rental-studio

I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about Fantastic Beasts winning an Academy Award when none of the Harry Potter films ever did. And to that I say, “Really?”

We’re specifically talking about an Academy Award for Costume Design. For the most part, the HP films left the characters in their student robes. Simple and efficient, but nothing to really write home about. You have a couple exceptions of great costumes (The Yule Ball costumes, Dumbledore & McGonagall’s robes, etc), but for the most part we had student robes for 7 movies, and whole bunch of clothes off the rack from the Gap.

On the other hand, Fantastic Beasts is a 1920′s period piece with THOUSANDS of extras that all had to be outfitted in period appropriate wear). In an interview recently she talked about the usual rental studios not having enough 20′s apparel for their needs so she sent people scouring the globe to collect them. In addition to that, you have the gorgeous work on things like Graves’ coat, Picquery’s Phoenix dress and headdress, and Queenie’s coat, that was hand woven out of 30,000 feet of silk thread.

AND THEN THERE’S THE INTERNATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF WIZARDS SCENE, WHICH DESERVED THE OSCAR ALL ON ITS OWN

My business is worth more than an hourly wage + materials

I am often told “that’s so expensive!” or “that only cost you $10 to make!”  I think this is due to a lack of information on what it actually takes to manufacture clothing and sell it.  Running a fashion business requires much more than the funds to pay the designer a wage and cover the cost of direct materials for the garment sewn.  

Some of the invisible costs of running a fashion business: studio rental and monthly bills, capital purchases like machinery and tables and computers, business and trademark registration fees, banking fees, creating catalogs and lookbooks, shipping of materials or transport to pick them up, building up and maintaining inventory in advance of sales, losing money on garments that didn’t sell or sold on sale, payment processing fees, designing new collections and creating new samples, legal fees, researching trends, art supplies, web design, website domain and hosting fees, SEO services and consulting, packaging materials, marketing materials like postcards and business cards, office supplies, workers’ comp and unemployment insurance and other taxes, sending free samples for review, hosting events like pop up shops or trunk shows, garment labels and hang tags, logo or artwork design, inventory storage, stock supplies like hangers and garment racks, phone and internet bills, software purchases like Photoshop or Quickbooks, training new interns or assistants, meetings with editors and stylists and photographers, hiring photographers / models / hair stylists / makeup artists / wardrobe stylists / assistants for photo shoots, photo shoot venue rentals, producing fashion shows or presentation shows, the cost of creating and mailing catalogs and marketing materials to boutiques and retailers, business classes… The list goes on.

These invisible expenses add up to tens of thousands of dollars a year, even for a small business owner who is prudent and does most operations like sewing, marketing, and selling for herself or himself.  For small businesses who outsource sewing or who hire sales agents or who have a team of employees, these costs quickly add up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This means that it requires an enormous amount of revenue (and lots of sales) for a business to even break even before the designer can consider paying themselves a salary at all.

Also bear in mind that many of these things also require time to complete, even if most of the labor (such as accounting) is outsourced to another professional.  Someone still has to collect receipts, input data, write the social media posts, keep count of inventory, plan photoshoots, etc.  An hourly wage that only covers sewing time, for example, would ignore the countless other hours that it takes for a designer to stay in business.  For my business, Angela Friedman Inc, I do most everything myself in my studio.  For every 1 hour that I spend sewing, I spent approximately another 5-6 hours doing all of these other things like social media, writing emails to customers and retailers, planning events, designing new styles, and paperwork paperwork paperwork.  If I counted say $15 an hour for my sewing time in each price, but didn’t increase the prices to reflect these other expenses, I would in effect be earning $3-$4 an hour.  In the US, at least, $15 is barely a living wage. $3 means that either you burn out or your business goes bankrupt.

Consider the example of one of my silk and French lace robes, the Iris Robe priced at $325.  If you think that is expensive, sure, maybe it is.  But I’m not putting $325 in my pocket.  After the cost of materials directly associated with the garment and packaging and payment fees, I’m left with about $253.  It takes me about 3 hours to cut and sew one start to finish (there are a lot of details like lace applique that take longer than a standard robe might). Remember how I mentioned that I spend 6 hours doing “other business stuff” for every 1 hour I spend sewing?  Take that into account, and now this robe takes me 21 hours to make.  Divide the $253 left, and I’m now earning $12 an hour to sew the robe.  (In reality, I earn less than this due to other unexpected expenses that I simply can’t count on.)  But I think we can all at least agree that an artist earning $12 an hour is not “too expensive.”

