When to take the leap from assisting to going off on your own as a wardrobe and prop stylist.

11 Jan

In continuing our talk about the transition from photo assisting to a leading role on photo crew, the next topic I would like to discuss is timing.  When are you ready?

What makes it tough about knowing when to go off on your own is that no two jobs are the same and you’re always learning new things even as the head wardrobe stylist .  You’re never going to know absolutely everything, and you shouldn’t assist until you think you do.  I wish someone told me after assisting for 5 years that the quickest way to learn is to be the one who has the most to lose.  You’re in a different mindset when you’re the one held accountable.  I can equate this to traveling on your own to traveling with someone.  When you’re by yourself, you’re the one looking at the map the entire time.  It’s on you to find your destination.  I’m not saying to go off on your own after assisting on 5 jobs and pray that it will work out.  That’s ludicrous and dangerous because people will remember you as being green and won’t hire you for a couple of years.  In my opinion and speaking from personal experience, it’s best to go off on your own when you start thinking to yourself after working for at least a year, “I would have done it this way.”  Basically, when you have enough experience to determine on a majority of the jobs how you would execute the job, not the stylist you’re working for, then it is time to spread your wings and fly.  Every wardrobe stylist does things a little differently and it’s best to learn your own styling methods while you’re still assisting.

Now here’s the kicker…  Learning the skill of how to be a great wardrobe stylist is the easy part.  Finding the work and making it consistent is what breaks you apart and makes you a success. This brings me to my next topic, “How do you get work as a wardrobe and prop stylist?”

Life After Assisting Seminar will be held January 22, 2010 at Columbia College, Studio East, 3rd Floor 1006 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL

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