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! **

Tag Archive for 'business'

The Cost of Long Hours

Very nice steer at our location yesterday.

Very nice steer at our location yesterday.

Hey there, Frocktalkers – here’s another installment in the life of episodic TV costume design… I’ve been doing kind of insane hours here – seventeen-hour days, on average.  We’re shooting two full units and I have to keep an eye on both of them, which means that if A unit has a 6AM call, I am there for that.  And if B unit has a 4PM call, I am there for that, too, sometimes until the bitter end.  And then up and at it again for the next day.  It’s not enough sleep, and I am struggling for a way to mitigate this kind of thing.  It’s very hard when we shoot two episodes at once, establishing on both units, and I am responsible for both, having to be present for all of it.

Continue reading ‘The Cost of Long Hours’

Last Chance – Lincoln Fabrics

Frocktalkers, a longtime landmark in Los Angeles textiles is closing. Lincoln Fabrics, having served the Venice community for 54 years, is closing up shop on Halloween. This is your last chance to get your hands on their delicious vintage fabrics and trims. And they have more than a million yards waiting for you!  If you spend $30, you get 15% off. Spend $100, get 20% off. Store hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10A – 5:30P, and everything must go. If you are designing a period show, they are stocked to the gills with vintage fabric, from 1950s-1990s, and it is gorgeous and cool. Owner Marlene Marcus can show you to the warehouse if you need bulk yardage or something really unusual. She is such a cool lady, and I am truly sad to see them shutting down after such a long time. Please stop by the store and pick up something extra special – the price is right, and the fabrics are excellent.  And thanks, Lincoln Fabrics, for all of your help over the years.  I will really miss you.

Lincoln Fabrics

1600 – 1608 Lincoln Blvd. (btn Rose and Venice on the East side of the Street), Venice, CA 90291310-396-5724; Open Tuesday – Saturday 10A – 5:30P

– KMB

Dear Kristin: Internship?

Dear Kristin: I have just completed a foundation course in Art and Design. Before I start a degree course in performance costume in London next year I am planning to spend a year gaining some practical experience in a variety of areas related to theatre and design. I wonder if you know of any possibilities of an internship in this or a related area for some or all of the next twelve months. I have good organisational skills and thrive on working to deadlines. I would really appreciate any help that you could offer and, even if you are unable to help with internships, any advice you could give would be most welcome.

-Polly

Continue reading ‘Dear Kristin: Internship?’

Tweeting My Face Off!!!

Find me @Frocktalk!

Hey Frocktalkers!!  Just letting you know that I am finally starting to get the hang of this Twitter thing and I have been tweeting my face off!  I am tweeting links to other interesting articles about costume design in film and television, as well as JOB OPENINGS that come across my desk.  If you have a costume-related job opening that you need to fill, send it on over and I will tweet it.  For those of you unfamiliar with the way Twitter works (Mom, I’m talking to you) you need to create a Twitter account in order to follow my tweets.  You don’t have to tweet anything yourself, and no one will steal your identity or track your movements.  In fact, no one has to know who you are!  Stay in touch and I’ll see you in the twittersphere!  @Frocktalk

– KMB

Exploitation, or Have You Hugged Your Union Today?

It’s Labor Day weekend – a time when most people frolic in the swimming pool, get drunk, barbeque and enjoy the last throes of summer before the rigors of school and work catch up with them. But did you know that without unions, we wouldn’t have this three-day-weekend to celebrate? I want to take time this weekend to talk about exploitation, and what led to the creation of these unions. Working in the film industry, you may encounter lots of different types of jobs – some union, and others, non-union. You need to be very, VERY aware of your rights if you work on non-union projects. Whereas the union has rules and regulations in place to protect you in the workplace, non-union work has practically nothing. You need to be forewarned about some of the shenanigans that people will try to pull – to know what is legal, and what is not! I will do my best to spell it out for you here.

Continue reading ‘Exploitation, or Have You Hugged Your Union Today?’

