Welcome to FrockTalk, the web’s only costume-based movie review site. The goal of Frocktalk is to shed light on the magnificent artistry of costume design in motion pictures. Reviews on this site are written by working costume designers in the entertainment industry – people who know, better than anyone, what it takes to make it all happen. The focus of FrockTalk is not to comment on the big flashy costume dramas, but to call attention to the seemingly ordinary costume design work in film that silently and persuasively moves the audience toward understanding the characters. Costume design for motion pictures is an art form that deserves more recognition than it usually gets. Fancy, pretty costumes do not always equal effective, appropriate costumes. The art of the costume is in letting the audience know who the character is, before the actor even has a chance to open his mouth. Read on, and enjoy. ** CAUTION: ALL REVIEWS CONTAIN SPOILERS! **

Audrey Fisher: It’s In Her Blood

Frocktalk reporters Anthony Tran, JoAnn Orr, and Laura Wong sunk their teeth into Audrey Fisher, 2010 Costume Designers Guild Award nominee for HBO’s True Blood. Audrey was very poised and gracious; she answered our barrage of questions like a true champ.

FT: What are your impressions of this costume exhibit?

AF: It’s always so inspirational to see the costumes up close. It gives me a huge sense of accomplishment for the other designers to see how beautiful things are close up.

FT: What is your collaboration like with the make-up department on “True Blood”?

AF: We have a very close collaboration. Brigette Myre-Ellis is the makeup artist. She’s phenomenal. There’s also a whole special effects makeup team from MastersFX, headed by Dan Rebert. We work really closely together to make sure the costume is going to support whatever blood work we’re doing. We take care of a lot of the blood. If it’s basically on the body, we have to make the clothes reflect the wounds, so we put a lot of the blood on the costumes. The special effects people make the (wound) appliance and add the blood to the appliance. We always work together, but we have to be very careful to make sure we’re using the same kind of blood, the same color, so that it looks right. We try to talk to each other as much as we can. We see each other all the time.

FT: How many multiples on the costumes do you use?

AF: Usually, at least 4 and sometimes up to 6, just to be safe.

FT: How much is built vs. purchased on “True Blood”?

AF: I usually try to build as much as I can, but then the time and the speed of the production sort of prevents me from doing as much as I would love to do. I do have two full-time tailors, cutters/drapers. I try to build as much as I can for the principal characters, especially if it’s going to be a featured costume that’s worn for several episodes. If the costume has a lot of stunts, blood, whatever, then I try to build it so that it’s easy for us to manufacture and have multiples. The durability is also what we need for that long period of time (shooting). So I would say we build maybe 40%, but that’s also considering all the tweaking I do to the things that I buy. We might dye it, change the collar, or I customize it.

FT: Tell us about working with the actors of “True Blood” –

AF: They’re all wonderful professionals. They’ve been supportive from the very beginning. We have a wonderful dialogue where we can get to the right design quickly, which is really satisfying for me.

FT: What is the toughest part about working on “True Blood”?

AF: I have to say the pace and the schedule. It’s all related to time. It affects everything: creative process, who you get when. Casting hugely affects how quickly I can get things done. That would be it. Production does a great job of getting us the scripts early so I can think about it. But until I have the body, I can’t make the costume. I can think about it, but that’s it.

FT: What is your favorite part about working on “True Blood”?

AF: The flashbacks are always a lot of fun. The ’20s flashback, ’30s flashback, the Vikings. Those are so great because I get to do something so bizarre. Like all of a sudden “1920s!” even though we’re doing something contemporary. Those opportunities offer a lot, creatively – to go to places I didn’t expect, working on this show. When you first sign on to this kind of show, you don’t think that you’re going to have flashbacks, so that is really rewarding.

Thank you, Audrey, for telling us about our favorite show! Good luck with the Costume Designers Guild Awards! We will see you then!

— AT, LW & JO

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