Brittany Cormack is a costume designer for film and television. Following her training in fashion and dance, Brittany arrived in Los Angeles without a clue how to work in the movie business, but has since found her groove. She works primarily on independent films, commercials, and music videos, but every day is an adventure.

Work has taken her from frozen mountains to coastal swamps, and everywhere in between. In this conversation, we discover how movie sets work, what happens when everyone is freelance, and where to build habits even during crazy periods.

Catch up with Brittany on her IMDB page or Portfolio.

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Show Notes & Links

  • Gilmore Girls are back
  • Brittany and Prescott went to college together, danced together
  • Brittany is a costume designer for film & television
  • The difference between costume and fashion is that fashion is meant to sell; costume helps build a character

“Costume is the head-to-toe of a person”

—Brittany Cormack

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  • Costume should be part of the conception, not merely production
  • Upstairs-downstairs, the term for important vs. non-important people
  • Above-the-line/Below-the-line, terms in film (also advertising) to describe the most visible and important duties

“Each set and each project has an energy of its own.”

—Brittany Cormack

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“Every first day of shooting is like the first day of school.”

—Brittany Cormack

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“You have to be a little half-crazy to work in this industry.”

—Brittany Cormack

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  • Grey’s Anatomy, currently in season 13
  • Contracts for short films or commercials are usually under 2 months

“If you’re ever looking for work, just plan a vacation.”

—freelancers’ adage

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“In LA or New York, you can get anything if you have the money.”

—Brittany Cormack

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  • Standard days of filming are 10-14 hours

“I only want to tell stories that I feel matter.”

—Brittany Cormack

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“If you want to be a true collaborator, you’ve gotta be willing to be a team player.”

—Brittany Cormack

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“If there’s a hat, you’re gonna wear it!”

—Brittany Cormack

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“You’re only as good as your last job.”

—Hollywood adage

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Tools

  • Paper & Pencil

Techniques

  • Build a backstory for all your characters beyond what’s on the page
  • Keep track of everyone who owes you money
  • Call your “guy” when you’re in trouble
  • Stay around people, be inspired by them (as well as books)

Habits

  • Keep a positive, collaborative attitude above all
  • Use a billing software tool to track your invoices
  • Document your work on social media to stay current

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About the author: Prescott Perez-Fox

Prescott Perez-Fox is a New York-based graphic designer and brand developer with 17+ years experience in branding, packaging, graphic design, and web design. He runs The Busy Creator.

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