A few weeks ago I was asked if I could make a costume for a skit that was to be a key part of a showbiz roast for Frank Marino in Las Vegas. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE to design/make costumes and I LOVE to make money, so anytime I can do the two things at once, I’m one happy camper! But I turned this one down. It was SOOO out of my comfort zone. It was to be a large, and I do mean large, tiger costume, Montecore of Seigfried and Roy fame to be exact, with certain elements of puppetry. I don’t do animals. I do glamor, glitz, beautiful elegant and classy costumers. I haven’t ever worked with foam, never wielded a knife in the cause of a costume, seldom use a glue gun, am not particularly “crafty”, and know absolutely nothing about how to make the apendages of said animal move.
I thought that was that, but the producer could not find anyone else to do the costume and offered me double what I would have asked, so I weakened and said yes!
The cool thing about being out of your comfort zone is that you are forced to expand your capabilities and do things you thought you had no aptitude for. This was NOT an easy job. The animal has to be big, almost as long as I am tall (5’8”!), and somewhat life like. The legs have to move. It can’t topple over. So off I went to the fabric store and bought lots of fake fur. OMG this is the first time I have worked with fake fur.... it is all over my workroom, in the carpet, in my eyes, certainly up my nose. I had to vacuum every day after working, and I’m still finding fur tufts everywhere.
Thankfully, my husband is very resourceful (and a good sport!) and helped me immensely by building a skeleton of bits and pieces of things we had in our garage and at our neighborhood Lowes. Then I bought foam and started to figure out how to create the shape of this animal. First fitting did not go well. The producer thought it too small. Back to square one. More fur needed. More vacuuming needed. More patience with myself needed.
Second fittng went pretty well, though the mechanics still weren’t working. Back to Lowes for more supplies.
But in the end, I was amazed that I was able to pull it off! It’s not a glamorous gown, like I enjoy doing, nor is it on the level of a Lion King or War Horse puppet. But it got huge laughs at the event when it appeared and now it’s all over Twitter!
I’m so glad I wasn’t comfortable for a few weeks - such a sense of accomplishment when it all ends well!