For my final project, I am doing a Ted Talk. I decided to do a Ted Talk because I have a lot of information about Broadway costume design and an Ignite would be to short for me. I would also have more time to speak for each slide and I could have as many slides as I want.
Right now I am working on memorizing my script and practicing my presentation. My presentation is the steps to designing a costume for a Broadway show. In my presentation I list and give examples of every step. As I was practicing a realized I kept on getting the things that I say for each slide confused. I decided to change my photos to go more with to what I am saying. After I fixed that I kept practicing and realized that adding more clear photos was more helpful for me. When I was at home I practiced my presentation in front of my Mom. She gave me some tips to presenting it. Some tips she gave includes speak slowly and clearly, look at the audience and more.
I am happy and feel good about how my capstone presentation has turned out. I learned by practicing that I need to speak slowly and clearly and be calm. I am excited to present my presentation!
For my Capstone project, my class was assigned to write an essay on answering your main inquiry question. My main my inquiry question is “What are the steps for designing a costume for a Broadway show?” I am proud of how my essay has turned out.
Here is my essay:
Have you have ever been to a Broadway Show and wondered how the costumes are designed? My main inquiry question is, “What are the steps in designing costumes for Broadway Shows?” You are probably thinking there are no steps, you just sketch it out on a piece paper, but there are actually multiple steps to designing costumes. Those steps include research, talking to staff, the sketch, consulting the sketch, the sample costume, the final sketch, fittings, moving costumes to the theater, tech rehearsal and the show.
You might be wondering how do costume designers choose what the costume looks like? They research. Some examples of ways costume designers research include finding things for inspiration or looking at paintings and photos from the period that the show takes place in. The designer will go into broad research about each character to try to establish their personalities through their costume. The costume designer will have a color and fabric sense of each costume. They let the fabrics lead them into what they want the costumes to become. When doing a Broadway Show, Costume Designers always read the script first to get a sense of the show and to get a sense if there will be a need to do quick costume changes and more.
Talking to the Staff
The costume designer will then talk to the director of the show in terms of themes for the show and what message they want the audience to get from the show. The costume designer might also talk to the choreographer to talk about if any of the actors will be doing flips or jumps or if there will need to be any specific dance shoes and more. The costume designer consults with these people so they can create a costume that relates to the time period of the show and to make the costumes comfortable for the actors.
The Sketch and Consulting the Sketch
Once the costume designer has found enough research that is needed, they start with a quick rough sketch. Sometimes costume designers do the sketch on their computer. After the sketch is done the costume designer will find a time to consult the sketches with the director. They talk about how the costume could be better, if there needs to be any changes, and if the costume needs to be more related to the time period. If there are no changes needed, the costume designer will make a more detailed sketch. They will develop the sketch by color, shape and how the costume designer envisions it. The costume designer will usually have a big book called “The Bible.” It is called “The Bible” because they put all of the information of each costume in the book. They usually have 15 – 20 of these books per show. Some things they put inside “The Bible” include the fabrics they use for each costume, buttons (if they use them), a picture of the person wearing the costume, the size and more. After the sketch and information about each costume is done, they will develop the sketch into the costume.
The Sample Costume
When the sketch is done the costume designer will meet with the person creating the costume. They will talk about how they will be made, the fabrics that will be used, and whether there are any special considerations. For example if there is a really big skirt, they will talk about what will be used underneath, if it is a rigid shape, are they dancing in it, do they have to be moving in it and more. Afterwards, the person making the costume will make a sample costume out of cheap fabric, which is called muslin.
Each actor has two to three fittings. Every actor gets their own time to come to the show’s costume office.
In the first fitting, the actor tries the cheap fabric version of the costume on so as not to waste the expensive fabric. Sometimes the costume might be re-sketched because there are too many changes that need to be fixed, but if there are no changes needed then they start making the actual costume.
In the second fitting, each actor will try on the actual costume. Sometimes the costume designer will have to restitch the costume because it doesn’t fully fit.
In the third fitting the costume designer will mostly focus on the shoes and accessories. Some accessories include necklaces, earrings, bracelets, hair pieces and more.
The Final Sketch
The final sketch is the sketch that the costume designer and director have decided to create. The final colored sketch shows what the designer wants the character to look like and is usually colored with watercolors or acrylic paints. Once the director has approved each final sketch, the costumes get made!
Moving the Costumes to the Theatre
After the costumes get made they get moved to the theatre. They get moved to a big room where all the costumes are kept or they get moved to the actors dressing room because they have a quick change. When the costumes are moved to the theatre the design process is done.
Tech Rehearsal and The Show
A couple weeks before the show there is a rehearsal called tech. Tech rehearsal is where all the actors are wearing their costumes and the costume staff get to see how it works on stage. Sometimes the costume staff will discover that the lights are really bright in the scene and the colors of the costumes need to be toned down a little. Then they will repaint them or dye the costumes. After the costumes get fixed, they test them out one more time and from there comes the show.
In conclusion, designing costumes for a Broadway Show is a long process. I think the process of designing costumes for Broadway Shows is very complicated and frustrating, but it is also very rewarding and creative. As David Kaley, the costume designer of Frozen told me during our interview, “Having a creative eye is the most important thing you need in order to be a costume designer.” After researching this topic, I definitely agree.