Of course I realize that there are many who can’t afford a $325 robe anyway.  I’m in no way implying that you don’t exist or your needs aren’t important. If you can’t afford clothes that are ethically manufactured, it’s also because our economic system is broken.  If you can only afford clothes manufactured in sweatshops by oppressed peoples of the world, then you too are oppressed. Your wages are probably also unfairly low and your expenses are probably also unfairly high.  And of course, our trade quotas being screwed up in the 90s didn’t help, but that’s another discussion for another day.  (For the record, I also can’t afford to buy my own work, which is another indicator that our economic system is broken.)

My point is, please be kind before accusing small businesses of price gouging.  We’re trying to earn a living the same way as you, and most of us are just barely scraping by regardless of how high our prices may seem at first glance.  There are so many unseen expenses that go into running a fashion business.  My business is worth more than an hourly wage + materials.

Former Warner Bros. Records Executive Jeff Gold describes a few fond memories of working with Prince in the early 90’s

“I first met Prince in early 1991. Uncharacteristically, Prince had been open to feedback about his forthcoming album, Diamonds and Pearls, from Warner Bros. chairman Mo Ostin and president Lenny Waronker (himself a legendary record producer) and I believe sr. vp’s of a&r Benny Medina and Michael Ostin. When finished, many at the label felt it had great potential.

I was WB’s new senior vp of creative services, responsible for the art department and much of marketing, and when I saw Prince’s proposed album cover—a tight close up of his face, with two fingers in front of his lips, and his tongue sticking out between them, I thought it was kind of…ridiculous.

Since the album was a major priority for the company, I went to Mo and Lenny with my concerns. They suggested I have a meeting with Prince, and so Benny Medina, who worked closely with Prince, set one up. I was a major Prince fan, having seen him on Purple Rain tour and a few other times, and while I knew of his difficult reputation, figured ‘what have I got to lose?’ What followed was surely the most difficult meeting of my career.

Benny’s office was dark and sort of cave-like, with no windows. I entered to find Benny at his desk and Prince sitting in the middle of a couch, with the obvious spot for me a couch opposite Prince. There was no small talk, then or ever, with Prince. Benny got to the point, introducing me and telling Prince that I wasn’t particularly fond of his album cover concept.

Just as Benny finished delivering the bad news, there was a knock on the door, and Benny’s attorney stuck in his head. He needed Benny right away. Benny left, and I was alone with Prince, in full hair, makeup, and clothed like he was about to take the stage (as he always was), sitting about 5’ across from me, not particularly happy. In hindsight, I’m not sure anybody at Warners had ever offered up a negative opinion about his album artwork. He’d earned the right to call the shots, and expected to do so. But still, that photo was so…weird.

We had an hour or more of very difficult semi-conversation, mostly about what I thought he might do instead. Prince had enormous charisma, knew it, and knew how to use it. He also knew how to use silence and pauses in conversation to intimidate people, and he did a great job with me. I spoke respectfully and generally about why I thought a different image might be better. He glared. At one point, he asked with incredulity ‘What do you want me to do, wear overalls like R.E.M.?’ A bit later he said ‘Maybe I should have some clothes made for you’. I was wearing jeans and a button up shirt; he was wearing lime green skin-tight pants, high-heel boots, and a day-glo green, pin-striped, see-through shirt.

After one pause, he said ‘show me some album covers you’ve done.’ I ran upstairs to my office and collected about 20 cd’s I’d worked on, most from my previous job at A&M Records. He looked at each one, saying something dismissive about it, until near the bottom of the pile, he saw a holographic limited edition package I’d worked on for Suzanne Vega’s album Days of Open Hand (which I’d won an art direction Grammy for.) ‘Now this is great’ he said. Why can’t I have a hologram?’

Ah, finally a potential break. A few weeks earlier I’d met with a salesman for a company with a new, much less expensive hologram technology. I told Prince about it, and he perked up a bit. I promised to follow up and get back to him, and the meeting was over.

I pitched the hologram company’s rep –how would you like to introduce your new technology on Prince’s new album cover? Somehow, miraculously, we were able to pull it off, and Diamonds and Pearls was the first mass market CD with a holographic cover.

