For a project as small as iSpy the idea of going to town on costumes is a bit much -- since I can easily 'shop' out of the closets of my talented teens and find clothes that fit perfect, right?  Sure, we did go to town with Olivia -- literally Downtown Los Angeles to be exact -- but certainly my female lead Tatsumi has the type of 'costume' I'm looking for?

Well, not exactly.  You see both of my female actresses are playing against type.  Olivia is smart and focused but playing confused and distracted.  And Tatsumi?  She's doing the sassy/edgy thing where in reality she's simply a delightful professional actress person.  Even her NYC roots have not turned her dark and cynical like her Breakfast Club cousin --
So the question became how to bring Tatsumi over to Ally Sheedy -- or beyond -- while keeping her character fresh and retaining some hint of her real personality?  That is -- how to keep some of the sweet while adding dashes of scary?

One a scale from 1 to 10 -- 1 being sweet and 10 being scary -- I felt 'sassy' came in around a 4.  By the red arrow.
Normally this elaborate a plan isn't necessary -- but it provided me a way to exchange ideas with the actress who happens to live 2800 miles from the production company.  A palette of puzzle pieces to move around and discover the best look. 
I must admit this character was turning out to be a bit of a challenge.  An on-the-nose visit to Hot Topic just wouldn't do.

Last weekend my wife and I had a bit of luck.  Visiting Santa Monica we discovered a store called Desigual.  Not a store aimed at either of us but a store so full of color and life we had to dip in and take a peek.  Within moments I suspected a central costume piece was awaiting Tatsumi.  Something dark with a touch of color (sassy) yet feminine and fun (Tatsumi).

This is what my wife and I found --
Black?  Blood red accents?  Scribbled text?  Edgy.   But then there's a daisy, isn't there?  A heart of sequins.  Words like 'love' scribbled here and there.   No skulls and daggers that have plagued trendy young clothing for too long.

Luckily three locations of this store exist in NYC, and so off Tatsumi goes for a fitting.  If her size needs adjusting, my garment industry patternmaking wife will adjust the duplicate we have -- and we'll have the foundation of our sassy outfit. 

This shirt gave birth to this costume design mockup --
By mockup -- the only part of this image that is actually Tatsumi is her head and hair.  I superimposed darker lipstick, added a hat, and red capri pants.  And a gold bug.  (Don't ask.)  Since the story will be set in late California summer, some form of shorts are needed.  Neon red picks up the red on the shirt and delivers the one-two punch of black and red. 

The thing is... Tatsumi doesn't own red shorts.  A month ago it would have been a breeze to purchase a pair of red shorts anywhere in any mall, but we're in late September.   Panic sets in.  Where to find any red shorts in her size?  But then --

-- remember when I said my wife is a garment industry patternmaker?  Ahem.  There are simply red pants everywhere right now.  My wife can turn any of them into shorts in the blink of an eye.

These are the silly fun things that happen behind the scenes of a tiny little film.   So that's another sneak peek into the pre-production world of my first short film.  Oh --

-- and please say HELLO to Tatsumi Romano of NYC and IMDB, lead actress of the forthcoming iSpy.

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