Women with Cool Jobs

Costumer Designer Bringing TV and Film Characters to Life, with Cynthia Summers

November 15, 2023
Women with Cool Jobs
Costumer Designer Bringing TV and Film Characters to Life, with Cynthia Summers
Show Notes Transcript

Emmy® Award winner Cynthia Summers is a costumer designer who brings characters to life on TV and film through artfully and skillfully creating their costumes and accessories. With more than 60 credits (a.k.a projects) to Cynthia's name that range from fantasy to modern day and fashion-driven,  her cool job allows her to take a concept or dream and make it a reality on the screen.  

While helping create the characters and building the worlds they live in, she collaborates and works with many different people on each project, including the actors, producers, set design team, and many more.  

Her most recent work is on the scary new series “Goosebumps” that’s inspired by R.L. Stine’s bestselling books and is now available on Disney+ and Hulu.  When working on projects that are based on existing books, games, or other creative works (such as the “Goosebumps” series), she goes back to the source and does a lot of research to stay true to the core of the work and what connects it with the audience . When it's something that hasn’t existed before, she follows her intuition, experience, leans into research, and also is highly collaborative with other key stakeholders. 

We talk about:  

  • The realities of balancing budget, time constraints, weather and filming conditions, and differing visions/expectations 
  • The exciting details of her cool job, 
  • How she approaches costume design for diverse characters 


 Some of her incredible awards and achievements include: 

  •  Daytime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Costume Design category for her work on the first season of “The Baby-Sitters Club.” 
  • 5 CAFTCAD Awards for the second and third seasons of the Emmy Award-nominated “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” starring Neil Patrick Harris, 
  • Won and nominated for 2019 and 2020 Costume Designers Guild Awards, 
  • 2 Primetime Emmy Awards (2018 and 2019) in the Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes category. 
  • Nominated for a 2021 Costume Designers Guild Award for Excellence in Sci-Fi/Fantasy Television for season one of “Snowpiercer,” starring Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs


Contact Info:
Cynthia Summers - Guest
Cynthia's Instagram account
Cynthia's website
Goosebumps trailer

Julie Berman - Host
www.womenwithcooljobs.com
@womencooljobs (Instagram)
Julie Berman's LinkedIn Profile 
 

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Cynthia Summers:

So hopefully he loves it. He's very stoic at this point, he gets into the costume, he sort of walks around the the fitting room in it for a minute, he stands in front of the giant three way mirror. And then he starts speaking with Olavs voice in this costume. Because if you know the show, he really embodied each disguise. And then he started walking around the room. And he came over to me, and he looked in my eye, and he said, Something is all off. And I just melted. I just melted, because, you know, you spend all this time and all of this energy in this creative energy trying to create something that everybody likes, and everybody wants, and it fits into the story. And that to have your actor in front of you, and just being the character and you can tell that he's really diggin it. He's like, really getting it and he's really making it whole. It's just like, it's your dream come true moments.

Julie- Host:

Hey, everybody, I'm Julie, and welcome to Women with cool jobs. Each episode will feature women with unique trailblazing and innovative crews. We'll talk about how she got here, what life is like now, and actionable steps that you can take to go on a similar path, or one that's all your own. This podcast is about empowering you. It's about empowering you to dream big, and to be inspired. You'll hear from incredible women in a wide variety of fields, and hopefully some that you've never heard of before. Women who build robots and roadways, firefighters, C suite professionals surrounded by men, social media mavens, entrepreneurs, and more. I'm so glad we get to go on this journey together. Hello, everybody, this is Julie Berman, and welcome to another episode of women with cool jobs. So I just have to say that the more women I interview on this podcast, I am just constantly, enormously impressed by not only these women and just like who they are, but also the incredible skill and experience and brilliance that they bring into the world. Like it is so apparent to me that we all get into a place like especially as we get further and further into our career, where we are really an expert, right, like we've been doing this thing that we've been doing for a very long time. And then usually the more we become an expert in something like the more we are really involved and sort of all encompassed by that particular niche, and that particular field in that particular industry. And so a lot of times, it takes someone from outside right from outside the industry from outside that world, to really be able to see things from a new perspective. And that's neither good nor bad. But the reason I'm sharing this is because I've just come to this place where I realized that people often don't, they don't like recognize all the cool things that they're actually doing, and all the nuances of their job, and all the pieces of knowledge and experience and wisdom that they've picked up over the years. Because like, right, like, that's their world. And that's what they've been doing. Which is such a cool thing to be able to do, right? Like, how neat is it to think about that we all are often like experts in our own little worlds. And get there are an infinite number of people with an infinite number of really cool things that they are expert in and oftentimes, right, like we can be expert in more than one thing. Things can overlap. So I just think that there's like something so cool, and expansive about that. And I had to point that out after this conversation, because we touched on it a tiny bit, but I just think it's it's so neat to think about, and we often don't, we don't realize like how truly cool and awesome we are and like what we are able to do and the skills that we bring and like all these all these pieces of us like we just don't always get to see that. You know, and often that comes from someone with an outside perspective. So that's like one of the biggest parts of why I love doing this. And today's guests She's so cool. Like she has such a cool job. It's something that I've always thought about being a really the job and I've always been interested in and so I'm so honored to be able to talk to her. So I I'm talking to today, Cynthia summers, who's a costume designer, and she has worked on more than 60 different film and TV projects. Over the years that she's been in this career, she's worked on most recently, a new series from goosebumps. Which if you're a 90s, kiddo, like me, then you've probably heard of these books from RL Stein, they were best selling books worldwide. And so they have remade these books into a really cool series that you can watch on Disney plus, and Hulu is out now. And that is what she helped create costumes for most recently, she has worked on countless other really interesting and super diverse shows and films. And she's won so many incredible awards. So I'm going to read out because I don't want to get it wrong. I'm going to read out some of these, like acknowledgments and accolades because they're so cool. And and, like if you are familiar with them, you'll also realize that the costumes that she was creating for these and the characters that she helped, and the world that she was creating. She's very, very diverse and from completely different for completely different environments and settings. So she most recently was the costume designer before goosebumps she was on The Last of Us, and she received an Emmy Award nomination and outstanding contemporary costumes first series category. In 2021. She completed work on the film swan song with Academy Award winner mashallah elite. I hope I pronounced that right. I apologize if I didn't, Glenn Close Naomi Harrison awkwafina. The same year she was awarded a Daytime Emmy Award in outstanding costume design for her work on the first season of the baby sitters club. She also did the second and third seasons of Emmy award nominated a series of unfortunate events during Neil Patrick Harris. She's won five Caf cat awards, and was nominated for 2019 2020 Costume Designers Guild awards, as well as two Primetime Emmy Awards in 2018, and 2019, in the outstanding fantasy sci fi costumes category, and she was nominated for 2021 Costume Designers Guild Award for Excellence in sci fi fantasy TV for season one of Snowpiercer, which stars Jennifer Conley into the digs, she worked on altered carbon, which was a cyberpunk series, she worked on five seasons of girlfriends guide to divorce, she worked on all six seasons of the M an Emmy nominated series, The L Word, and received the Hollywood style Award Best costumes. And she has worked on several other shows. And so she is just like someone who was so fun to talk to you because not only did I really not know about like the nuances and other details of her work, but we got into not only like how she goes about the creative process and who she works with. But we also talk about some of the considerations and the things that she has to keep in mind, whether that's to account for the environment that people are going to be working in, whether that's to account for the actors and actresses themselves, and like making sure that they can really embody that character. And it really feels good to them to be in that, that costume and to wear that clothing. And so there's just so many things that I really was not aware of. And it was so much fun to learn about. And I hope that you really enjoy this episode because we hit on so many really interesting points. And I think that when you watch film, or when you watch TV, and you're watching the shows, like maybe you like it now we'll be watching for some different things that I would have never known to notice or to think about before. So if you end up loving this episode, please make sure that you share it with at least one person who you think, would think this is a super cool job who's interested in this industry, who just loves to learn in general about the women who exist in the world and the possibilities that exist? I so appreciate you sharing with someone else because that is how more women know what is possible in the world. Like these are women doing these cool jobs right now every day. And it's not just like some fantasy, right? It's someone who exists. And it's just so exciting to me to be able to talk to them and have these wonderful conversations. So thank you so much for being here. I know time nowadays is is like pulling on us in so many different ways for so many different reasons. And I just really appreciate that you're here and that you are listening to him and was cool job. So without further ado Enjoy this conversation between me and Cynthia summers. All right, so I am so excited to be here on WomenwithCoolJobs with my next guest who has a super cool job, and something I've actually always been very curious about. So Cynthia summers, thank you so much for being here.

