Name: Michelle Liu aka Micki Liu
Campus: Los Angeles
Hometown: Beijing, China
Current Employer: Bandersnatch Productions
Job title: Motion Capture Key Costumer for Alice in Wonderland directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway.
What do you love about Costume Design? The ability to use talent to create characters with the right costumes rather than just dressing actors with trendy, high-end boutique clothes.
How did you hear about FIDM and why did you choose to attend? I was taking a sewing class for fun and my teacher, who was also an instructor at FIDM, invited me to a lecture. As soon as I walked into the lobby of FIDM I could sense the feeling of creativity and knew that this was where i could acquire the knowledge and develop the skills to achieve my dream.
How did you choose your majors? As a child I had an interest in fashion, however, my family members were not involved in creative fields. I had never taken art classes in China and had no experience in drawing, but after attending that seminar at FIDM, I decided to pursue my dream. After completing the Fashion Design Program, I worked for several companies, including Forever 21. My former instructor suggested that I should consider applying for the Film & TV Costume Design Advanced Program. I was accepted and received a FIDM Merit Scholarship.
What has been your greatest accomplishment so far? Following my dream and doing what I love. Also, seeing my name and another classmate Jessica DiMartino's name in Apparel News when our designs from the Program were showcased at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in 2005.
What's your biggest dream right now? Getting into the Designer's Guild. When I reach a level of recognition I can officially thank all of the people who encouraged, inspired, and helped me to accomplish my dream.
What was your favorite thing about going to FIDM? Professional instructors teaching in a modern environment and knowing that I could develop my potential at a school with a great reputation in the industry.
What would you tell a FIDM student who wants to do what you do? Be prepared to work long hours since costumers are often the first on set and the last to leave. You will need a lot of self discipline, be a team player, and work hard to succeed. The involvement in creating characters and assisting the directors to achieve their vision is the reward you will receive when you are passionate and put your heart into your profession.
What can we expect with Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland? Tim Burton (shown below) is a very talented director with a great personality and a joy to work with. He used amazing and advanced Motion Capture technology on this film. The Costume Designer, Colleen Atwood, created fabulous period costumes. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen.
What about Avatar, the 3-D film you worked on with James Cameron? It was an amazing experience to work with James Cameron. This film was like his baby and he was very hands-on and wanted to make everything perfect. There were no compromises and he would do whatever it takes. He worked long hours like the rest of us and I once told him I admired his vision, perfection, and energy.
Did you imagine you'd be working with two of the biggest directors on earth? As a first generation immigrant I never imagined that the door would open for me in the entertainment industry. I have been blessed to have the opportunities to work with such great directors as Steven Spielberg on Tintin, James Cameron on Avatar, and Tim Burton on Alice In Wonderland.
How has FIDM played a role in your success? It was Ms. Sultanian’s phone call, my instructors Mary Kay Stolz, Susan Nininger, and Joanna Dendel, and other professionals from the industry who gave me the ambition and knowledge needed to fulfill my dream. I simply can not thank them enough, and also the staff at FIDM for their help and support. -- Victoria