The Cut of the Cloth

Since 1937, members of Motion Picture Costumers, IATSE Local 705 have been an important part of the creative team that evoke emotions and transport audiences to exotic places and times — past or future — through the visual influence of costumes. Worn by the biggest stars in Hollywood and the background players in crowd scenes since the earliest days of motion pictures, costumes have helped set the mood, reveal the character and tell the story that inspires the public’s movie-going experience. Whether they are period or modern costumes, they are an integral part of the filmmaker’s vision and vital in stirring the imagination and influencing the audiences’ interpretation of the character through the costumes.

Now more that 1,800 strong, MPC 705 members take pride in the skills they contribute to live and filmed television shows, feature films and commercials.Costumers work on location shoots, movie studios, studio costume departments, costume rental houses and made-to-order costume houses. Together they form the Motion Picture Costumers and are affiliated with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, AFL-CIO.

IATSE Local 705 supports its members in many different ways. Its primary function is to represent members in the collective bargaining process and to enforce its collective bargaining agreements. Through education and training programs, MPC 705 provides opportunities for its members to enhance their skills. MPC 705 also provides opportunities for its members to promote their skills and network for new contacts at union-sponsored job-marketing events.

MPC 705 Costumers possess a variety of specialty skills and are classified into six membership groups, each specific to a particular aspect of costuming.

They are:

• Men’s Finished Costumes — responsible for working with men’s costumes.

• Women’s Finished Costumes — responsible for working with women’s costumes.

• Men’s Custom-Made — responsible for the manufacture and alteration of men’s costumes.

• Women’s Custom-Made — responsible for the manufacture and alteration of women’s costumes.

• Costume House Employees — works primarily in the business of renting and manufacturing costumes.

• Live Television Costumers — responsible for costumes used in live broadcast programming.

Finished Costumers are hired to perform “on production” responsibilities and work with the finished costume. Depending on the production’s needs, costumers may set or coordinate the look of a show/commercial or work with a costume designer to facilitate production needs. The costumer’s primary responsibility is to acquire and maintain costumes worn by principal and background artists. Other duties include the management, supervision, handling and general operation of the costume department as assigned to specific personnel.

Custom-Made members are the personnel that supervise the manufacturing department, make and cut the patterns and fabrications, provide men’s and women’s tailoring, make and develop millinery, trim, stitch, alter and finish the costumes before going in front of the camera. Other craftspersons include textile artists, dyers, fabric distressers, beaders/embroiderers, specialty costume manufacturers and leather artisans.

Live Television Costumers are the personnel that create or set the look and are responsible for the costumes designed, constructed and/or procured for soap operas, talk shows, and game shows. Other responsibilities include the general operation and assignment of specific costume related duties, such as script breakdown, budgeting, purchasing, manufacturing/alterations and costume continuity.

Costume House Employees work in Costume Houses, which rent and manufacture costumes and sell costume-related supplies and equipment. Whether facilitating costume rentals or made-to order services, costume house members are required to possess a knowledge of different period and ethnic costumes that a production may require.

With a skill set this varied, it is easy to see how a filmmaker’s wildest vision can be realized.

What Local 705 Offers Its Members

Protected in Solidarity Local 705 membership means guaranteed wage scales. It means guaranteed hours of employment, safe working conditions, health and pension benefits and much, much more. And if you have problems on the job, MPC 705 will be there to guide you through the tough times. While non-union costumers are left unprotected and vulnerable to exploitation, MPC membership makes you a secure part of a proud and powerful brotherhood of fellow costumers.

Pride in Craftsmanship

A career as a costumer can be an exciting and rewarding one. Our members share a great sense of pride in their work and in being part of the creative team of a film crew. To be able to have a real affect on the artistic outcome of a movie is rewarding far beyond the paycheck. And just imagine the joy of seeing your work on screen. It’s much more than a job, it’s a creative career.

Reaching Out

As a responsible labor union, we’re not only concerned with our own interests. We believe in dedicating our resources to help support working families in our communities. 705’s Executive Board and committees work together to determine the best way to help those in need. We’re passionately involved in community outreach programs and generously support charities like the United Way, the MPC 705 scholarship program, the Motion Picture and Television Fund, the Actor’s Fund and more.

Make Your Voice Heard

As an active and effective labor union, it is vital to establish close ties with our elected officials. To do this, we partner with other unions and Hollywood IATSE Locals to help elect the kinds of political candidates who reflect our values, those who are pro working families and sympathetic to labor, the needs of our members and the film industry as a whole.

What It Takes To Join Local 705

There are four different avenues to join MPC 705, each requiring 30 days of employment with a company that is currently or will become a union signatory company.

1. Following 30 days of employment as a costumer with a non-union production company that becomes a signatory union company, an employee will be placed on the Industry Experience Roster and later notified that they are eligible to apply for membership to MPC 705.

2. Following 30 days of employment as a costumer on commercial productions, an employee will be placed on the Commercial Roster and later notified that they are eligible to apply for membership to MPC 705. Additional days of employment on commercial production are necessary in order to be eligible for placement on the Industry Experience Roster.

3. Following 30 days of employment as a costumer at a signatory (union) costume house, an employee will be placed on the Industry Experience Roster and notified that they are eligible to apply for membership to MPC 705.

4. Following 30 days of employment as a costumer in live television broadcast, such as soap operas and game shows, an employee will be eligible to apply for membership. However, live television (daytime) broadcast employees are represented by specific contracts separate and apart from motion picture and television (primetime) contracts, therefore Live Television Costumers are not currently eligible for placement on the Industry Experience Roster.