Unknown:

Thanks so much for having me. I'm really excited that this, this came up. I'm super excited to talk. Yeah,

Julie- Host:

so I have like so many questions, I'm going to try to like squeeze as many into the short time as possible. But this is something that I just like a career I've always wondered about, I just always thought it would be so fun. And you have, I mean, you have like worked on so many really interesting TV and film projects like over your career, you've been involved in more than 60 TV and film projects. And you have also won like so many really cool awards, and acknowledgments for your work a Daytime Emmy, you've also won five Caf cat awards. Hopefully I said that correctly, you've been Emmy nominated. You've also got like Primetime Emmy Awards, you've been nominated for costume designer Guild awards. And just like so many incredible things. So I got to do research on you, of course before and I was watching, like your film that you put together about all of the it's like a like a short film that had all these different snippets of the different the different places and spaces you've worked in, like all the different costume options, which were very diverse and completely different. And so I'm just like, such a huge fan of like, your work, it sounds so creative, so innovative, you are really like an expert at bringing these worlds to life, like bringing these characters to life. And I think it's it's not something that people always maybe focus on like, because we just sort of take it for granted when we're watching something. But the fact that like, so much thought and intention and experience goes into your work is just like so fascinating. And that's why I'm just really excited to talk about, like, what you're working on, and what you have worked on and how you got this really cool job.

Unknown:

Yeah, the Great, that's the point exactly. When someone is watching a film, or television or a commercial or music, video, whatever they're watching, they should be not noticing, in a sense, what it took to make it what it took for us to get to the character to dress them like you should be. It depends on what you're watching. Because sometimes, you know, it's all about costume. And sometimes it's not. But the point is that you're engrossed in what you're watching, and everything comes together in that sort of way from all the creatives putting it together, as opposed to why did they put that there? Why is let's happen with an actor that sort of you don't want to lose any of that. You just want to notice that you're engrossed in the story. Yeah,

Julie- Host:

that makes sense. So on that note, can you explain like your job kind of just how would you talk about what you do and basic terms,

Unknown:

I mean, basically, my job and to be honest with you, when I got into it, I got into it, because partly, I didn't know, I didn't know what costuming and film really meant. I came from a dance and theatre background. So I totally understood what it meant to be on stage. But I never really equated what a costume designer did or why they did what they did. So basically, my job, which is such a great job, my job is to create characters through costume, in collaboration with the writers, the producers, the directors, the actors, the hair and makeup team, the props, team, stunts team, it's a huge group of people that need to come together and collaborate into a vision and into something that you're looking at in front of you, to take you to into a really great story. So my job is basically to work with all these people hit the notes that directors and producers are looking for in the characters what they want their story to visually tell. Helping the actor become the character, which is really important. You really want actors to be able to put their costume on and go out to work, forget about what they're wearing, and just sort of feel like it's a part of the character that they're portraying. Because there's nothing worse than someone being uncomfortable or not understanding why they're wearing something. And that does happen sometimes. But, but the point is not to do that. So that's generally my job in in really broad strokes. Of course, it's very, it's a very technical job. For that reason, all of those reasons, and, and it's not always my decision in the end, so I want to like really, really sort of highlight collaboration, it can be frustrating some times when you think you have a great idea and that this is going to work. And you know, it's going to work on this character in the room when they're standing with all these other characters, and what the set deck is and what the production design is on the wall, and you think it's going to be fabulous. But you don't always know even though you're looking at a script, and you're reading on the page, the intent of this character and where they're going what they need to do. Sometimes you don't always know exactly what the writer intention is, because it's something they've made up or with the director, the direction they're taking it in. And you don't always know because you're not always there on the day, and that they're filming. So you have to kind of evolve with it all. You have to be flexible. I guess that's a good point. Yeah.

Julie- Host:

Yeah, that was such a great overview. Thank you for sharing all that. And I mean, I think that's so interesting to you mention that when you first started, you didn't quite realize like what exactly it was. So I'm curious, because I want to go back a little bit. And then we'll get to what you do now and what you're working on, specifically now. But going back when you first started, how did you get into this field? What did you think it was what attracted you to it? What led you to stay for so long,

Unknown:

is such an enchanting world. And I think that whether you start off having a really good idea that this is where you want to go for whatever reasons, whatever drew you in whatever understanding you have of filmmaking, or if you kind of happen into it, which is what happened to me. So as I mentioned, I was in I started off in dance and theater. And while in that genre, I, it sort of skewed into costuming for me because it was something that I was always interested in, I knew how to sew, I knew how to make clothing My mother taught me. And so that the creative creative creating a costume was always something that was interesting to me. So it's something that was inherent for me at the very beginning. Understanding that contemporary costuming vs. Period, fantasy, sci fi, all of those genres. Sorry, I gotta go back a little bit. So while I was in filming, dance, and started to getting into costuming, even just by sort of doing repairs on costumes while I was there, because, you know, in the moment, when you're on stage, if something isn't fitting, you've got to like either pin it together or stitch it together really quickly. All of that was really fascinating to me. And the immediacy of it all was very fascinating to me. And then I decided at some point, I'd started in it, I'd started a company doing dance costumes. And at some point, I thought I would go back to that, go to fashion design school, and figure out if there was a different way to do it. If I could learn more, what I could gain from that is to sort of apply that to that my company I had at the time. And that was one of the best things I could have done. I met so many people, I met people that were brand new and really young, I met people that were midway in their careers and changing careers. I met people that worked for Cirque du Soleil, I met I met so many really great people that sort of spoke to all sorts of different areas of costume creation. And then while I was at this school, there was a film that that came and was looking, they've reached out broadly, they were looking for someone who could build tutus, which is what I was doing. And to specific tutus, they needed them to be able to do things that I didn't understand they needed them to be able to be go over actors who were harnessed to fly. They needed to I had no idea what that was. I mean, I knew okay, they gotta go up in the air. And they're gonna have a harness. Well, maybe that's like a gymnastics harness or something. Like I just kind of guessed as I went. And so I said, Yes, I can't remember. But I'm pretty sure I did it for just the cost of the material. I don't think I actually made anything from it. But I just thought it was another really cool and interesting, sort of next step that I could do to sort of try and investigate what film the film world was like. And of course, I did that and I was hooked. I just I went to this, I got to go to the set. I went to base camp or in Canada, it's called the circus where all the trailers are and all that action is happening and I got to meet the actors there. I was like, starstruck the whole thing that was like a full package for me. And I was just knew at that moment, after I managed to get it done and it actually worked. worked, that this is what I wanted to do this I wanted to do this more. So I had a friend in the industry who worked in the production design section. And she gave me the name of her production designer, and I basically very nicely I bugged him and bugged him for an entire year and said, I, you know, I will do an indie, I'll do an independent film, I'll do a commercial, I'll do anything you're doing if you can give me a chance. And so about a year later, that's what happened. And he got a film. And it was called Double have double happiness. And it was my first foray into filmmaking. And I had no idea what I was doing. I was totally learning on the fly. I couldn't read a call sheet, which is a call sheet is like a piece of paper. It's like a Bible for every day that you're working, and you get it the night before. From the first ad, it tells every department, they're in times, they're out times, but the expectations of their specific expectations of their department, and everything has acronyms. So I had one person working with me, it was two of us, it was crazy. I actually drove the van, the truck, the costume truck, it was like full in I had, but I did it because it was it was my in, I was learning, it was the best, it was the best way to start. And that show is where I met a lot of really important people in my career, including producers, the producer that subsequently hired me for altered carbon and Lemony Snicket and the last bus. So that was 27 years ago, my first film up until last year, or 2022, when I did the last of us. So the this is the film industry, this is what it's all about. It's like a lot of things, a lot of I would assume I've only ever done this. So I'm always assuming what other industries what it takes, but relationships are really important. And once you because it's a creative world, once you find your people, a lot of times you try to stay with your people, because it's really difficult to be painting a picture for someone else, when they have this picture in their head, who is the director and producers, networks and studios. So that was that was sort of my beginning. That's how I knew I wanted to be in film. It didn't, you know, I was I already had a family. I kind of did it all backwards. I thought I was going to do something else. Like just thought dance was my world. So I was going to stay there. So I was an evolution, a really happy evolution. And I think that that's something that I can't say enough when when you know, students asked me that, you know, you really need to stay open. Because it could take you down this path. But you really never know what that's going to be. It's not like, I'm going to be a costume designer. And away you go. It's an evolution of sorts. I think for most of us. I

