This section contains sample forms, below.

See the Guidelines for Produced Projects – Budgeting Process page on right, for a discussion of how to begin the budgeting process.

Costume Designers are much more linked to the budgeting process than many other areas of theatrical design.  Large projects and organizations hire Wardrobe Supervisors, Costume Directors or Project Directors to manage the budget.  On many projects, however, the costume designer will directly control the budget.  Why?  There are few constants in our area of expertise and choosing materials is a part of our design.

As a contrast, consider how this same process is often done in scenery.  A set is designed for a specific venue that does not change from show to show.  A designer may add or manipulate certain elements, but by and large the stage house does not change size.  Scenic sub structures are fairly constant– steel, wood.  The surface can be skinned, painted, carved, decorated.    Imagine if costumes were made this way– no matter what you designed, the dress would be built of muslin or spandex.  You would then choose an overlay to alter the appearance.

Excel Budget Form

Many designers create over time a budget blank they can pull into action for any show.  For the UCI shows, we suggest you use an Excel spreadsheet, the standard accounting software.  It is remarkably versatile for creating piece lists and scene charts as well.  IF you can create many forms on the same template, you will save many, many hours calculating and transposing information on a show.

IF you don’t know how to create formulas in Excel, I strongly recommend you do a few online tutorials to learn this skill.

Click to download a sample Sample Piece List Budget for Measure for Measure

This Excel form started as a Piece List early in the planning process.  Each character’s costume is broken into the actual pieces.  Additional columns were added to the right each time new information had to be considered, such as estimating the item would be rented, built or purchased.  As we researched our sources, I entered a cost per item in one budget column- regardless of source.  When I was ready to a total estimate, I used a Subtotal column for a per-costume estimate.  Additional Totals columns added up all the costumes per character and total show cost estimate.   When financial decisions had to made, I could easily see at a glance who my most expensive characters were, and what the most expensive costumes were.

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