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Tag Archives: Nike

This is Where It Starts?

Actually, I think it’s more like “this is where it ends” – at least for me, because the Nike commercial I worked on (mentioned here and briefly here) is finally complete and available for viewing!  =)

For those of you who are interested in a little behind-the-scenes commentary, here are a few things I can add:

I personally worked for 2 days before a 4 day shoot (I worked 2 of the actual shoot days).  Then I worked 3 days for reshoots.  So I had 7 days of work total for a 60 second ad.  To put it another way, that’s roughly 84 hours of work for sixty SECONDS.  Craziness.

Both the leading actors were really nice.  =)

All the basketball games were completely scripted – proof that almost everything you see on camera is totally staged even when it seems real.

And isn’t it amazing that Dallas can look like China?  lol – that”s the magic of the set decorations and costumes.

The jerseys the players are wearing starting at the :42 mark were the bulk of my work for the reshoots.  There were 2 full teams worth of jerseys and all were basically one size too big for the actors in the scene (the M was more like a L, the L was more like an XL, and so on) so they all had to be altered.  Unfortunately, they couldn’t just be taken in on the side-seams because there weren’t exactly side-seams.  The sides were a panel of horizontal stripes and the seams were serged and top-stitched.  I actually had to call in another costumer friend to help (thanks, Traci!) and together it took us about a day and a half to cut them all down and sew them back up to fit properly.

Those same jerseys have the date 2029 and the letters W.M.C.C.B on them.  No one knows what the letters actually mean (one good theory is that they’re the initials of some guys working in the corporate office) but one of the extras came up with a really funny version of his own:  “Will My Check Come Before 2029?”  LOL!

And the answer (for me anyway) is yes, because I received my check last week.  Thanks, Nike!  =)

Delusions of Glamour

When I mention that I’m a professional costumer, people often get wide-eyed and respond with an awed “ooohhh…” While costuming has it’s moments of “wow, I love my job!”, in reality, most of what I do is simply just work – and by work, I mean the dirty physical-labor kind.

(Why I’m not a designer explained in this post.)

Being a costumer is more than sewing. There are those costumers who do spend a lot of their time in a costume shop (and I admit that is my favorite place to be!), but even working in a shop involves more than just putting together pretty period garments for film or theatre.

There are tasks like making repairs to old (sometimes stinky!) costumes, polishing shoes, and rigging a costume so that it can be put on or taken off quickly. There is also the distressing of clothing & shoes to make something look old or worn, and there is dyeing fabric – both of which are messy and require true artistic skills that I have not completely mastered.

If an article of clothing has a brand logo, I might get the assignment of “greeking it out” – film slang for blurring or obscuring an emblem so it’s not visible or recognizable on camera. Sharpies in various colors come in handy for that, and when I watch a TV show (especially Reality TV), I can often tell when something has been intentionally greeked out. (As a last minute on-set fix, there’s always creative use of gaff tape for greeking.)

This was a pair of name-brand shoes that I meticulously greeked out (per the costume designer) for an episode of Barney & Friends when a script called for “fancy dancing shoes”.
They are Nike brand – can you tell?

Then there is basic stuff like laundry. It’s never-ending! I may be able to look inside a designer labeled outfit and touch amazing custom garments, but I also have to collect sweaty socks at the end of a day. Sometimes laundry has to come home with me and go back clean the next morning (and that’s after a 12+ hour workday!).

During the last few days, I was hired to do some stitching for a Nike commercial that was filming in Dallas. (You can view it in this post.)  I hemmed some pants, took in some t-shirts, and tailored a few suits. But I also helped unpack shipments of clothes that arrived by mail. I did a lot of clothes hanging, and I folded & sorted something like 600 t-shirts!

Ahhh the glamour! I was a folding machine!

During the actual shoot days, I spent most of one morning steaming a couple racks of clothes, a few hours heat-setting some logos on basketball uniforms (that was fun because I got to use an industrial press), dressed some extras, collected dirty clothes, and helped pack everything back on the truck. (Wardrobe always involves a lot of heavy-lifting of clothes and shoes.)

It was grueling, but the costume designer & wardrobe crew I was working with were really great people and I’m glad I was able to meet them. I’m sure I will cross paths with them again at some point – it always amazes me how small Hollywood is (instead of 6 degrees of separation, it’s more like 1 or 2)!

On some of the bigger shows where I’ve been hired on as part of wardrobe department, we have a full-sized semi-trailer for all the costumes.

This was the Chase wardrobe trailer.
It even had pull out drawers in the compartments below!

On filming days, a crew shows up (usually before the sun rises) and finds Basecamp set up in some random parking lot near the shooting location. Half the time, it is easy to forget where you are because the trailers are usually set up in the same basic configuration.

A view of Basecamp from the bottom of the Wardrobe Trailer stairs.

Inside a wardrobe trailer, there is often a stacked washer/dryer, a small sink, and a few cabinets and counters in the nose. All the way down the sides are locking clothes racks, and a ramp on a lift at the back end.

A view facing the back end (L)
and a view looking toward the nose of the trailer (R).

Aside from lugging costumes and pushing racks of clothing all over the place, I’ve met and talked to countless interesting people, seen the other side of many “do not enter” doors (I often joke that I don’t know how to enter a building through the public front door), learned how “boring” action scenes & how “funny” horror scenes can be while filming them, worked some 19 hour days (the standard minimum day is 12 hours on most jobs), and been a part of some truly amazing teams.

My job as a costumer involves so much more than sewing (and I didn’t even mention the on-set work!) that it’s hard to summarize when someone asks what I do. Costuming (and any film or theatre job for that matter) is a calling – one that sounds glamorous and usually isn’t.

It can be miserable and completely exhausting at times, but despite all the hard work involved, I would never trade what I do for a normal desk job!

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