Julie- Host:

love that. I think that's so true. Like, I just hearing you talk about how you worked on that, like initial, that initial project. And it was like you knew that this was meant for you and you were meant for it. And the fact that you were also so incredibly persistent for entire year. I love that bit also goes to show that you're like, This is it. I'm gonna do this. Yeah,

Unknown:

I think that's an important trait for people in all walks of life in everything you do every day. I think it really pertains to the film industry because you need because things come and go so quickly. You can be on a project and for whatever reason, it could go down tomorrow there could be or it could just be that you don't know the funding didn't happen. An actor pulled out the timings not right for the production for networker studio, man, there's so many reasons that have nothing to do with you. So you really need to be persistent, you really need to be just stay interested and stay flexible. And yeah, that's that's like a huge part of the industry, anything, anything could happen, anything could change. That's

Julie- Host:

really that I mean, I think that's a really good point for people listening if they're like interested is is to know that going in. And I'm curious now because you you have worked on so many incredible, different types of, of like TV projects, and you know, film and so I'm curious if you can kind of describe some of those things that you have worked on. And whether if you want to highlight like some of your favorites or just some of like the things that were unusual, or like first time you've done something and then and then eventually we'll we'll get to also like what you're working on now. And what's like what's just come out because that's really exciting. But I'm just curious if you can kind of describe what you have created because just even watching you know, it's like a three to four minute kind of highlight reel really of like all the things you've worked on on your webs They, it's like amazing. I mean, there's like creatures and people from the future. There's things that are sort of clearly very fictional. But then there's also these, these people who just seem like, oh, they could be my neighbor, right? Like, they're just like the everyday kind of person that you've helped create. So are my daughter. So I would love to hear just kind of some of the highlights, however you want to mention it of who you've helped create. Yeah.

Unknown:

I mean, I think that's, that's something really interesting to me. And I think that there are there are a lot of designers, whether they're production designers, or who are the people who create the sets, and the spaces that the actors work in, live in and work in and create their own characters. I think that there are a lot of designers who either fall into a genre and stay there, because that's the best place that they they live in that space so well. And they love that space. And they love creating these kinds of worlds. Or there's people like me, who kind of jump around in jobs in genres. And I'm not sure why I do that. Exactly. One thing is that it keeps it really fresh for me. It keeps it it keeps, it keeps me invigorated, I don't get bored. I don't get stale or bored. I hope. And I, it's, it's, it's it's never like a calm world for me in that way. Because I'm always going like, Okay, I'm going to do a contemporary show, which is basically jeans and T shirts on I'm gonna live there. Oh my gosh. And now I'm going to go into a fantasy world that is fantasy, where there's no it's not period, it's fantasy. So we're making it up completely. So there's no rest. There's no rest and going. I know, okay, you know, for instance, when I did the L word that was so long ago, but still one of my favorite projects I ever, ever worked on. Same producer, by the way, as my first film, I can add her to that list as well. And a different world. I didn't live in that world. But I was so interested in this world of women, and the dynamics and the day to day and it became a very fashion forward show. And some people liked that, and some people didn't. But that is what it became. And that's also an interesting part of it. But that was amazing, because we got to create very heightened characters. So they were contemporary, but they were very heightened. So that in itself is very interesting. And then I can't remember what I did after that, but I want to say it was sci fi. I

Julie- Host:

was gonna ask what is it? What do you mean by heightened characters? Like what does that mean? Sure.

Unknown:

So heightened just means Okay, so I have my neighbor who dresses in a flannels all the time, and looks a little bit country. But if I wanted to make that person look a little more aspirational, or a little more glamorous, glamorous, is not the right word, but a little more. Okay, a little more glamorous, we might call that heightened. So it's, for instance, I could be sitting here in a black T shirt, or I could throw a scarf on it. So that's heightened, it's got a little bit more character, it's got a little more interest, you might want to know why or what that is, or is this a real Halston sweater? Scarf? Yes, it is. You know, so people might notice those kinds of things. And so that's a lot of that's an aspect that a lot of networks and studios really like because they want easter eggs, they want viewers to be looking at something and into and be into the story. But if they rewatch it is now the days you can rewatch everything. They might get even more out of it. So it's a little bit got a little bit more to offer. You might see it a second time and go oh, I didn't notice that was a Halston scarf. Interesting. I wonder if it's real or fake? Or, you know, that sort of thing? Or why is that character wearing that? So heightened just means a little bit more accentuated? I guess that's it. Okay.

Julie- Host:

Thank you. Yeah, I love that. Um, I think that's so it's so interesting to hear you talk about that kind of detail. Because I even doing the research, I was looking at some of the articles that were published in relation to your work and there was like, one in particular, that was so interesting, because they had picked out and let me just like find it here. So I don't get the the facts wrong. But I thought it was so funny that like, oh, it was the character Frank, his plaid shirt from The Last of Us. And like people were so particular, it sounds like on the interwebs of like finding out about this shirt. And I just thought that was so fascinating, because in the sense of creating like a story, right are these things called the Easter egg things that people either notice like when they are rewatching or things that people like latch on to as part of sort of like a Almost cultural aspect. I'm curious, how do you approach that? Or how do you go about that, because I think that is such like a very nuanced part of your job like that I kind of was really surprised that but it's also really cool to think about, yeah,

Unknown:

in the day and age of social media, as opposed to, like 20 years ago, when none of us were assessable, you and I may have met never met, fans of, of shows would never be able to reach out to me, or a production designer or a producer or a director. And nowadays, you can do that a lot of us are involved because it's another aspect of filmmaking where we can share. And also, it's another way to sort of prop up yourself but also the project you're on. So everybody likes that. And I think the Last of Us is a good example, although it's a unique example, because it is a show that has got a built in audience because it's the it's a game to live action. So the game has existed for 10 years, it's hugely popular. Frank's green plaid shirt is a piece that's directly from the game. So those kinds of things were really important. When you're translating from a game to live action. There's a lot of eyes on it, there's a lot of expectations from fans already. before it even it even comes out. And I think for the last of us, we wanted to make sure that we honored a lot of the iconic pieces in the game. Some of them we expanded on, we had to because there was more story for characters and there was in the game. And so the green plaid shirt that actually Joel wound up wearing, who was our main character in the show, there needed to be a story about where he got this shirt. And so the creators of the show, Neil Druckmann, and Craig Mazin geniusly put it together with the story of Bill and Frank, which is the third episode, which is a standalone, amazing episode. I mean, if you haven't watched it, if you don't watch The Last of Us, you could watch just that episode. And it's, it's so it's, it's a love story. And it's, it's, it's sad, but it also, it also brings in the green plaid shirt, so people know. Okay, so is this green plaid shirt that that Frank is wearing? Is it the one that Joelle wears it? Will we we do know it is? This is where he got it? Is there more behind why he's wearing it? You know, this sort of brings out the story of Bill and Frank Moore and Jules and Ellie's sort of tie in to their personal story, their backstory, it just sort of opens up a lot of conversation, which is exactly what filmmakers want. They want people to be talking about their projects and asking why. Or why is this happening? Why did they do that? Oh, I see, like people, nowadays, you can be much more invested in a film project, then 20 years ago, even though, you know, just going to the theater to watch, which has made it more which have made fans way more interested and involved, I guess, especially in series, and the same could be said for goosebumps. I mean, again, a built in audience, the books, the generations that are interested and my kids were into it. My grandkids are into it. I you know, there's a built in audience. So again, you need to honor what's in the books, what's been in the previous movies, the previous series, and this sort of fresh, new take on it. And it's scarier. And I just think that you really need to be careful, and you really need to honor parts that you are probably very important to the existing fan base.