A few memories: We did a 4 hour hologram shoot at Studio Instrument Rentals (SIR) in Hollywood, where Prince and his two dancers, ‘Diamond’ and ‘Pearl’ sat on a small circular platform. After speaking to the holographer, he decided on an arm motion to perform while a motion picture camera on a dolly shot them in a 180 degree arc. Multiple takes were completed, with a lot of down time. I remember trying to make conversation (near impossible) and asking him about collaborating with Miles Davis (he was pretty dismissive.)

A few days later, I met him at a studio in Hollywood to watch video transfers of the various takes (each a few seconds long.) We chose one pretty quickly, and I was on my way. A few weeks later I got a ‘glass plate’ test hologram, which I thought looked great. Benny and I took it to Larrabee Studios, where Prince was recording. When he saw it, he loved it—and I think I detected a bit of a thaw. Progress!

Our next encounter was probably the highlight of my music business career. Benny and I went to see Prince at SIR, where he was rehearsing his band; I think it was to show him the first actual stamped hologram samples. He was very happy with what he saw, and asked what we were doing after we left. We said something to the extent of ‘going back to the office’, and he pointed to an old funky couch and suggested we sit down, alongside two Dutch journalists who were writing a story. We did, and Prince proceeded to rehearse his set, with full band, for about an hour, for the four of us. We were maybe 10 feet in front of him. It was the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever seen. As I reflect on it now, I think he may have been sort of saying ‘nice work on the hologram. Now take a look at what I can do’.

When he finally saw the finished album cover, he was thrilled and sent me this note. His assistant told mine that she’d never seen him send a thank you note, ever. I’d passed the test.

From then on, he never gave me any grief. That’s not to say it was always easy. But as we continued to work together, I understood that Prince was driven by a relentless pursuit of perfection. He knew exactly what he wanted. He did things his own way, and that worked for him. The word “no” didn’t exist in Prince’s world. If you told him ‘no’, he’d move on and find somebody else who would give him a ‘yes’. The absolute worst thing you could say to him is “but everybody else does it this way.”

Prince knew exactly how talented he was, had supreme self-confidence, and saw no reason to settle for anything less than his vision. And you had to respect him for it. Nobody worked harder than Prince. He was a perpetual motion machine, exploding with creativity.”

3

✨🌞✨Alright tribe we’ve got a new proposition to make!! We were just offered an amazing opportunity to live at The Eternal Flame Sanctuary! Therefore, Our studio is now FOR RENT! $780+ utilities and $634 deposit. This studio has its own separate entrance from the main house and it’s own door to the backyard, separate bathroom/shower/sink from the main house. Perfect for a couple! 1.1 miles from beach off of Kawaihau Rd in Kapahi, Kauai. Avocado, tangerine, papaya and Pomelo trees in the backyard. Holllaaaa!!!
✨🌟✨

I quit the industry for three years after the sexism I experienced

I was repeatedly ignored by the men whose studios I was trying to rent and was asked straight up at one point if I was “a little small” for my job. I eventually came back to work equipment running in a rental house and studio space.

Just yesterday, in the house equipment room, where I do now actually count as a manger. One of my co-workers, admittedly 30 years my senior, makes the comment about having to put up “with my temper tantrums”, when he wasn’t even referring to me. He accidentally mistaken me for another woman that works in the equipment room. He does this once a day. 

Or the time I was running an elevator for a well connected client who had promised me a job the year before. While we were alone he said “Well, you’re cool. You have a sense of humor. If I was younger and not married, I’d ask you out!”

Or generally every time we get a new hire and I have to fight the fact that all of the women end up in reception first before they can “prove” they can handle the equipment. As of this week they finally started putting the new guys in reception. And we are, comparatively, the most progressive house in our area.

10

the birthplace of the first Osomatsukun anime series, Studio Zero

the amimation studio, Studio Zero was established by manga artists Fujiko Fujio, Shoutarou Ishinomori, Jiro Tsunoda, and Fujio Akatsuka in 1963.
in the building, there were also their own manga studios. they dissolved the animation studio in 1971, and the building was levelled in 2003.

Sonotakun(1976) by Jiro Tsunoda
his memory of friends in 1960s and Studio Zero.
his parents run a barbershop at the street in front of the building then, and they reccomended the vacant building to young artists looking for a suitable rental property for a studio.
later, Tsunoda and Akatsuka fought over an assistant.