On Thursday the 23rd of May, I went to my site visit for my Capstone Project. My site visit was at the Disney’s Frozen Costume Office at Amsterdam Theater. I told the person that I interviewed, David Kaley that I also needed to do a site visit. He offered to let me go to his costume office. I was excited to see the costume office because I saw pictures of costume offices online and now I finally got to see one in person.
During the site visit David told me where everything is placed and how they organize the office. For example, rolls of fabrics were lined up by character on the shelves and each roll was tagged with the character and name of fabric. He also showed me a few costumes and let me see all the details of them. David told me in some costumes they even sew in ice packs to keep the actors cool. I also learned that each actor for the show gets new undergarments for each performance and has three identical costumes so they can rotate the costumes to be cleaned. In addition, David showed me a giant book that they call “the bible”. They have 20 “Bibles” in all! In these books,they keep the fabric, the sketch, the picture of the person wearing the costume, the buttons that they use and so much more! This looked like a great way to organize all the costumes. I thought these books were super cool.
In conclusion, I am extremely grateful to have had the privilege of visiting Disney’s Frozen costume office. It was really cool to see all of the hard work that goes into the detailing of these costumes!
Here are some photos:
Drawers filled with Buttons
One of the “bible” books showing a sketch of a Costume
A Troll Costume from Disney’s Frozen on Broadway (This Costume was very heavy)
On Thursday the 23rd of May, I interviewed David Kaley for my Capstone Project. David Kaley is currently the Associate Costume Designer for Disney’s Frozen on Broadway. He designs all the Disney’s Frozen costumes at the Amsterdam Theater in New York City. I interviewed David Kaley because I wanted to interview somebody who had a lot of experience with Costume Design. For example, David Kaley has designed costumes for eleven different Broadway Shows. Some of these shows include: Disaster: The Musical, It Shoulda Been You, Cabaret and The Addams Family to name a few.
For setting up my interview I wrote David Kaley an email introducing myself, explaining our project and requesting if I could possibly interview him. To my surprise, he emailed me right back and said yes. I asked David Kaley 16 questions.
These are the questions that I prepared to ask David Kaley about Costume Design:
- Why did you want to become a costume designer?
- What experience do you have as a costume designer?
- What skills do you need to have to be a costume designer?
- How important is it to know the character when designing the costume?
- What research do you need to know about the character before you make the costume and where do you find it?
- What materials do you need to design a costume?
- Who do you consult with when coming up with designs?
- Do you have people to help you? If so, how many people and what are their responsibilities?
- Can you describe the steps from start to finish, including the length of time needed?
- What do you focus on when designing a costume?
- What kind of approval do you need for your designs before they go into production, while you’re working on costumes, and when you’re done? If so, who is in charge of approval? (For example, stage manager, producer, etc.)
- Do you create your designs at the theater or is there a specific place you work?
- Is there any specific technology that you use to assist you?
- What was one of your most favorite costume designs and why?
- What do you enjoy most about your job? Least?
- Is there any other information you think that’s important for me to know about costume design?
In the beginning of my interview I felt nervous but also excited at the same time. When I got to the Amsterdam Theater, the security guard led me into the costume design office. David greeted me and seemed excited about our interview. We spent one hour going through my questions.
In conclusion, I thought David Kaley gave me a lot of information about Costume Design. I was surprised at how many people help to make the costumes. I can’t wait to use the information he shared with me to put into my presentation.
Here are some photos:
For my capstone project I had to pick a main inquiry question and sub questions. My main inquiry question is “What are the key steps in creating costumes for Broadway shows?” I made sure my main inquiry question will give me lots of information about the key steps in creating costumes for Broadway Shows. I also made sure that my main inquiry question would keep my interest. Some of the other main inquiry questions I had in mind are, “How do costumes help tell the story?” and “How has costume making changed over the years?”
For my sub questions I had to make them go with my main inquiry question. We have to make five or six sub questions for our Capstone Project. The sub questions are not interview questions, they are the things that we will mostly research about.
These are my sub questions:
- How important is knowing the character when designing a costume?
- How much and what research has to be done before designing a costume?
- How many people are involved in creating the costumes?
- How long is the process from the beginning to the end?
- What tools and materials are required for creating a costume?
- What are the most important features to consider when designing the costume?
In conclusion, I think that creating the sub questions was easier than creating my main inquiry question. I am happy about my main inquiry question and sub questions. I am looking forward to my interview and learning more about Costume Design.
Our class was assigned this week to a project called Capstone. The project Capstone is about doing something that you know or want to know more about. We have to do lots of research such as a site visit and interview. We will also have to create a presentation that is about the topic that we choose.
My teacher told my class that we should pick two topics that we would like to do our Capstone project on. One of the topics that I chose was costume design because I love learning about fashion. The second topic that I choose was the elements of a Broadway how because I love acting and watching Broadway shows. Between the two options, I chose to do my Capstone project on Costume Design.
We were given a large sheet of paper, some post-its and a marker. On the center of the paper I wrote the topic Costume Design, as this is what I will be researching my Capstone on. All of the post-its that I glued onto the paper had inquiry questions about the topic that I chose. At the end I chose one of the inquiry questions. The inquiry question that I chose is, what is the process of making a Costume for a Broadway Show.
I am happy that I choose The Process of Making a Costume for a Broadway Show because I loving seeing the costumes when I go to a Broadway show and now I get to learn about how they are made. I am so excited to start working on this project!