Julie- Host:

Okay. I yeah, I really appreciate kind of sharing that perspective. And I think that is so interesting. I didn't realize it came from the game. I'm not like a gamer of any kind. So I shouldn't be surprised. Because I do not know that world. But yeah, I appreciate like you sharing that and kind of the background of it. And then kind of moving into your current project now. Goosebumps, you know, which is a series that I like that existed when I was a kid. And so, you know, when I saw this, I was like, oh, it's goosebumps, like I, you know, I haven't read them. But it's I'm very familiar with the work of like RL Stein, and just the series and the concept of it. And so I'm curious because this is like a series that's based on these best selling books. It's it's very much like scary. Now it's on Disney and Hulu, which is really cool. And I'm, I'm curious, like when you have an existing piece of work that you're taking, you're taking kind of what already was there, and then you're translating it onto a screen. And then now it's also a new generation as well. How How do you do that? Like, what is your process of creation? When you are going through and figuring out like, you've, you've got this project, you know, you're assigned to, like, create these amazing things for goosebumps. And you're part of their team. Like, what is that? Can you explain kind of like what that process is like, and kind of walk us through what it's like to be a costume designer on something that that is like this type of project that exists already?

Unknown:

Yeah, sure, for sure. So the basic bones of it. So basically, I'll just give you the basic how I get a job and all that kind of stuff. Because that's probably what people are interested in. As a costume designer, you kind of work like a private contractor, in a sense, or, or an actor, so I audition for every show. I'm on. So that means that at the beginning, however, you get connected, I have an agent. I also, again, the producer that I've worked with so often has had a friend who was working on this show and said, if you're interested, do you want me to reach out? And I said, Absolutely. And so then they came to me and said, Are you interested in this, can you do a mood board. So for costume designer, production designer, you know, they give you sort of a beat beats or or sort of lines, a little bit of information on what they're wanting, they don't give you all the information because they want to see what your take on it might be what your sort of spin on it maybe. So then I go back and I do a mood board, which now is all virtual before it was a you know, many illustrations, and all sorts of sort of textural things because you would go in and have a meeting in person and show your mood boards and your ideas and your illustrations. Now it's all virtual, which is good and bad. Do virtual moodboard your ideas on the characters, it can be other characters that are similar or which is kind of dangerous. I don't love doing that. I don't love saying taking this actor from this show. And going this is what I'm thinking about this character actor for this show. A lot of times it can be fashion, or it can be illustrations from some where else from some other fantasy piece, fabric swatches for me colors, color parts of a color wheel, things like that you create a mood board, it's almost like what's the newest word, it's hard. It's It's like doing a collage, I guess in a sense, it can be pieces of poetry, it can be pieces of nature, and you put it all together, we get into a zoom, usually it's by zoom these days, we do a zoom, I'll put it up, I'll go through it and give my explanation, my pitch on, you know what, why I did this and how I see that and what could be this, you have to be careful because you don't want to be too exacting. Because if that's not the idea everybody else has, you want to be able to like, sort of turn it back in another direction. So you really have to pitch yourself and pitch what your idea is. And then that's usually with the producers and director, if it's a film, and then they go away. They talk about it, or you know, and then they come back and say we'd like to offer you the job that goes to your agent, all the negotiating starts, or they really like it. But there could be a million different reasons why they you're not the right person for the job. And you have to really be okay with that. Because that is the truth. At the end of the day, you really want to be the right person for the job. There's nothing worse, as we know, in any business. And nothing worse being in a job where you're just not the right, you're not the right fit, or they're not the right fit for you. And if you're trying to visually create something, you know, you're not just looking at numbers on a page and things like that, you know, it's a creation. So it's very personal. Then I get the job. Let's say I got the job. Yay. Then it's about, you know, going to work. It's about reading the script, breaking down the script, which means every department breaks down the script for their own departments needs. So for me, obviously, it's costume hair and makeup, we'll do the same thing. You know, where's the character? Where? What environment? Are they in? Is it going to be snowing? Where they are? Is it going to be raining? Is it going to be a blistering desert scene? What do I need to create the character in this scene? And what will the actors need be for that? And who are they in the room with what their? How do they interact with everyone in the room. So you have to really, like get into the minutiae of the script, and really sort of pull out the bits and pieces that are pertinent to my job. And then after that we have a general meeting with all the departments everybody. It's usually run by the first ad, which is the first assistant director, and we go through it all just sort of roughly, if there's any questions then after that we have departmental meetings. So that's the nitty gritty that's the one where it's nerve racking for me But that's where I get my best information and find out what people do and do not want. And then we go away, do illustrations do no more mood boards, more specific on characters, group scenes, background performers, which are everybody that you see that doesn't have any lines are the people in the background, the crowd scenes, the friend besides me who never says anything, but it's important because I need a friend beside me that sort of those people, they're really, really important. Those people are important. On a show like goosebumps, or The Last of Us, or any show, really where a lot of the story is being told by the background performers, they're giving you time in place, they're giving you you know, night or day, they're really, really important, they're giving you a different town, if you're going to a different city, a different town, a different planet, they're very important. And I cannot say enough good things about background performers. And what that does,

Julie- Host:

we didn't watch is that because it creates more context, like more sort of context of the story. And visually as well,

Unknown:

yeah, a lot of times, you'll notice when you're watching a film, the main character will walk into or fly into, or however they enter the very first scene, a lot of times, there's no dialogue right off the top. A lot of times, you'll just sort of be you know, you'll be given them a moment with the environment as an audience, and you will see mountains, or you will see ocean or you'll and then you'll see people in that context of, so if it's a Western, you know, you'll see, you'll see planes, perhaps and then you'll see cowboys, you know exactly where you are. And those people are very, very important. Or you'll, if it's sci fi, you'll be on another planet. And you'll see, I don't know, Storm Troopers. Far, but those people don't say anything, and they're just they're there, but they give you time and place immediately. So you're not wasting any time and you it, it brings you in right away. And then that sort of builds a platform for your main characters to walk in and begin the story. Okay,

Julie- Host:

oh, cool. I'm gonna watch now for that.

Unknown:

Pay attention to those background performance there. And then a lot of large, you know, really big films with big vistas and lots of background performers. If you look really closely, I think you'll see that just as much detail goes into each background performer, as it does in the main character. And that's, you know, you're watching a really great production because I think, you know, budget is a big thing. So, you know, if you don't have the budget, it's, it's tough. But if you do, you, you get to, you know, you get to look at all the fine, fine details, everything we can watch bridgerton, which is one of my favorite shows. If you watch bridgerton, or queen, Charlotte, I mean, all the background performers, all of the details and their gowns and their you know, the men's wardrobe is just phenomenal as is the set deck. So, yeah, they're, they're awesome. They're the meat of of some, when you're watching, they really sort of bring you in to where you are. Okay. Yeah,

Julie- Host:

that's awesome. And for so for the process, like after you go, and you're doing the mood boards, and you talk to you said, like, you have a departmental meeting? Like, what I guess like after you've kind of met with the department, what department? Is that? Who you're meeting with? Like, is there is it just costumes? Or is it several, several groups of people within that. So