Shinjyuku Manga Village (2000) by Kenichi Kitami
Kitami used be a one of the assistants of Akatsuka. at that time, he was involved in producing of Osomatsukun manga series there. Kitami is the most successful ex-assistant of Akatsuka, and keep producing manga series in his seventies.

the 50th anniversary of animation broadcasts in Japan - Astro Boy and Studio Zero (2013)
the exhibition was held to commemorate the dawning of Japanese TV anime series at the Suginami Animation Musiam.
Studio Zero produced an episode of Astro Boy (episode 34) instead of Osamu Tezuka’s Mushi Production. Astro Boy was the first TV amime series in Japan.

Fujio Akatsuka at Studio Zero (1960s)

I am a big supporter of #naturalhair Blogs & Businesses and the #naturalhair movement in general. I don’t believe its the only way a woman can wear her hair and be beautiful, but I do believe that it signifies a distinct change in the culture and the way that culture is portraying our black women. Even if only for commercial gain in some circles, its a beautiful thing overall.

What I DO NOT support, is the way that some of these blogs and businesses treat photographers and our works. I have noticed a disturbing trend of not giving photographers credit on images for blog posts and print media, cropping our logos of photographers. You’d be surprised how often it happens and how often our work is used for commercial gain without permission or payment. Its breezed over as “sharing” an image on the front end when technically what it is doing is marketing their brand and what they represent.

Posting an image on an Instagram of a business page without credit that you neither paid for nor gave credit on is theft, plain and simple. The only reason this isn’t enforced more is the fact that a whole generation of photographers in fact don’t know their rights in regards to commercial image usage. The blogs and businesses are thriving and the photographers are struggling to make ends meet. Its a tragedy on many fronts that gets overlooked because consumers just want to see more pretty pictures, they value seeing the work but have no concept on how to value the creation of the work because the companies don’t care.

I actually had a VERY well known and popular natural hair box company approach me about wanting to have me utilize an image for the cover of the “magazine” inside of their natural hair box that they send out to paying clients monthly. Now clients pay for this box kit monthly which makes it commercial image usage as they are using my image to promote or maintain their business dealings with a base of people whom pay for their services.  I gave them a very reasonable quote of $350 for commercial use of a full size image for a single time print usage under 5000 copies. They declined the offer and said that the cost was too high, that they were looking to trade my image for exposure of telling people who shot it. In other words they wanted to make money off the usage of my image and pay me the possibility of people seeing my name and utilizing my business… which doesn’t make any sense at all for a business. Even further investigation the “magazine” inside of their natural hair box doesn’t even include credit for the photographer who shot the image on the cover. You have to go to their social media to see that information… on a single post… so how much exposure are you thinking about

Some people, not familiar with photography may think that $350 dollars for a single image is unreasonable. For that crowd, lets break down how much this shoot cost.

STAFF

Makeup Artist (Half Day) $400

Hair Stylist (Half Day) $400

Wardrobe Stylist (Half Day) $400

Model (Half Day) $250

Photography Assistant (Half Day) $150

EQUIPMENT

Canon EOS 5D Mark 3 Camera $3500

Zeiss 85mm 1.2 Manual Focus Lens $1700

Canon 35mm 1.4L Autofocus Lens $1200

Manfrotto Tripod with Ball Head Mount $500

STUDIO

Studio Rental (Half Day) $500

Image Editing (Per Image) $50

So thats will over $9000 and not including my photography rate and various other variables. This particular company charges $20 a box for their clients and I personally know 300 people that purchase it, so lets JUST go with the people I know and double those numbers for the sake of a math breakdown. Thats $12000 of which $350 is about 2.9% not factoring into it parts, shipping, labor, staff, etc. The fact is, its a stupidly good deal. If you look on Getty Images or Istockphoto or any other image website, you’ll start to see the cost of commercially usable imagery is higher because its going to make companies MONEY so they have to pay money to get it

Good photography is so expensive because there are so many moving parts and so many people doing excellent work. We pay good people to do good work because they WILL do good work and that good work is shared with the good people that buy things based on the work. Hell, visuals across the world are the reasons WHY people buy things for the most part as marketing in his country is based on visual ads and selling techniques (excluding radio).

