To me, a measure of a person should not be taken by their mistakes, but by the effort and success of their recovery from mistakes. With that in mind, I shall tell you about the wardrobe mishap.
It was evening on the third day of filming. We had been at it for 7 hours and it was time for me to leave to do Pono’s (my cat) insulin. So I was not there to see the wardrobe of the character Chris Coxon.
The following day, I reviewed the takes from the previous night and became upset. Coxon is a character who prides himself on his attire and prefers to wear jacket and tie. He isn’t in the least sloppy. Despite this being clear throughout the script and in all discussion about wardrobe and everything else, Coxon was dressed in a shirt that was several sizes too large. You could put your entire hand between his neck and shirt collar. There were apologies all around, but that didn’t change the takes. I wanted the scene reshot.
Angel talked me out of a re-shoot. He pointed out that the entire schedule would slip dramatically and that we would mess up the logistics for all the locations. It was a convincing argument; we could not mess up production for a single wardrobe error.
While I accepted that we had to live with the wardrobe glitch, I wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again, so I called our wardrobe director. She explained that we were using the actor’s own shirts to save money. Here we were again at a money problem that would continually recur: either spend more and get it right, or keep the budget lower and accept quality reduction. In this case, I opted to spend.
Our wardrobe director recovered well once she had the authority and money to do it right. She went out and purchased some shirts, ties, and jackets that would look appropriate and fit properly.
But the wardrobe problems were not confined to ill-fitting shirts. Later, when I reviewed the takes of the film for the edit, there were problems that resulted in editing decisions that I would not otherwise have made. Two stick out in my mind.
There was a scene where the two lead detectives walk down a hallway talking about relationships. The lighting was magnificent and the architecture of the hallway had great production value. And the cinematographer did a great job of starting the scene with their feet, then working up their bodies as they walked. The problem was that Coxon’s pants were about 4 inches too long, bunched up at his ankles, looking ridiculous. I don’t think anyone anticipated that the shot would include their feet and thus they didn’t think about the pants. I had to cut the scene.
Another example was the costume and makeup of the Woman in Black. On this, there was a total miscommunication by me with the staff. I wanted her to be in a ski mask because this character would be trying to keep her hair from leaving forensic evidence. When I said that her attire must include a ski mask, I never envisioned her being made up with heavy black makeup, looking like a raccoon. But when I saw the takes the next day, there she was in in a hoodie that made her look like a Darth-Vader wannabee and ridiculously black eyes. It was one of the several reasons that the scene is almost non-existent in the film. Only parts required for the integrity of the story were left in, and with cuts that minimize the view of the Woman in Black.