Unknown:

the very, very first meeting is called a concept meeting. So that's all the department heads and usually their first assistants. So that would be myself, the production designer, the set decorator, the props master, the hair and makeup team stunts, if it's a stunt show, transportation, because every bit you know, people drive cars and things and shows, then it'd be producers, director, and assistant directors. And that's usually that's, that's, that's a small group, there's there can be more I'm forgetting, oh, special effects, visual effects, makeup effects, which was, was big on on goosebumps as well as the last of us really big. So there's a lot of department heads. You can you can have anywhere from, like 12 people to, I don't know, 35 people in that first concept meeting, especially now that we do a lot on Zoom, you can have even more. And I'm forgetting people, sorry, but there's just so many. And that's the concept meeting. That's where we all sit down. It's our first hellos. It's our first meeting as a group, a cohesive group. And we basically go through the script page, turn by page turn, which in a series is usually around 60 pages on a half hour to one hour show. And in a in a movie. It's in the hundreds of pages. It's Smoke, wow, really, really long meeting. But really important because this is where you're meeting, if you haven't met all the department heads, this is where you're meeting and gelling as a group. And then after that, there will be departmental meetings. So that is specifically to each department head and their team. So for me, it would be the costume meeting would be myself, it'd be my assistant costume designer or two, five got to if it's a large show, my coordinator, my supervisor, my background coordinator, which is a person who's dedicated to doing just the background performers. And then anyone else who's really important for me to be in that meeting. Generally, I like to bring as many of my team as possible, because I always feel like more ears and eyes in the room. You know, because we all hear things differently sometimes. And I think it's really important to get everyone's take on it. Because it's a collaborative affair. All of my team are important. Every, every person on my team is important, and I can't do what I do without them, like at all. So I'm getting goosebumps thinking about that. Because if I had to go to a lot of things that they do, I mean, I'd be lost, I'd be lost. So and then from the production side, it would be the producer, the line producer, the director. Sometimes the Production Designer comes to the costume meeting, not always. So that's the specific group meeting for the departments and who's in it. And then after that, there's all sorts of meetings afterwards, there's because everybody has a meeting. So costumes usually goes to the stunts meeting. And the production, the producer, sorry, the production designers meeting, if it's a large production, the makeup meeting, the makeup effects meeting, so we all attend all these meetings. Yeah, then after that, there's many, many meetings where we do it, because you know, that's just the beginning of it. And then, as everybody's you know, as we're getting cast, we don't get cast below the time until, you know, a week before we go to cameras, sometimes we get them the day before, it's really, it's really you gotta be on your toes, it happens, it does happen. So there's a lot happening in meeting wise, for sometimes months, and then all of a sudden, you're ready to go, and you gotta go, whether you're ready or not. And it's, it's, that's the film business, hurry up and wait, what era hurry up and wait. And that's from production all the way down to when you're on the set, you know, it's hurry up and get to set. And then you have to wait for a camera and whoever else to get everything together to go. So it's really important to be as it's like a little military unit, in a sense, like you've got to be, you know, as prepared as you can be, because you never know what's can happen. Anything can happen when you get there. So very rarely, well, not rarely, often doesn't go as planned. And the I think it was talking about the call sheet earlier on, which is the you know, piece of paper that we get every day. And the AEDs create the call sheet. And they're sort of like the general of the whole setup that they get everybody is they do the logistics of everything, every department and how every day is going to go and it's all on that sheet. And a lot of times they like to say and don't forget the call sheet is just a suggestion. Also funny gauges, a lot can change. Yeah, yeah.

Julie- Host:

So that sounds like a theme that is like, you know, you've got to really be flexible on your toes, able to kind of adapt and change and shift. And I'm curious, because it's interesting. You I mean, you work with an incredible amount of people, I don't think I would have expected that, you know, I think I would have expected like some of it, like, the makeup makes sense, you know, and like some of the other things, but I don't think I would have realized until you said it, like how many groups of people in teams that you actually really work with on a regular basis. And so I'm curious when it gets down to time, like where you you know, you've been doing all this planning, you've been getting all the pieces into place. And you have all these amazing team members who are helping you do that, when you actually get down to like the day of you're starting to record. How How does that work? Who are you usually on set? Is it usually your staff on set? How you know, with the the costumes I was reading, which I thought was so interesting that you often usually have like multiples of the same. I don't know if it's costume or if there's a different word that you call it, but like the same outfit, or accessories. So how does that part work when you actually are like, getting ready to film and and you know, say go?

Unknown:

That's a really great question. So the departments are all sort of There's two groups to every department there is the prep team. So that's the team that's working before you go to camera in prep. And that's everybody I just described. So it's myself and all of my assistants, and my supervisors, and the tailors and the stitchers. And the breakdown team, which is a big deal. We're all working before we go to shoot, then there's the team, that's the set team, who are equally as important. And I mean, I couldn't do without them. So on set, there is a set supervisor who acts almost like our ad, but just for our department. So that is the person that make sure that everything that we have sent, Okay, I gotta dial it back a little bit. So there's a truck. So we're, we're in a production office somewhere, it's usually a warehouse space, because we need lots of room where we're creating all these costumes, we create the sort of Bible for for each episode, or for the movie, where, where we create all of these pages for each character. So once we're done, and once we go to camera, but just before we go to camera, we send everything that's pertinent for that day that week, or that entire episode, out to a wardrobe truck. And for instance, you know, on goosebumps, we had two, on The Last of Us, we had five, and we're talking like 53 foot trailer trucks that are just for costumes, and each department has their own sort of deal, like the props truck is always amazing to me, the set deck truck, they're all because it's like a little bit of a moving circus. And everything goes out to the truck. I've got a set supervisor, a truck, costumer. So that's the person who runs the truck. So that person, oh, boy, this is really deep. But that person gets every entertainers every every actors wardrobe ready for them for that day. So they have a lineup of everything that that actor's going to wear, that specific day that we have sent out from the from the office or the or the studio, everything is mapped out for them. Because we have to know continuity. So when you are watching someone on the screen, you know if my scarf is like this in one shot, and then my scarf is like this in the next shot, you'd be like what's happening? Like, why did that change. So continuity from what they're wearing to how it appears on camera, and then what the set supervisor is watching that person on camera. And so after each take and kind of skipping forward now, but after each take, so they'll roll, they'll do their dialogue, the scene will happen, someone will blow up, something happens, then they'll say cut. And then there'll be some conversations about how that went, if it went well or not. If they need to, if they need to do another take or not. Usually there's three or more takes. They rarely do it just once. Then after they've done all their chatting, they being directors, etc, then they'll go the first ad will say okay touches. So that's the alarm for hair, makeup and wardrobe to go in, and sort of adjust things back to the way they were supposed to be when they began at the beginning of the take. Nothing is out of place.

Julie- Host:

So for that like because you gave the example of your scarf, which is great. For people who are listening, she has this like beautiful, almost like leopard print scarf, but I'm sure it's actually not leopard, but it's like got that same coloration. And so I'm curious, or maybe it's a cheetah I'm not good with my animals.

Unknown:

It's a leopard.

Julie- Host:

It's leopard. Okay. Thank you. Yeah. And so like you have it at least my direction? Well, I'm seeing on Zoom, it's like off, you know, to your right. And that's what you're saying if if it's like misplaced, you know, by the end of the take like and it's off on the top of your shoulder or whatever, they go back in and make the adjustments. So do they have? Like, do you actually send like illustrated sketches or like pictures of exactly what it's supposed to look like? Wow. So

Unknown:

in our, in our fittings, which is a plate, actually I skipped right over that part. So um, after we've done all our meetings, and then when once we get our cast, then at some point, they come in and we have fittings, it's usually there's usually, I mean, if we're lucky, we get to fittings with them before they go to camera, you usually get like the main fitting and then a check fit just before they go to camera. That doesn't always happen. A lot of times it's one one fitting depends on how many outfits they're wearing, and how soon we need them off. We need them in the first week of shooting or the first few days then we have to do that right away. We don't have the luxury of anytime later on. So once we do the fittings So the actor comes in if it's something really involved, like on Lemony Snicket were there real, you know, fantasy costumes and was head to toe and involve hats and props and everything else. We do the fitting, we take the pictures, we send the pictures off to be approved by producers and directors, they give their notes if they want something tweaked or changed or they don't like it at all, they want something completely different. Which does happen. Oh, which is terrible, or not terrible, but it's like, okay, pivot, here

