Thursday, August 20, 2015

Karin Gleason's #GACrewCall: Costume Designer Mimi Melgaard [20150820]

*This logo belongs to ABC's Grey's Anatomy
*I am not a professional writer and do not work for ABC, Grey's Anatomy, or anyone involved with this amazing show. (one day-fingers crossed*)

Mimi Melgaard- Costume Designer
*Content written below is based on what was said directly from the periscope session in a mix of my words and hers.

Mimi is the costume designer for the ABC drama series Grey's Anatomy. According to the periscope session she has been working on Grey's Anatomy since the middle of episode 17 of season 2 aka "the bomb in the chest episode (2.17-As We Know It)." Her job as the costume designer is to read the script and figure out what the characters need, where the characters are going, and who the character is. The vision for the character depends on where Shonda Rhimes (show creator/executive producer) wants it to go. She then has 7 days to fit, alter, and then get it on screen.

How did you come to be a costume designer?
Melgaard states how she has always loved fashion, always loved clothes, and always loved how the clothes can help tell the story. Even when she was in school she knew that she wanted to be a costume designer. She has had jobs in theater, commercials, film (movies), and television. She does favor the pace of TV since she has so much energy to dedicate to it. Working on a film (movie) is slower because there is more time to pick out outfits for the characters. For example, when filming wedding scenes in TV despite how big the wedding may be she still has about 7 days to pick outfits for the bride and groom, as well as the outfits for all the guests that will be in the scenes.

What are some skills that are needed to be a Costume Designer?
It is very important to be super organized, have a really good work ethic, and you have to be good with managing a lot of different personalities. "Every artist has a different way of communicating." You also need to know where to get the research for whatever project that you are working on. For example, you need to know what people look like or do during the setting of the project whether it be a Western, a period piece (civil war, renaissance, etc.) or a present day project at the Mall of America in Minnesota.

How do you choose different types of outfits for the various cast members?
A wardrobe meeting is had to discuss the characters. In the meeting Melgaard discusses what she will need, and character details like where the character is coming from, who they are, what kind of person they are. The "wardrobe is an extension of the character." What the character does in the scene makes a difference to what she will need, for example if the scene has a vomiting or bloody component she will need more of the same outfit then usual since it will require multiple takes.

Best thing about your job?
"Coming to work [at Grey's Anatomy]." She states that even after almost 12 years of working on the show she can't wait to read the scripts to know what is going to happen next with the characters. To have so much excitement after so many years is a rare thing.

Any advice for those trying to work in your same profession?
The film business takes a special kind of person. You have to work really hard and be committed and open to hearing other people's points of view. You have to be committed to your own but listen to others. Melgaard states that you should take every job that you can, work for free if you have to or 1/2 price until you get to the point where you can charge full price. "Keep plugging along and eventually people will start hiring you"

Are you in charge of choosing the scrub caps for the show?
She is in charge of choosing the scrub caps. Melgaard chooses the fabric and then works with the actor and Shonda [Rhimes] to choose which one is the best for each character. The scrub caps are an extension of the character as well as all of the outfits, it's a part of the storytelling.

*I do not own this photo
For those that asked the costume designer does keep the clothes from past seasons. They are kept in storage just in cases they are needed for a flashback in a future episode.

**Below is a video of an interview Mimi Melgaard did with the Curvy Cutie Gavin Pickens last year that showcases some beautiful dresses she picked out for past episodes.(

Thanks again to Karin Gleason and Mimi Melgaard for their time today. Feel free to follow Karin Gleason on twitter at @karingleason for updates on future #GACrewCall sessions on periscope. You can also follow the talented Mimi Melgaard at @MimiMelgaard or you can follow my random rants at @TheAmandaAponte! Feel free to leave comments below.

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