The Assistant Designer helps the Designer with research, shopping, rentals and fittings for all characters. On lower budget productions, the Assistant Designer may also be responsible for the script breakdown and taking on the duties traditionally handled by the Costume Coordinator/Supervisor.
First Assistant Director (1st AD)
1st Assistant Director’s overall focus is to help the Director achieve their creative vision. They accomplish this by acting as the crew leader during pre-production (prep) and production (shooting). During prep, they break down the script into the Shooting Schedule, a Day Out of Days chart, and a One-Line Schedule. From this paperwork the department heads are able to prepare for the up coming filming. During shooting, they coordinate all elements of the working production, and keep the set running smoothly and on time.
Can be any of the areas that are behind the main stage in a theater. This can include behind the main curtain, in the wings, the dressing room and any other areas that cast may have to change costumes.
Breakdown (aka aging)
Act of breaking down costumes to appear lived in, aged, or destroyed.
See Textile Artist
A document given to cast and crew on a film or television shoot which contains information about the upcoming work day including start times, location, weather, scenes to be shot and cast in scenes.
Continuity is the process of tracking continuous detail throughout consecutive scenes. As a costuming example, if an actor puts on his jacket inside the house in scene 1, he should still be wearing it when he exits the door and enters his car in scene 2, and drives in scene 3. If exits his car and takes off his jacket and hooks it over his shoulder in scene 4, the costumer would note the change and continue to track.
A continually updated binder that holds pertinent production information and tracks all updates up to and including the last day of production. The Costume Department binder includes the script, production paperwork, costume plots, costume description and the continuity photos.
Costume Coordinator (Canada)/Supervisor (US):
The Coordinator is responsible for the day to day running of the department. They analyze the script breakdown and production schedules to prepare a realistic Costume budget, manufacturing and purchasing schedules and crewing requirements. They handle all the financial records for the Costume Department and are responsible for maintaining the costume budget. They coordinate all labor efforts for pre-production (the build) and the actual shoot.
The Costume Designer is an integral part of a film or television production’s creative team. In pre-production, they work closely with the Director, the Production Designer and the Producers to develop a look for the characters that best serves the story. The Costume Designer seeks inspiration from many sources, including interviews with the actors who will play the characters, and extensive historical and visual research. When shooting starts, the Costume Designer works to maintain the visual unity of the production while establishing new costumes and designing looks for new characters. The Costume Designer is considered the head of the Costume Department.
A page listing a character change (new costume), the description for the costume and the continuity notes for the scenes the costume will be worn in. Depending on the script there can be many plot sheets for each cast member.
Costumers are a key part of the costume department. Costumers must maintain a wide variety of skills to help in any situation. On any given day they might be in the office to help with fittings, in the sewing room for alterations, on the road shopping for supplies and last minute items, and on-set assisting the Set Supervisor with cast and background players.
Craft Service (crafty)
Craft service or crafty refers to the department that provides food and beverages for the set crew and cast during shooting. In some regions, Craft Service is also the first aid representative for the shooting crew and will be present on set during a stunt or any scene that could be considered dangerous for cast or crew.
A term for anyone involved with the production of a movie.
The Cutter is responsible for making patterns, cutting, fitting and construction of costumes from specific designs or sketches supplied by the Designer. The Cutter may assist in selecting materials and supervising the costume construction.
Day Out of Days
Is an at-a-glance chart that shows how many cast are scheduled for each day, allowing departments to properly budget crewing requirements for shooting.
A Dresser may assist in fitting, alterations and construction of costumes as assigned by the Designer or the Cutter. They may also assist in dressing the Background at the trailers/tents.
See Textile Artist
MacGyver was a secret agent on a TV series in the 80’s. He was able to solve complex problems with everyday materials he finds at hand, along with his trusty duct tape and Swiss Army knife. Since then, the name MacGyver has become a colloquial verb which means to create or find inventive, off-the-cuff, solutions to situations… often using one’s trusty duct tape and Swiss Army Knife.
Magic Hour (Golden Hour)
Is the first and last hour of sunlight during the day. When a specific photographic effect is achieved due to the quality of the light.
A Makeup Artist is responsible for the makeup and prosthetics that are applied to all cast and background. The requirements for this department can vary depending on the type or genre of the production, and whether film or digital is being used.
One-Line Schedule (One Liner)
Is a compact version of the shooting schedule. This is a quick look at the basic script breakdown with scene headings, day continuity for each scene and cast listed by their character numbers.
Is the process of reading a script and separating out key elements pertinent to each department’s scope of responsibility. For the Costume Department, the script is broken down into each character, the scenes they are in, how many changes they will need, what action will occur during those scenes that may affect the costumes, and how many multiples of the costume will be needed for each change.
Is the number of days through which the story is told. For example: and television show like 24, each episode occurs in one hour of one day. So the entire season will be one script day. If the story occurs over one week of a characters life, and specifically four days in that week — Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday — then there will be four script days in your breakdown.
Set is the word used to describe any area that scenes are being filmed in. For example, if you were walking from the work trucks to the first filming location of the day, you might say, “I am going to set.” A set can also define any specific building or structure that has been created for the purpose of filming.
Set Supervisor/Key Set Costumers (US)
The Set Supervisor helps to maintain the Costume Designer’s vision for each character while on set. They’re responsible for maintaining the continuity of the costumes during filming and the managing the day-to-day running of the on-set costume crew. The Set Supervisor communicates with each department for special script requirements such as the Special Effects Department and Stunts for effects like burns and bullet hits, and Visual Effects Department for Motion Capture.
The Shooting Schedule is the set Bible. It breaks down the script into the departmental requirements that are essential to shoot each scene. This allows each department to obtain the necessary items and hire crew properly for shooting days.
A studio or warehouse space used for film and television production. Traditionally, these building were sound proof, today… not so much!
Stitcher (sewer, seamstress, costume builder)
A Stitcher works in the sewing room with the Cutter during the construction of the costumes. The Stitcher will sometimes assist during fittings to help with pinning and alterations.
Teching or Tekking
This is an odd spelling that doesn’t come up in the average dictionary, it is special term that we in the industry use. The word comes from ‘technical white’ so we have shortened it to ‘Teching’. This means to slightly tint a white or bright fabric down for on camera purposed. We will ofter ask for a fabric to be tech’ed warm (creamier) or tech’ed cool (bluer or greyer) depending on the look of a show.
Textile Artist/Breakdown and Dyer
The Textile Artist and Dyer works under the direction of the Designer to bring the costume to life by what is required of the feel, look and action of the character and scene. This is done through ageing, distressing, painting, printing and dyeing. Through dyeing the dyer can manipulate colours, brighten or dull colours of the costumes, and create effects through the various dye techniques.
The textile artist/breakdown and dyer often work on creating the looks for stunt scenes that require multiplies of the costume and often work on set creating looks at a given notice. It is the part of the costume department that is the final step of the making process and it an essential part to completion of a costume.
The Truck Costumer helps set up the costume trailer (the mobile work base for the Costume Department), orders supplies and expendables, organizes items needed for cast comfort, arranges the costumes into the actors’ trailers at the start of each day and for each costume change during the day, and prepares what is required for upcoming days. They have the responsibility to track and maintain the costumes for the duration of the shoot.
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