If you work in the film industry in the US it's possible that you've never heard the title of 'Costume Set Supervisor,' that's because it only exists in Canada. The work Climie single-handedly takes on during any given production in Canada is actually spread out between several people when it comes to a production in the US.
To provide a brief insight into the plethora of tasks she takes on, when she's on set Climie is the eyes and ears of the costume designer ensuring that their vision is accurately embodied on each character; and then there's continuity, which she maintains from scene to scene by keeping notes, taking photos and creating scene-to-scene descriptions of the way costumes looked before, during and after a scene is shot. On top of that, she helps coordinate scheduling and the workforce needs of the department while also predicting possible challenges that could arise during a shoot, while also discussing with other departments important aspects of costume specific effects, like bullet holes, blood and ways to keep the costume looking perfect during a stunt.
Climie has been working in the industry for over 25 years and while she has definitely worked with the absolute best in the business from A-List actors like Tom Cruise, Edward Norton, Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper to directors like Michael Mann, Joseph Kosinski, Brad Bird and Joe Carnaghan, when it comes to her specific role, she is the best in the business.
In 2006 she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for her work alongside Bob Mackie and Christopher Hargadon on the comedy film Once Upon a Mattress starring five-time Golden Globe winner Carol Burnett, Zoey Deschanel, and Golden Globe winner Tracy Ulman.
Although though Climie doesn't get star struck often, if ever, working on Once Upon a Mattress was a unique experience for her.
She recalls, "I was introduced and walked through all of Carol’s costumes by the infamous American Designer Bob Mackie on the day they arrived. This for me was beyond a dream, for any costumer just meeting Bob Mackie would be a lifetime achievement!"
While the costume designer is the artist who sketches up and creates the dazzling costumes we see on screen, Climie ensures that the designer’s look stays true while working practically on the actor during filming.
Her job becomes understandably more demanding when working on action-packed productions, and she's done quite a few. Some of those include the films The Bourne Legacy, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Tron: Legacy, Recoil, The A-Team, Miami Vice, The Chronicles of Riddick, Blade: Trinity, Love and Treason, and In Cold Blood, as well as the series Secret Agent Man, Da Vinci's Inquest, and Jeremiah.
Climie admits that she has a deep passion for fake blood, in fact, she even teaches a course called "Blood for Film and Television" at the Capilano University in Vancouver.
"I truly love working on projects where I get to make a mess! I love shows with lots of blood. I teach classes in film blood, and I volunteer at museum film related events to show kids all about film blood, so it is definitely a passion of mine. But really, if I get to use my creative skills with breakdown, time-wear, dirt and blood, these projects add that extra dimension of deeper creativity to the intellectual challenges of planning and logistics, and tracking continuity," explains Climie.
When considering a production like the Disney musical film Descendents, which was released this summer, where Climie and her crew had to dress 8 to 12 principal cast members plus 30 principal dancers each day, it's pretty easy to see that she is always on the run once filming begins.
Beyond the integral aspect of maintaining the look of the actors' costumes however, she has to make the safety and health of the actors in costume a main priority. And, we don't have to look to far into Climie's resume to put this in perspective. During the opening snow sequence in the film The Bourne Legacy, which was shot in Kananaskis, Alberta, actor Jeremy Renner was dropped off from a helicopter onto the tops of mountains, had to climb over frozen rocks and glaciers, and swim in a river below a waterfall that was almost frozen.
Climie admits, "The cold and snow are always hard to work in. Dealing with the correct layering to combat the extreme weather conditions and still maintain a costume that looks great on camera can be a challenge for all those involved, especially the cast. All of these locations were a challenge in keeping the actor warm and safe during the shoot."
In the end, the production went off without a hitch and the film went on to garner an impressive $276,144,750 worldwide at the box office.
Whether she's working on a production full of intricate costumes, challenging stunts, special effects and safety concerns, or period pieces where the costumes need to authentically represent the period in order to seamlessly transport viewers and the cast back in time, the effort and excellence Dawn Climie applies to her work are founded on one goal; seeing the costumes designer’s vision come to life.
Viewers can look forward to seeing Climie's work on Jon Cassar's dramatic western Forsaken, which stars Demi Moore, and Kiefer and Donald Sutherland, and is slated to hit theatres in February 2016, as well as the new Amazon original TV series The Man in the High Castle, which will officially premiere on November 20.