We caught up with Julie McCausland for our June edition of Ones to Watch.

Can you introduce yourself and your creative work/interests?

I'm originally from Belfast but currently working as a Costume Trainee on a feature film in London.

I think my goal of becoming a costume maker stems from my interest in history and the social context of clothing. You can read so much about a person from what they wear, whether it's in a portrait from the 17th century or on your morning commute. I find just as much inspiration in a gallery or museum as in a market or magazine.

What are you currently working on?

At the moment I'm working on a BBC feature film called 'Vs.' Which is being filmed on location in London and Southend. It's about a teenager in foster care who discovers his identity and reconnects with his birth family through Rap Battles. It's a massive deviation from the historical and fantasy productions I usually work on, but that's why I've enjoyed it so much! 'Vs.' Has taught me an entirely different approach to costuming!

The Costume Designer Grace Snell, has been so encouraging and a great teacher. She has this very natural way of designing and communicating with people that makes things just work. Because I've been onboard since the second week of prep, I've been able to see Grace's design process, first fittings and the more administrative side of how the department functions, which was an education in itself!

What are your future creative ambitions?

My long term goal is to become a principle costume maker for large budget productions. For a long time this felt somewhat unattainable, however, the Trainee Finder Scheme has opened some fantastic doors for me and I now feel that I can 100% achieve this. It's just up to me to put in the effort!

In the short term I would love to work under pattern cutters and costume makers on a variety of productions so that I can really hone and develop my skills. I'm currently at this weird limbo stage where I've learned all the basics and just need practice to perfect them. The only way to do this is to learn on the job. A production with a large making department such as a Warner Brothers, Disney or a Netflix Original would be perfect...so I'm setting my sights high!

What advice would you give people aspiring to work in a similar creative field?

I feel it's particularly important that any young people still in school do their research and learn not to be put off entering the creative industries by their career advisors or teachers who may not know of the support or training available to you. I followed some pretty poor advice against my better judgment before I started my A-levels, and it set me back by a few years. Figure out what path you want to go down and start focusing on learning the skills you require. Interested in costume? Go learn to sew! Interested in camera work? Start making short films! No one expects you to be a pro right away; what they want to see is a willingness to learn and a passion for the job. This is an industry that values a great portfolio over all else.

It's important to put yourself out there. Work experience is always the best way to network and learn. It's easy to say that you don't know how to do something and let that put you off. Be brave, be honest and get all the experience you can because it always leads to paid work in the future.

And finally, ALWAYS wear comfy shoes.

You can also find Julie McCauslandon on twitter and Linkedin


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