BWW Blog: My Costume Design Experience at SCAD
Hi friends! Welcome back! I hope everyone has had a good beginning to their school year. This week I wanted to talk more about my time as a costume designer here at SCAD. It's midterms week here at my first quarter of my senior year and I find myself reminiscing on my past three years. What I've had a chance to do and what I've enjoyed while studying costume design. SCAD is very much a take it or leave it school. What I mean by that is SCAD has lots of events and extra opportunities to get more experience in your chosen field and hear from industry professionals. You can either take these opportunities and get the most out of your time at school or you can choose to not do any extra activities (and to be frank, miss out on some awesome things).
Student films, SCAD produced TV shows, SCAD produced theatre productions, Q&A's with industry professionals, and even a big Film Festival at the end of Fall quarter (which is actually coming up and I will be making a post about that... as well as maybe a vlog) are just some of the cool things we can work on or go to. I've gone to/ worked on most of these different opportunities and I'm very glad I did. Getting hands-on experience on any kind of set is so valuable. Hearing about how it all works in the classroom versus actually doing it will really separate you from the rest of your peers. Even if you are just organizing the wardrobe rack (we all have to start somewhere) getting involved gets your name out there. There were definitely times, I'll admit, I didn't want to go in and just clean the costume shop but, I always went in with my best attitude. People remembered that and asked me to work on other projects. Just being a nice person opens doors for you. Also, by getting this experience early you can figure out if you truly want to pursue a career in film, television, or theater.
One thing I've absolutely adored about college so far is being able to take advantage of my creative freedom. Once a designer gets out into the world there's lots of people our designs have to go through before a design can be finalized. All of my professors have told me don't get too attached to a design because of the chance of your design being vetoed. During the Film Festival in my freshman year I heard a similar tale from Sandy Powell (who has won three Academy Awards and most recently designed the costumes for Mary Poppins Returns). She said that in order to be a successful costume designer you need to know some psychology as well. Make the director think that your idea is their idea and they'll like it more. Now, on my own here at SCAD I have the freedom to say, hey this imaginary production of Macbeth I'm designing for, let's set it in modern times. I did this just so I could add a certain element in my designs that I would not have been able to add in the original time period. In the past year I have seen so many theater productions in school and outside of school that have inspired me and given me so many new ideas that I've been able to use (and incidentally put into my portfolio to show off my creativity) because I could design whatever I wanted without anyone to telling me no.
Creativity and inspiration are a powerful combo. At SCAD I've found plenty of both and have used them to create interesting costume designs to showcase in my professional portfolio (something so important for anyone in any creative field). By seeking out and becoming involved in productions around the school I not only got valuable hands-on experience but, I also got to put these opportunities onto my resume. Portfolios and resumes might not be things you are thinking about yet (especially if you are in your freshmen or even sophomore year) but, the sooner you start working on them, the better they will be when you start looking for internships and/or jobs. These aren't things I just sought out myself, I was lucky enough to have professors encouraging me to go work on these productions and to design whatever I wanted to. I'm very grateful to my professors here for pushing me to do these things. I've definitely benefited from all the extra work.