Julie- Host:

we go. Yeah, stressful, I imagine like having to think something else. Yeah,

Unknown:

but it happens. And it happens for reasons that are usually at the end of the day really important. And then they finally they will make sense to you. So you have the fittings, you take the pictures. With each costume, we send it to the costume truck, we send that those photos, front and back any close up details of jewelry, or you know, you like a costume, like there's a cuff. And it goes a certain way, if a scarf is tied a certain way, if a belt is done up a certain way if I want if it's period, and I want the skirt to be hitched up on one side, or anything that I really want to see, we take all of these photos, and we put it on a piece of paper. It's also goes into a program that a lot of productions use now called sync onset. Because it's so digital these days, I still like to send a picture though of the costume with the costume when it goes to set. We also give all the scenes that this costume appears in with that picture. And then if there's any specific notes, like let's say in scene, 14, her skirts down to her ankles in scene 16. That's when she's hiked it up and it's in, it's sort of hitched up above her knee. So I have to give that information to the set people so that they know that that's when the actor's supposed needs to have her skirt pipe deck because I don't know she's got a knife in her sock or something. And we need to see it on camera. And that's a director's note. So if there's any specific things specific, it goes out with a costume on a piece of paper and also in notes that are digitally in sync onset. So it's become very technical, as film has become very technical over the years, but also film has become very busy. So to your question, Am I on set? Not as much as I would really like to be and especially when you're doing series, when you're doing a series, and you're shooting you prep prep one episode prepare one episode, that episode goes to camera, the day that that episode goes to camera, you start preparing the next episode. So you know, depending on the size of the series, you could be seven to 10 days is a good sized episode, some half hours are only five days. And then for a series that's as large as the last of us, for instance, we had 25 days. So it depends on the series. By enough.

Julie- Host:

Is that to prep in between? Yeah, so

Unknown:

Okay, here is one episode shooting. While one is shooting, the next one is prepping. The next one goes to camera, you're prepping the next one and so on all until you've done depends on the size. Last of Us was nine episodes. Some are 12. Back in the day, I did bones for a couple of season they did 22 episodes. My gosh, that was Wow. Yeah. A season a season. Wow. So I don't even know if that happens anymore. But anyway.

Julie- Host:

Yeah, that's a lot. That's amazing. So, like for you, I'm so curious about you know, when, when you are thinking about kind of all the different aspects of your job, because there I mean, there's actually like, so much, that's not only I feel like your expertise as just someone who's really probably I'm guessing, very aware of like, different types of fashions and different types of eras, and, like the different types of materials and the way that they lay on people and the way that they look on camera. And you know, like cuz and we haven't even touched on all this but like, I'm just kind of, you know, imagining out like kind of all the pieces of of like what must go on in your brain. But then on top of that you've got all these sort of logistical things that that are happening and all the particular kind of organizational things as well keeping track so I I'm curious, like, how do you like when you are approaching something, how do you kind of have that balance between Okay, well, I'm keeping in mind that this is the budget I'm keeping in mind that this is the timeline I'm keeping in mind like all these different things about logistical but then also when it comes to that that creative part, which seems like such a fun, beautiful process? How do you balance that out? And like, what are the things that you think about to really, I guess, make sure that you also are being true to whatever, you know, whatever you're working on in that moment, whatever that, that creation processes,

Unknown:

you know, I like to equate this job to, you know, there are artists, like visual artists in the world who are pure artists, they live for their art, they're not swayed by a public opinion, they just live for their art, and they suffer for that. No, they may be maybe their art is amazing, maybe, you know, they don't become really popular in their art until they've passed, or successive generations, because for all those reasons, and then there's artists that are. Listen, I don't want to say this in any kind of negative way. But there are artists that are more successful or prolific, maybe successful in their lifetime, because they promote themselves or because they have a business aspect to what they're doing. And, you know, you can look at that from different ways. You know, there's a, you know, there's artists who won't bastardize their art, because it's pure, and they live for it. And that is fine. And that's a choice. And then there's artists who are more, as I was just saying, you know, they're more you know, of them, you know, their art, you'll go and buy their art, it's more accessible. I don't want to use the word commercial, because that really sucks. I hate that word. But they're just more. They're different brains in a sense, or different hearts or different sensibilities. And I think that's what a costume designer, in a sense, has to be, I couldn't just go in and go, you know, I only work in red, and I need all of my main characters to be in red. And it needs to be a real lush, deep, velvety, red, you know, I'd never get any jobs, you really have to be have a business side to you. And whether that is, you know, you come in with a business degree or just you went to business school, plus, you are an artist, or your sort of business acumen sort of evolves, as you learn the business, which is the way I did it, you really have to have that duality, you cannot just be a pure artist, because at the end of the day, you as I mentioned before, it's a huge collaboration with a lot of different people. So it cannot be just about you. It cannot be just about your vision, which is important. But it's a collaboration. It's not just unless I was doing my own film, and then I could do whatever I wanted. But that's not the case. So you really do have to have that sort of business side of you that can think of all those things, the logistics, what's important, you know, I know that they're gonna go, an actor is going to go out and be in the elements. But they have to look like they're impervious to the elements, because they're like a walking dead person. So how am I going to keep that person warm? I've got to think about that. How are my set? People going to keep them warm on the day? What do I need to give them to do that? What do I need to say to production to say, remind them that you're going to have a live person playing a dead person standing in four feet of snow, with 30 mile an hour winds, like, you know, there's all of these things, or they're going to be wet for the entire scene and what even if it's the middle of summer, you know, if you're in a pool for five hours, you get chilly, you get cold. So there's there's so many things to think about. There's so many elements to think about. And I could not just be a pure artist. You know, think about everybody else. Really? Who's in front of the camera, who will who's behind the camera and what we're trying to create together. Yeah.

Julie- Host:

I love that. And I appreciate you sharing that I think it makes. I mean, it makes a lot of sense. Because right, like in the world that we live in, we can't just do the pure creation. Like that's just nice. Unfortunately, like it just doesn't work that way and, and also to your point of like, being so aware and acknowledging that there's all these other circumstances that go into when you are filming and like, is that person going to be comfortable? Like how are you going to adapt things? I think that's so incredibly thoughtful for them right? Like that's like going the extra mile on top of right just like creating the visual, which is what I originally think of like you know, when I think of costume designer, I think of like, the visual aspects but right when you're talking about the person who was on set, yeah, if they're in water for five hours, they're gonna be real surely after after certain time so yeah, that's amazing. Yeah,

Unknown:

it really comes down to definitely does like what the vision is. Is everyone and how you're going to achieve that and everything that happens in between logistics? You know, time to get there? When does when does the actor arrive on set? Yeah, it's a big, it's a big, it's like a little, you know, military unit that works that you really have to think of, from the top to the bottom, from the creative aspect down to the day to day, it's just a big map of getting from A to B. And what, what will happen if it changes? What if all the snow melts? What if suddenly, there's a hot spill? Like they know you've got people and that's the reverse, you know, got people dressed up for winter, sweating inside of, you know, their costume, their spacesuit their whatever you've got going on? How do you keep them cool? You know, it's internal fans. It can go on and on. Like, it's, it's diverse and deep. And you really have to think outside of the box a lot of the time. loves

Julie- Host:

that. Yeah, will you describe like, some of the costumes that you've helped create over the years, like, whether they're like the most sort of diverse or unique, or like some of your favorites, where you just kind of give us like, you know, super short, kind of like examples of what you have created. So people can kind of get like a picture, because I think it's like the I got to see the example the video, which people can go see because it's on your website. But for like, you know, for people who are listening, like, you know, like, what's something you created for the most recent show goosebumps and like some of your other favorites or things that you've loved doing? Yeah,

Unknown:

