
Once again, thank-you for your time. ---Miranda
The Costume Technician's Handbook : A Complete Guide for Amateur and Professional Costume Technicians Rosemary Ingham & Elizabeth Covey. The standard textbook on costume construction and costume shop management. Excellent information on drafting, cutting, shop equipment, and forms. This is the improved and expanded text of the old, beloved, The Costumer's Handbook. Illustrated in B&W and Color.
Hand out for Middle School on Costuming as a Job:
WHAT A COSTUMER DOES FOR A LIVING
WHAT YOU SHOULD STUDY IF YOU WANT TO COSTUME: (EVERYTHING)
AFTER SCHOOL PROJECTS:
Links to info about similar jobs
Links to Interviews
Places you can study Costume Design
NYC Costuming info
Other Costume Designer Links
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This Page is part of The Costumer's Manifesto by Tara Maginnis, Ph.D. Copyright 1996-2010. You may print out any of these pages for non-profit educational use such as school papers, teacher handouts, or wall displays. You may link to any page in my site.
This page last edited on 01/27/2010