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 'hollywood'

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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

Debbie Reynolds’ Costume Auction Prices Through the Roof!

The big auction of Debbie Reynolds’ prized costume collection was yesterday, and my, my my – the prices were astounding.  Marilyn Monroe’s iconic white subway grate halter dress from The Seven Year Itch went for $4.6M.  Add the $1M auction commission the buyer must pay, that’s a whopping $5.6M.  For a dress!  But it’s not just a dress, as we all know.  It’s a costume, and it’s a piece of Hollywood history.  Congrats to Debbie Reynolds on the success of her auction.  Indiewire has a nice article summing it up – read it HERE.  Looks like there’s no official tally of auction prices, but I will post them as soon as I see them.  Have a great week, everyone!

UPDATE:  Full list of sale prices HERE!  Thanks, Chris!

– KMB

Superheroes of Hollywood Blvd: Saved By the 1st Amendment!

The Superheroes of Hollywood Boulevard are wearing capes made out of the First Amendment for now – seems that a U.S. District judge ruled that they were “without a doubt” protected in their freedom of speech.  Read the article in the LA Times HERE!  Chalk up a long-fought victory for the Justice League.  And stay tuned for further developments!

– KMB

Superheroes of Hollywood Blvd., Part II

Here’s the follow-up on the Superheroes of Hollywood Boulevard!!! Enjoy, Frocktalkers!!

Hollywood Boulevard Costume Capers

Earlier this year, I posted a story about the arrest of costumed characters roaming Hollywood Boulevard.  At issue – their demands for tips, and their illegal use of licensed/copyright/trademarked costumes.  Well, it appears the rag-tag Justice League of Hollywood Boulevard came together to find a solution.  See it here, and thanks to Frocktalker Angus for the link!

— KMB

Gone With The Wind Gowns Need your Help!

Very interesting article in the LA Times.  Some of the famous Walter Plunkett-designed gowns from Gone With the Wind are in need of restoration and repair.  You can make a donation to help save them HERE.  Keep in mind, most film costumes are not made to last forever, just through the shooting period, really.  If these costumes are to be preserved, it is going to take some work!  Once the costumes are restored, they can be exhibited, and we can share this important chapter of our art form’s history with the public.  If you’d like more information about Walter Plunkett and the design process for this epic film, click HERE!

— KMB

The Walk of Fame Lost Some Character(s)….

Yesterday, news broke in Los Angeles that the (in)famous characters on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame were arrested!  Local Angelenos know that these “actors” – people dressed in costumes, trolling for tips – are often aggressive and antagonistic toward tourists, but did we know their activity was illegal?  First, the costumes are licensed.  Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Shrek – all of these are licensed images, likenesses and costumes.  To make money off them is theoretically illegal.  Second, these people are essentially doing business – demanding money when a tourist take a picture with them.  You must have a license in order to do business, and these people do not.  Third, the aggressive behavior perpetrated by these people (and I, for one, have been body-checked by Superman) is punishable as assault if it’s bad enough.  I have wanted to do a story on these people for a long time, but they are quite an unfriendly bunch, and would demand remuneration for an interview; something to which I am opposed.  So instead, I bring you this story from KTLA, and you can read all about it.

CLICK TO READ STORY

– KMB

Working Class Costumes: Let the Debate Begin

Is it still "Blue Collar" if it's fur?

Is it still "Blue Collar" if it's fur?

Eagle-Eyed Frocktalk tipster Lisa pointed this article out to me today.  It’s from our friends over at Jezebel, who put their spin on this article from Slate.  The Slate article complains about beautiful Hollywood stars trying (and failing) to look working class in movies.  I must warn you, not all the content in the articles is particularly nice or flattering to costume designers, but I think it’s important that we read these articles and think about these issues.  Slate went so far as to post a slideshow about the subject HERE.  Clearly no one at Slate has designed costumes for a movie, because if they had, they certainly would know what it feels like to receive five pages of notes from studio executives asking to make the actress look “less schlumpy” and “more attractive”, even though she is working class, blue collar, to’ up from the flo’ up, and dirt poor.  Of particular interest (to me anyway), are the comments on these articles.  Check it out, and let the discussion begin!

** UPDATE!!! – I wrote a letter to Sadie Stein, the author of the Jezebel article!  Read it after the jump! **

Continue reading ‘Working Class Costumes: Let the Debate Begin’

OMG: Why Aren’t Costume Designers Household Names?

Cartoonization of costume designer EDITH HEAD

Cartoonization of costume designer EDITH HEAD

Frocktalk tipster Emilia pointed me to this article from JEZEBEL today.  Look:

http://jezebel.com/5407463/more-costume-designers-should-be-household-names

I am REALLY glad that someone (other than me) is shedding light on this subject.  Give costume designers credit when credit is due!!  Viva Jezebel!!

— KMB

Economic Downturn, Part 3: Cash Break Zero

The LA Times is running another extraordinary story today about shrinking salaries in Hollywood.  Work trickles in slowly here these days – many people are unemployed – and the rates that studios will pay is attenuating down to scale for some department heads.  Scale!!  The audacity!  It’s not just about actors’ salaries, and points on the gross, either.  Every strata of film worker is affected.  Read on…

LA TIMES ARTICLE

— KMB



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