I mean, gosh, there's, there's so many, I mean, for goosebumps, again, because it was something that existed in the books. And we really wanted to go back to the books, not dismissing anything that had been made already. But we really wanted to go back to the origin and go back to the books. So we even sort of referenced the book covers the art, the book cover art, and things like that. And I think probably, I mean, Horace Biddle was one of my favorites, because, first of all, we had to go back to the 90s. And it's about his character, this is all about his character, his character sort of sets the stage for everything that happens. And we had to create this young man and who is a sympathetic character who becomes kind of the villain in a sense, and who's created this these decades of terrible events. And it was really great and we did a lot of visual effects with him. And that was really fun. Just again, down to the planet with with plaid and me but anyways, the red part is flannel, and the cut of his jeans and everything. It was really, really set the tone I think for the whole thing. If I go back to Lemony Snicket, that that was the first season I did two seasons of that. The first season was so amazing to me with Neil Patrick Harris and and Lucy punch, like what a couple of great character actors and I the beginning of that show for Neil Patrick Harris. I had to do all of his main characters disguises at the very beginning. They wanted to create them all at the very, very beginning. So it was illustrations. It was fabric swatching fabric buying globally. It was it was like a big deal. Again, I had to fly to see Neil, because we were in different parts of the country. Take everything with us with everything half made, have a fitting, it went very well. The notes weren't, you know, too extraordinary. It was all achievable. Went back to the studio, he went back to wherever he was going back to got everything almost finished. He came back a week before we went to camera. Oh, and we fit I believe he had on a say he had, let's just say 12 disguises for that first season, very intricate disguises different and he came into the fitting room. We were doing counter lofts disguise, we did one of his main disguises. And you know you have it you have it there. It's very intricate, just hoping he likes it. I don't really know him very well or don't know him really at all, except BIOS work. I'm giving my spiel, you know, this is why we've got this do you have to do this with that this has to come off, you know, your cane has to do that blah, blah, blah, giving him the spiel and the song and dance so you know, kind of building up the costume. So hopefully he loves it. He's very stoic. At this point. He gets into the costume. He sort of walks around the the fitting room in it for a minute he stands in front of the giant three way mirror. And then he starts speaking with Olaf voice in this costume. Because if you know the show, he really embodied each disguise. And then he started walking around the room and he came over to me and he looked in my eye and he said something is all off. And I just melted. Oh, I just melted because you know you spend all this time and all of this energy in this creative energy trying to do create something that everybody likes and everybody wants, and it fits into the story. And that to have your actor in front of you, and just being the character, and you can tell that he's really diggin it. He's like really getting it. And he's really making it whole. It's just like, it's your dream come true moments. So your aha moment, it's like, this is why I do this, this is amazing. This is we've created something together, and he's going to go off and be this character now. And then you're on to the next one. But that was pretty amazing for me. And you know, another one, even for The Last of Us. So, you know, I'm not a game player. I didn't play the game. I knew of it, but I didn't do much. But I, you know, did all my homework, which is a part of the charm of being a costume designer, you know, even if you don't live in that world, you get to explore that world, like, it's a new world, whether it's a period world, or a game world, or a fantasy world, or just a contemporary world, you get to explore someone's environment that they live in. And that's so you know, that's, it's like traveling, it's like going on a trip, it's so amazing. And so for the last of us, you know, I didn't get to see Pedro Pascal until he got to where we were shooting, which was very remote, and actualizing his costume from the game. And knowing that he, you know, just was the Mandalorian. And he played all these other characters and had all these elaborate, amazing costumes. And in the game, it's really a jeans and T shirt, sort of environment that we're we're watching, and there is time, and space travel or not space travel, but time travel for 20 years. So I did have that. But it's, you know, there's the iconic looks there, what there, you know, I'm hoping he will embodies the iconic look, he has to wear it, he has to be the main character, Joel, he has to get in front of this global audience that is waiting for him to embody their favorite character ever. There's a lot of pressure. So you know, I had like, like racks and racks of jeans, and racks and racks of flannels, and racks and racks of denim shirts, and the iconic jacket from the game, and the boots from the game, all these different choices. And I was really nervous that he was going to come and be super bored with it all because, you know, it's like, it's, it's not Star Wars, it's all of these other fantastical, amazing characters that he's played, he was really relieved, on one level to be able to just wear a normal, contemporary looking costume. So I was like, Oh, great. That's one thing out of the way. And then we found all the right pieces. And we found them very quickly, which says a lot about Petro. He knows his character as well. He knows what feels right and looks right. He chose to never ever wear a hat. Because Joel the character never wears a hat. And we were shooting again in 30 below in the snow. And he would have to traipse through the snow ride a horse through the snow. Never wear a hat because the character in the game never wear a hat, you know, dedication, that's, you know, how do I keep a more immediate, those sort of things that was you know, on another another level, a contemporary look, but really important because it had an audience that was really expecting to see their Joel. And, you know, again, it's, you know, different different worlds different sort of genres. But the same intent at the end, we need to create the character that everyone is expecting to see or wanting to see. We need to give it our own twist, if that's the case, if that's what production is hoping for. And but you need to make sure that it is something that's going to speak to the character and keep be true to the character and keep everybody happy, I guess or or if there are surprises, the audience is happy about these surprises and gets these surprises. So yeah.

Julie- Host:

Wow, that was such a cool overview. Like Thank you. I mean, I think we got such a bonus to like, not only hearing some of the stories, but hearing, you know, so much of like the background about what you think about and how you do things. It's really fascinating. I think it makes it so clear, like how intentional you are with your job, like not only making sure that the actors themselves and actresses are like very comfortable and that they feel like they can really portray this this character really accurately and comfortably. Yeah, yeah. But also like those other you know, there's other aspects that like maybe we wouldn't think about watching comfort but then also, you know, like trueness to what's happening as a whole within the environment. And like all these different things going on. So that's super cool. Yeah,

Unknown:

I think that's important. And I think that's again, something that's newer over the last 20 years even is that now that you have this information available to you, you know, people, right? We're like, What do you mean, you had 30 of those green plaid shirts for Joel, or, or the same thing for goosebumps, we had malt many, many multiples of a lot of what you saw that went on fire, or you know, the pieces, because we would have to go back to one, we'd have to go back to have everything perfect as it was, in the very first take all of those things, I think the technical aspects of filmmaking is something that's more accessible to people now. So it's a little more fascinating on a different level. Whereas before, maybe if you weren't in the business, you went to a film just just be enchanted, and drawn in with what you were looking at. I think that's still super important. Because at the end of the day, all of this is for that audience to go and have an experience. But there's also people who are so intrigued by, and I don't even remember, but back in the back when there was DVDs, you would get, you know, the added materials, sort of section where it would be about this making of kind of thing, and they still do it. But that was fascinating to me, even me. I couldn't wait to see that part. Sometimes I watch that part first, before I would watch the show. So good idea. It's just really sort of kind of intriguing how they're made. I think for some Yeah,

Julie- Host:

no, for sure. And I mean, I think that's like also goes back to why I love doing this podcast, because there's so many things that like you just don't know to think about, like you just like so fascinating, all the all of the details and the intentionality that goes into what people do every day. And then of course, like hearing the explanations, it just makes so much sense. But it's just not. It's not apparent, right. Like whether we're sitting in front of our TV, or we're sitting in a movie theater, it's not, it's not things that automatically would pop out to us. But it's so fun to know those behind the scenes, things like oh, this, you know, I can think about that now. Like, as I'm, as I'm watching something and look at the background, the background characters and like what they're wearing, and is it super detailed, and like, what are they doing before anyone says anything? So yeah, so that's amazing. And I want to ask, just because, you know, I could go on all day, but for the sake of time, and that all of us, right, we have like, we have to move on to other things at some point. So I want to ask my, my last, my last few questions. So the first question is, you know, if people want to get into this, like, if they're like, Wow, this is an amazing career, where can they go? Or like, Are there places they can find out more information about the costume design, industry, getting, you know, getting their feet wet? Or like, you know, whether they're younger? Or you know, even if it's possible to do at an older age, I would love to kind of hear what resources organizations that you might recommend for people to kind of get started. Yeah,

Unknown:

