‘Hollywood’ to the Rest of Us

Posted on June 27, 2012

Anna Leah Seltzer describes the dirty world of costume design on some of the world’s biggest movies.

People like to call my industry, “the industry” or “the business”. I’m sure it’s rooted somewhere in the annals of American colloquialism, but I’m embarrassed by it all the same. In fact, I find more often than not, I don’t want to talk about my job at all. It’s not all the Non-disclosure agreements I sign, the hush-hush attitudes of my superiors, or the paranoia of the studios I worry about so much as people’s perceptions of “the industry”; Hollywood is a weird place. When my friends refer to my job as being “in Hollywood” my skin crawls. Right now I’m working on the Sony Pictures lot (formerly MGM), which is located in Culver City, damn it! In fact, I’ve never worked in Hollywood Proper. Where I grew up in Los Angeles, Hollywood is a neighbourhood. To the rest of the world, it is synonymous with American cinema and filmmaking. The glittering tendrils of “Hollywood” reach so far, that I can’t show up at a family function or mingle at a party without somebody inevitably asking something incredibly silly, like which star have I met lately. All of them, ok? I work in the fucking Costume department, let’s talk about something more stimulating!


Photography: Ben Callahan

To read more about Anna’s experience working as a costume designer in ‘Hollywood’, click here to read Overcoat Issue Two: Work.

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