Pre-Production: Tips on Costumes

Costumes can be a tricky thing to keep up with in filmmaking. There are many methods of managing them, but a good amount of factors should be considered before going down any one path.

Consider Your Project

The two elements that you need to weigh are budget and subject matter. We will start with low budget, modern subject matter. In this situation, you are most likely to ask your actors to (please) bring something that would suit their character. This is free, but comes with some risks. If you are low budget and shooting a period piece, you can rent costumes from a number of different places.

If you have some money and are shooting a modern subject matter, then your wardrobe department will probably go shopping at all the high end boutiques to find the best clothes for your stars. If you are high budget and shooting a period piece, then you will have a team designing and making costumes.

Carry the Costumes Around

You should always have your entire actor's wardrobe at location. You can leave the clothes for actors who are not currently on set elsewhere, but bring every item for characters who are on the call sheet. Perhaps the production gets ahead of schedule, and you realize they can shoot another scene. Lack of wardrobe should not be the deciding factor. If you were having your actors bring their costumes from home, ask to keep all their costumes until the shooting is done. Otherwise, they might forget something one day. Stay prepared, even if it results in a little extra leg work.

Have Multiples

The key to having a prepared wardrobe department is having multiples of everything. Perhaps you have a scene where a character gets a pie thrown in his face. Well, his shirt is going to get dirty, but you need to shoot another scene immediately after that. If you have another shirt, then no problem. However, if your actor brought this shirt from his own closet or you rented it, you only have one and will need to figure out how to get it decent enough to shoot again. If you do not have such a scene, you should still not shrug this off; your actor could be enjoying some chips and salsa at the craft service table between scenes and cause the same problem.

Ensure Continuity

Be sure to go through the script and count how many days pass in the movie. Then, write down what scenes happen on which day. Organize your characters' wardrobe by movie days. Now, whenever someone says "moving on to scene 20", you already know what everyone should be wearing at that point in the movie. You should also keep pictures of the complete ensembles as you create them. Something as detailed as a ring can cause discontinuity.

Wardrobe should not be skimmed over as an expendable department. All elements of a film set are woven together, so neglecting any part of it could cause things to unravel.

Popular Cameras for High Quality Photos: