Once I was a freshman, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, ready for any challenge that could arise. Now I’m a second year, still ready for any challenge, but with some pro tips in my wheelhouse. Lucky you, you get to find out all the secrets, even if you don’t want to be props and costumes.
Tip number 1: Don’t sweat the small stuff. This is perhaps the most important tip I have learned from being a costumes and props manager. You have to make many decisions about keeping things, organizing things, and keeping your volunteers in line. There are many things to keep track of, so if you run into a small hiccup, don’t panic.
Tip number 2: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Costumes and Props manager is a demanding position. I didn’t do it alone and that was what made all the difference. If I hadn’t had my co-manager helping me out, who knows where I’d be. Ask for help. Players is about supporting each other, people won’t mind helping you.
Tip number 3: The director is your best friend. Get to know the directors of shows. If you can glean their vision telepathically, great, if not, you’ll need to be able to discuss things with them and make sure you get your points across. It’s important to be on the same page.
Tip number 4: Delegate. Sometimes you have to create things. This year alone, we needed a moose puppet and a fully functioning hand puppet. That is not exactly something you can afford on an average budget, so it is off to the DIY section So You Want to Run Costumes and Props Home Depot. No creative talent? Well, lucky for you there is a club full of people with many talents. Pick one of them and ask if they will help you out. It is the best way to get others involved and to keep yourself from ripping your hair out trying to make something last minute.
Tip number 5: Be flexible. Sometimes props get broken. Sometimes people forget to return things. Sometimes people don’t show up to help. You have to be able to adapt. It is easier than it sounds, I promise you. Don’t be afraid to compromise. Things will always work out. In a nutshell, that is the bare bones survival guide to costumes and props. It sounds scary and intimidating and downright torturous, but it’s also rewarding and completely unique. Give it a shot. You would be surprised at how well it can turn out for you, I know I was.
Leslie Bowen Leslie is a second year electrical engineering major at RIT. With the RIT Players she has acted, been the assistant to the artistic director, and props and costumes manager. Next year she will serve on the RIT Players Eboard as the programming officer.