I mean, there's the obvious. So you can go to film school, I think that's really important. It's not everyone's journey. And that's for different reasons. But that makes the most sense. Because you're gonna learn that everything that I just talked about, is just like, not even all of it. And it's just the tip of the iceberg. If you you know, I've talked to classes before, and someone asked me, Well, I'm in like, an interior design, will this pertain to the film industry? Yes, absolutely. Because, you know, if you're learning how to if you're learning colors, color palettes, lighting, what happens to a room, when you put a certain kind of light on it will the wall, you know, if you're living around greenery than your white walls, might have a green, all of that stuff is really important and pertinent. And I think that, you know, I went to fashion design school, I didn't go to film school, but that's pertinent to what I do now. But I you know, and I did it after the fact after I already had a business going and things like that. But that was my journey. So film, school is one great place to go obviously, and they're all over you can go to, you can take just classes in you know, specific classes, if you're going for your undergrad, whatever you're going for, you can take specific classes or you can take fashion design or you can go to a college to take fashion design. You can also tutor in a sense under people in in, in. So, okay, so in the film world, there are feature films, there is streaming now of course, then there's a network television. And then there's a whole other world that is indie filmmakers making so independent filmmaking. That is a really great world to reach out to Oh, also like music videos and commercials, things like that. So that if you want to go the route where you just want more practical like I did, if you find yourself sort of given the opportunity to sort of reach out to people and say, Here's my background, here's what I do. But here's what I'm really interested in. And I will do just about anything, I will shadow I will in turn, I will, whatever, however, you can see me, you know, if if I can be a part of what you do to learn what you do, I would be forever grateful. I had one person say, I will babysit your kids. That's, you know, I don't advocate for that. But you know, you would need that. And you need that desire, I think in this business, because it's, it's intense. And it's you need the technical knowing, but you also need the creative. So whatever you can gain along the way of your journey, I think is really important. And indie filmmaking is how I got into the business and where I made all these amazing relationships that still, I have today. And I have one person who works on my team, my set supervisor who I met on that first film, as well. So you know, it, it's really, really important to create these relationships, I guess, is one thing I'm trying to say. Also, anywhere in North America, so Canada, the United States, and even, you know, south of the border, Mexico, and even in Europe, and other places, there's unions, there's film unions, this film associations, and there are guilds, film guilds, and those are really great places to I, you know, to get yourself insert yourself into. So they're all over the place. There's the designers guild in LA, which I'm a member of, which is a part of I ATSI, it is all over the States and Canada. And it's really important to try and get your foot in the door. It's not super, super easy. But it's an avenue that you can actually you can actually go out and achieve you can you can make steps to get there. And then there's associations like in Canada, there's calf CAD, and which is a Canadian Association for costume designers, Assistant costume designers and illustrators, maybe even more, I should know, and I don't, which is terrible. But you know, they're in a station, you can reach out to them, they have courses that you can take, you can become a member, it's easier probably to become a member with them than, than the actual unions. But you know, that's another avenue to go. You can go even on the you know, sort of the regional level, you can do theater, you can get into doing mean anything you can do, like I did, I did dance and musical theater, you can kind of sort of venture into that as well. Basically, I guess what I'm saying is go anywhere and do anything, I have people who have said, you know, I'm going to be in my gap here, I can go anywhere in North America, wherever you're at, I can come and intern, even just for the summer, my parents will pay for my parents know someone who lives here or there. And I can I can get there. I've been I've had that as well. It's not always doable, because of course, I you know, when I work, I am working for a production company. So there's rules and regulations. But anywhere you go, but you have to ask, you need to ask you need to reach out. And now of course, there's social media. So there's a lot of, you know, you can reach out to people just about anywhere. And a lot of designers or assistant designers or supervisors will give people information virtually. We are in a little bit of a rough spot at the moment. I think we were talking about this earlier. And it is part of the business, you know, and it's an important time right now. And hopefully the strike will be over really soon. But straight, oh, businesses. And so unfortunately, this was taken a long time, but but we will be back.

Julie- Host:

I'm glad. I think well, I'll be glad. Yes. Well, thank you. That was an amazing array of resources and ideas. And just like yeah, I think that like the overall idea that I got was you got to be tenacious and try to contact people.

Unknown:

You do. Yeah, you do. Need to you really need to. I think gentle persistence is a good maybe that's a good slogan to live by in this industry and you can't give up because there's so many noes. Before there's a yes. And it's like acting like actors you you might go out for like 40 auditions and get one you know, yes out of the whole thing. And I think that's I you know, there's a lot of people that want to do the same thing that you're doing so you really need to I don't get all the jobs I go out for i Then I get jobs that I have not gone out for and there are some jobs that I don't want to But there's a lot of and there's a lot of jobs I do want, but then hopefully I get them but not always. So business, you need to be tenacious, you need to stay positive, you need to be keep educating yourself, because the industry also keeps changing with technology. So and you need to be a people person and flexible. That's really, that's really the name of the game. Yeah.

Julie- Host:

Oh, my gosh, that was an amazing summary. Well, thank you. And I'm going to ask my last question before we wrap up. And I asked this to all my guests. So of course, I have to ask you, so to end our conversation, will you share a sentence that uses verbiage or jargon from your field, then please translate it to us. So it's understandable? Okay,

Unknown:

well, I'm going to choose something from set because that's where all the fancy verbiage is on is on set. I think mostly, I guess one of the biggest ones that people wait for, who are waiting for all day long when you're working is checking the gate. And so checking the gate is when they finished a shot, they want to check all the departments and make sure that that take was what they wanted. So there wasn't like a hair in front of the camera, there wasn't a color problem, a lighting problem, there wasn't, I don't know, someone was supposed to be facing the camera. And for some reason they were facing away, they want to make sure that everything was right. So they're checking the gate, all the departments are standing on pins and needles, making sure everything was okay holding their breath. And then hopefully the next thing you hear is Okay, moving on. And moving on is when Okay, we're gonna go to the next scene that's on the list, or you're going to be turning the camera around. And then at the very, very end of the day, the thing that you've been waiting all day to hear is we're on the Martini, which means we're on the last shot of the day.

Julie- Host:

That's a good example.

Unknown:

Yes. I think you know, if you know, you can put that together. Or if you're on the second to last shot of the day, it's called the window.

Julie- Host:

I love that. Thank you. That was an amazing example. I've never heard. Never heard any of that. Oh, I love it so much. Well, thank you so much for being here. Tell us about where people could find goosebumps, like, where can they see the newest creation that you've helped with. And then also, if you want to share your information, like your website, and any socials, feel free to share that as well. Oh,

Unknown:

well, goose bumps you can find on of course, Disney plus and Hulu. And I think that they've aired I could be wrong. But we're think they've aired they have two more episodes to air and then the whole season will be up and available. It's pretty exciting as it gets to the end as well. There's a lot there's some time travel happening too. That's really fun. So yeah, Disney plus and Hulu. And if you want to find me or my work, I have a website and it's www dot Cynthia summers, my name dot biz bi Z, or Zed depending on where you are, and, or on Instagram, that's tends to tends to be where I am the most design is to.

Julie- Host:

Yes, and you have some very cool examples of your work there. So definitely, people can go check out your latest creation with helping for the Goosebumps series. Also, you can go check out your work on social on social media, or just your website is really cool, too. So thank you so much for being here. Cynthia, this was so much fun. I learned so much. And you have a super cool job. Thank

Unknown:

you so much for having me. It's so fun. I love to I love what I do. So I'd love to talk about it. So and it's never seems like enough time could always feels like we could go on and on and on. And of course after the fact they know I'm going to remember all these things that I wish I could have shared or should have.

Julie- Host:

Well, we can always put some more in the show notes if you decide there's like something really, really important that that we didn't get to talk about. So awesome. Well, yes, I could go on and on for hours too. I would have probably no problem. But I don't think people want to be here for like four hours. So So yes, we will have to wrap up now. But yes, it's been such a pleasure. And I'm just so happy to have you here. Thanks.

Unknown:

Extremely nice meeting you. And I love your I love your platform and your podcast. So really, really honored to be a part of it. Thank

Julie- Host:

you so much. You're welcome. Hey, everybody, thank you so much for listening to women with cool jobs. I'll be releasing a new episode every two weeks. So make sure you hit that subscribe button. And if you love the show, please give me a five star rating. Also, it would mean so much if you share this episode with someone you think would love it or would find it inspirational. And lastly, do you have ideas for future shows? Or do you know any Rockstar women with cool jobs? I would love to hear from you. You can email me at Julie at women with cool jobs.com Or you can find me on Instagram at women who will jobs again that women will jobs. Thank you so much for listening and have an incredible day