Costume design for film - filmmaking on low budget Ep 5


Costume design for film - filmmaking on low budget Ep 5

You may watch this video tutorial about costume designing in my Youtube channel below:

what you wear says a lot about you

In this article you will learn how to pick the outfits of your characters in five steps.. for a better visual effect of your movie. 

Costume design is a game changer, it's a powerful psychological tool that helps filmmakers tell their story, it has a magical effect on a subconscious level that makes us like or dislike a movie without us even knowing. But it's very underrated and costume designers don't get the credit that they deserve.

Most of the time the expression costume designing is associated with Halloween or disguised parties  which generally means wearing a certain outfit to look like someone else. But in filmmaking it's the opposite, costumes is what helps the viewers know who the characters really are, they kinda give us insight into the character.

Here are few examples of the power that costume design have depending on the purpose of the scene of course:

1- it can make a character stand out from the crowd
2- it can make a character blend in with the movie color palette
3- it can create contrast between two characters in a scene

Now back to the concept of low budget filmmaking

low budget filmmakers don't usually hire costume designers for the obvious reason that we all know. And since this step could make a huge difference for your movie, here are the 5 steps to follow, to get the best out of it.. if you couldn't hire a professional costume designer:

Step 1

define the factors that will influence the outfit of your character by asking yourself questions like:

how old is my character? what's their background? education? current financial status? what could be their fashion taste? what are their religious or spiritual beliefs... etc, add as many factors as you can.

Step 2

Take into consideration the genre and the mood of your movie, along with the time and location where the events of the story are happening.

Step 3

Get inspired by watching movies of the same genre and that have characters similar to yours, for example, if your character is a geek that lives in their mum's basement (with all due respect) then watch movies that have similar characters and pay attention to what they are wearing all along the movie and notice any changing during the character development arc or the major shifting

(we talked about how important is character development in the episode of how to write a script check article HERE)

You don't have to copy exactly from a movie, matter fact, you should watch several movies to get a general idea.

Step 4

Now that you know how your character will be dressed, see if the person/actor who is going to play the role can help, maybe they have similar style of clothing or they can find it somehow.

The steps could end right here but in case your actor can't help then move on to the next step

step 5

Simply find another way (duh) 

I can't tell you where you could rent or buy or even design clothes and accessories for a cheap price because it depends on where you live. But no matter where you are there are always places that could be of help, you just have to search for them. and here are tips to help you:

  • Contact local filmmakers and ask them where they do their costumes shopping
  • Post in social media filmmaking groups about what you're looking for
  • Or you can check out online shopping websites

if none of these tips helped you than you're screwed, you'll just have to do with what you have and miss a good opportunity to make your movie look better.

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