Film & TV Costume Design Student
Salt Lake City, Utah native Jill Sorensen is studying Film & TV Costume Design on the Los Angeles campus, and just finished working as an assistant costume designer on an AFI film!
Tell us a little about yourself: I'm 20 years old and moved from Salt Lake City, Utah to LA right after I graduated from high school just so I could go to FIDM. For me it has been the best decision I ever made. I have truly loved every minute of it and wouldn't trade what I have learned for ANYTHING.
What is one of your proudest accomplishments? Costuming my first film in January of this year. It was INCREDIBLE! I couldn't believe I had the opportunity at such a young stage in the costume industry. It was a lot of hard work and long hours, but it was more rewarding than stressful. There is nothing like the feeling I got when I saw my vision come to life in each shot.
Tell us about your experience working on Sabrina Doyle's AFI Film 113º: It was amazing. Officially I was the assistant costume designer and my classmate, Melissa Himawan, was the lead costume designer. I helped with prepping a few days before filming, and worked as a set costumer for a week during filming. The level of creativity and professionalism on this film was unsurpassable. The movie is set in space, in the future, while the space ship is breaking down. If that is not intense then I don't know what is. The costumes were fantastic and extremely well thought out. Most of the garments were hand-dyed by Melissa and adorned with custom-designed patches made by The Wizard. Everything looked so perfect and so cohesive with the set built by the production designer and her team. One of the most exciting parts of filming was the anti-gravity shots. It was fascinating to see what creative solutions the team came up with to make it appear as if the actress was floating. One day we even had a stunt woman do wirework around the outside of the spaceship. Overall, the fake snow, the space suits, the fake sweat, and long days were well worth it, as I got to be a part of an amazing piece of art and film.
Is there a costume designer whom you really admire? There are so many talented costume designers that I greatly admire but, ultimately, my favorite costume designer is the amazing Colleen Atwood. During junior high and high school, as I was discovering what I wanted to do "when I grew up," her designs made me realize that I was born to be a costume designer. Her passion and creativity in each garment is so inspiring. I love her attention to detail and how she tells the story of a character through clothing.
How did you hear about FIDM and what made you decide to go here?
I found the website early on and then, when a representative from FIDM came to my school, I realized I was serious about it. First and foremost, I loved the curriculum of the Fashion Design and Costume Design majors, and I got so excited just by reading the list of classes. I loved the fact that FIDM is in Southern California where it doesn't snow! It's also not too far from my home and family, and not too far from Disneyland. :)
How did you choose your major? This was tough! I knew I wanted to do Costume Design and deciding which major to do as a prerequisite was hard. I was so attracted (and still am) to the Visual Communications major and had my heart set on the "no sewing" part of it because sewing scared me to death. But I realized I shouldn't be afraid to challenge myself—after all, it is college we're talking about, not summer camp! And I have happily discovered sewing is an AWESOME and very handy skill to have. I chose to major in Fashion Design and couldn't be happier about it. Honestly, you have to trust yourself and your decision about which major to choose. I have met so many girls who question themselves and if you doubt yourself, chances are you won't reach your fullest potential. Whenever I doubt myself I pull out my drawings from high school and remember why I fell in love with design in the first place.
What's your favorite class at FIDM so far? All of the sketching classes. I have been drawing all my life, and it has been so fascinating to see how FIDM has taught me to combine my fine art skills with my design capabilities to create sketches that convey a clear and beautiful portfolio. The pattern drafting classes have also been so exciting to me because of the sheer simplicity of making a garment from a piece of paper and pencil.
What are your career goals and how is FIDM helping you get there?
My ultimate career goal is to be a costume designer and manage a team to carry out my ideas and vision for films. FIDM is guiding me there by helping me reach out and meet industry professionals, build my portfolio, and develop skills. Most of all, the most valuable aspect of the Costume Design program is FIDM's relationship with AFI and the incredible opportunities it has opened up to me.
What advice do you have for someone thinking about going to FIDM?
Be excited! This is your life, why not spend it doing something you love? Going to class, learning something new each week, and creating an outfit as homework is awesome. I think the biggest misconception of FIDM is that it is easy. Sorry to say, it is not. However, it is the most fun and exciting learning environment I have ever been in!
Does a career in costume design sound intriguing to you? Find out about FIDM's Film & TV Costume Design Program.