Scripts, Screens, and Sewing Machines – Oh My!

They offer escape, inspiration, a window into another place and another time. The characters become our friends, enemies, and often shed light on a piece of ourselves. Generation after generation, we’ve welcomed them into our homes and our hearts. The movies.

The syncing of film and screenplay unravels a story that’s capable of engaging one’s whole self. Two lines uttered before a heart breaking goodbye, a joke that makes your cheeks hurt, an aerial view that allows you to peer into another world – these moments engrave our mind, as the actors and settings blend amongst our own memories.

The director uses the script to understand the narrative, allowing the words to sketch the character’s soul, outlining the peaks and valleys of the plot. Yet it’s in tying those words to visual details that a captivating film emerges. One may argue that the most important detail, the one that indirectly gives the audience insight on the character’s role in space and time, is the costume.

From October 2014 to March 2015 The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is working alongside The Victoria and Albert Museum, London to bring the Hollywood Costume exhibition to Los Angeles.

The exhibition, “explores the central role of costume design–from the glamorous to the very subtle–as an essential tool of cinematic storytelling.” (Source)

Dallas Buyers ClubHollywood Costume displays 150 costumes; 61 appearing in an Academy Award winning picturing, and 22 that have brought home the Oscar for Best Costume Design. Pieces include Jared Leto’s ensemble from Dallas Buyers Club and the iconic red slippers from Wizard of Oz.

Promotion for this exhibition highlights the creative process of uniting two familiar concepts to create an original piece that communicates the core message. Instead of glamorizing the details of exhibited costumes, The Academy chose to challenge fashion designer, Jum Nakao, to recreate the dress from Marie Antoinette, using only pages from the screenplay.

Pairing costume design with an unexpected substrate illustrates the importance of the varying components of a film, while enticing viewers with an element of unexpectedness.

The audience slowly watches sections of the dress come to life, unable to visualize the final production. In its finality the strategy succeeds, leaving the audience with a visual masterpiece that presents the integral link between story and costume. The promotion reminds the audience of the many costumes stored in their memories, a persuasive factor considering the end goal of increased exhibit attendance.

A tribute to the films that transform our living rooms to lands of adventure, infatuation, and horror the combination of words and wardrobe leave you in wonder.

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