Podcast | Hot Set! – The On-Set Dresser (with Eric Luling & Mack Smith)

Eric Luling has been the On-Set Dresser for many big-name movies since 1998, including There Will Be Blood, Avengers, Gone Girl, and Lincoln. Eric shares what the role of an onset dresser entails, from being responsible for the continuity of the set from scene to scene to liaising with the decorator and production designer. He also addresses the common misconception that the onset dresser is not part of the costume department!

On this episode of My Creative Careers, Eric discusses the differences between his role and the responsibilities of the Props Department and where it sometimes overlaps. He gives us the lowdown on how he got into the film business (spoiler-show up and be persistent) and how he subsequently progressed in his career. Eric also gives his advice and insights to people interested in building a creative career in his area of the industry.

“You only give a director a yes or no question—because they have 500 people asking them questions, they have a second and they have to make a decision, and you make it really easy and binary for them.” – Adam Leipzig

“It’s really helpful for a lot of people out there … to know that living the way that you have lived actually helps you in a certain way on the set to gauge people and their reach.” – Tamika Lamison

“An object in a frame should help tell the narrative. If it doesn’t get rid of it.” – Eric Luling

Highlights This Week:

  • The different methods that Eric uses to approach the challenges of recreating a period setting or building a fantasy setting as an on-set dresser.
  • Why good people skills and effective communication strategies are essential for an on-set dresser.
  • How Eric establishes a good relationship with the director on set.
  • The craziest thing that Eric has ever had to find at the last minute to dress a set.
  • How Eric learned to be so good with people and why he likes to stand back and observe what’s going on in a film.
  • Eric gives his advice to an on-set dresser at the start of his career and describes what he is looking for when he’s dressing for frame.
  • Why Eric is always on top of continuity.


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