20 Years of Costume Design!

Hello, Frocktalkers! Yesterday, I celebrated the 20th anniversary of being hired as a costume designer on a feature film. I can’t believe the time has gone by so quickly; it seems impossible. Back then, I was just a young university graduate with a dream – I came to LA not knowing a soul in the industry, but I scrapped and I hustled and I made it happen. I want to sincerely thank producers Holly Keenan, Scott Levy and Mike Elliott for the communication error that eventually lead to my hiring on that film, The Skateboard Kid (you can read all about it in my book Costuming for Film). I’d also like to thank director Larry Swerdlove and producer Roger Corman for not finding out about it and firing me. It’s been a long, arduous, crazy and fun journey, and it feels really satisfying to still be here with most of my sanity intact, surrounded by great friends and still enjoying the work.

Along those lines, I thought you might find the following reading material quite interesting:

Continue reading ’20 Years of Costume Design!’

Week’s End Wrap-up: Congrats to Keira & James, and I Heart You, Gavin Polone.

Working in this business is all-consuming, and often it takes weeks to get your life together after you’ve been out of town for a few months on a job.  As I sift through two trash bags’ worth of mail, unpack box after box, and do laundry for what seems like weeks, I am reminded that this is my privilege.  We can complain and carp about the crazy hours, lack of budget and bad food, or whatever makes you whine and moan, but at the end of the day, we should realize that it is a privilege to do this kind of artistic work for a living.  We make amazing friends, and we have the BEST STORIES EVER for cocktail parties and (eventually) for the nursing home and/or our salacious memoirs.

Continue reading ‘Week’s End Wrap-up: Congrats to Keira & James, and I Heart You, Gavin Polone.’

Dear Kristin: To Rep or Not To Rep?

Legendary talent agent Swifty Lazar

Legendary talent agent Swifty Lazar

Dear Kristin: I have been in the business for a few years, and started styling commercials recently. I am considering looking for an agent in order to be able to branch out with work, at least with commercials (though of course I’d rather do movies). What are your thoughts? Would it help me? I have heard from various people that their agents take anywhere from 10-30% (approx. 30% was from a makeup artist friend who also does a lot of print/fashion work). What do your agents take? Do you think it would be worth it for me?

Thanks, E.

Continue reading ‘Dear Kristin: To Rep or Not To Rep?’

Is This the Sound of the Door Slamming Closed on Your Foot?

Painting by Poucher

Painting by Poucher

Frocktalkers, in this industry, the easiest way to meet people and to make connections while you’re in school is to INTERN.  This usually means working unpaid, for school credit, and doing all kinds of menial jobs while observing the way filmmaking works.  I interned.  Everyone I know interned.  You suck it up and pay your dues for a few weeks or months, and you leave with an address book full of potential job contacts.  Most people don’t complain about this, knowing that it is part of a long-standing system in our culture.  Well, a couple of interns from the acclaimed film Black Swan have now filed a lawsuit against Fox Searchlight claiming that they should have been paid for their time, and that the work they did should have been done by paid employees of Fox… and according to Nikki Finke, they are turning it into a class-action lawsuit, encompassing more than 100 former unpaid Fox Searchlight interns.

To say that this is a bad idea for their future entertainment careers is one thing.  What they might fail to realize is that by bringing this suit to court, they may well be thwarting the growth and development of hundreds of other students, eager for legitimate experience in the industry.  Do you honestly think Fox or any of its affiliates will ever again allow interns?  Not likely – and who could blame them?!  If other studios and production companies follow suit, it could be disastrous for college students wanting some summer experience.  Keep in mind that the people filing the suit took these intern jobs of their own volition – no one forced them to work for free.  They volunteered.  To punish Fox (and by extension, potentially hundreds or thousands of aspiring filmmakers) for a personal decision they now regret is completely convoluted.   They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

What do you think?

UPDATE: Fox Searchlight responds with, “And you are…???”

– KMB

Costume Design Around the World

Hello Frocktalkers – after a long absence, I am back in the States to tell you all about it. I have been designing costumes for films for (officially) about twenty years now, and I have had the good fortune to work all over the world. Everyone does things a bit differently, and it is always fascinating to note not only the similarities, but also the differences. I’ve just visited Argentina, and I was lucky enough to hook up with a production down there to see how they do it.

Continue reading ‘Costume Design Around the World’



Follow us on Twitter!

Recent Comments