So to the blogs that crop these images and not give credit to us the photographers, its a complete slap in the face when you do this to us. Doing so allows people to enjoy your site at the cost of our effort and money and life energy and thats not a good trade for anyone involved. Often times we professional photographers understand that small business is built over time and try to support that by offering discounts and help and offering images that we shot for fun or whatever and simply don’t mind trying to see you grow… you just shouldn’t expect it. 

…And also please don’t take advantage of the naiveté of the younger and newer image capturers by offering them nothing but exposure just because they don’t know how much their vision and work is truly worth in a commercial circuit. We should WANT and DEMAND to see them grow and expand and expound by paying them to allow them to further expand their vision and become the image capturers of tomorrow.

Lets start being respectful of one another and in doing so, grow and expand together :)

Sincerely,

Andrew Thomas Clifton

Hmmmm…..this version has a slightly more believable ring to it. Sam alone in a grocery in NC. Looking at spots in NC for season 5. Parts of which could start filming next year, as from my understanding they are doing parts of seasons 3 and 4 simultaneously to save location costs.
If they are to film in the area for a many seasons- as seems likely since the Fraser’s Ridge is an ongoing location in the later books perhaps Sam is interested in finding a more permanent place to live whilst there then the studio rental flat he (and Cait) would be provided with. It is not at all uncommon for actors on long running series to purchase or lease homes in the area they are working in for so many months out of the year. I could see Sam (and Cait) opting for this sort of thing and they would certainly have the money enough to make it happen.

Being a photographer

Lately, I’ve been scouting some talents and people for an upcoming project that I’ll be doing. I have decided to collaborate with the usual people I work with, but also have considered to expand my horizons by getting other people for the said project. So I did and I asked my friends if they can refer good faces that I can work with. Fortunately enough, I have got a handful of fresh and promising faces.

My past projects have been a collaboration with talented people who rendered their services for free, in exchange that I give them a good digital copy of the photos I took. Of course, I gladly provided them that, after all, it’s what I do best.

For my upcoming project, there is a model who asked me if she can bring with her a stylist of her own. I said that it’s okay since we probably should get all of the help that we can get. An hour after, a friend of mine sent me a message coming from the said stylist, saying that I should pay the models and him, since I’m using their talents. And he sort-of implied that I somehow will exploit my models’ faces if I don’t compensate them financially.

I totally understand his situation, because I also ask for a good compensation when I get hired for projects by companies or even my relatives. But I just don’t get it why he has to imply that it’s not a win-win situation for everyone.

As a photographer, sometimes I pay for most of the things that my model needs for a certain photoshoot, like food, studio rentals and even a hair stylist and a make-up artist in some situations. Some people don’t realize this, that being a photographer is not something that we do for the sake of fun, because we take our craft seriously, just like any other person who renders their services in any industry.

I just don’t feel like having the urge to pay the said stylist because, I wasn’t the one who got him for the shoot in the first place, but the new model. And the new model wasn’t even really a model. She has a pretty face, and I get that, but don’t they realize, modesty aside, where a photographer’s photos can take them? It may open a lot of opportunities for everyone.

It’s not that I’m bragging about my talents, because I know that I’m not even good enough to be published in print, but what I’m trying to say is that, why do we, as photographers, have to provide everything, when you get your photos from us for free?

So for everyone who takes photographers for granted, please treat us well. You don’t know how much time and effort that we also put in every photoshoot that we do. It’s not just a click from the camera, but the nerve-wracking stage of developing a new concept and even the tiring hours of post-processing and providing only the best photos. Some people just don’t simply understand that.

I hope you got a thing or two from this.

stuff that’s happened in the past 3 days:

  • turned in 9pg essay on to the lighthouse and madame bovary (which didn’t turn out nearly as comprehensive as i’d planned, but at this point i’m just relieved to be done)
  • walked into a dance studio to inquire about studio rentals and they asked if i wanted to teach there as well???
  • so just spent 2 hours this morning compiling a rough portfolio of videos / pictures / articles of my stuff and sent that in with a resume
  • i dunno that was v odd and serendipitous in a way
  • got back the last 2 essays i wrote and am happily surprised by the scores/comments

(now i’m at the library and i am reviewing everything i have read this year in preparation for 3 final exams next week oh god oh god) 

also am seriously contemplating a gap year? i have found a couple internships for high school students on research + neuroscience, and i could put more hours in at my current job and also just spend a lot of time reading / learning all the stuff i’ve been meaning to read up on and learn. so many books. but i’m not sure yet. not sure about anything for anything ever