Last Friday night I worked a relatively low-budget feature centering on gang warfare in LosAngeles. But, I wasn't a gang-banger: I was a cop. And after you get cast as a cop after, say, a dozen times or so, you get used to all the paraphernalia: ill-fitting (meaning tight) uniforms, utility belts that leave bruises on your hips, and long waits at the prop truck to get fitted out, or de-proped.
On gigs with larger budgets, the wardrobe rack is usually chock-full of different sized uniforms in case someone can't work their way into their slacks. But on this shoot, it was "one uniform" per cop, and our sizes had been provided to wardrobe by the casting director.
Still, that didn't matter too much. I got stuck in the back of the line, and by the time was given my costume, someone else had come running back from the changing truck whining about his pants not fitting properly. (Actually, cop pants always fit very tight, so if you're even close to an inch off your measurements on file, it ain't gonna happen.) Consequently, they had given my size away to him.
So wardrobe said, "I have one pair which is a few inches too tight for you, and one which is a few inches too wide." Guess which one I could actually fit in? It was all I could do to keep the damn things from falling down all night, after I had clipped on a fully-loaded utility belt with a few stays. On top of that, they had a shirt with a neck size a half-inch smaller than mine, so I had a ill-fitting tight shirt, plus a pair of draggy cop pants.
How did they hide this uniform faux pas? They opted to make me wear a jacket.
So if you've ever wondered why some of those cops running around on screen look a bit "less than professional," as wardrobe.
Next time I'll answer the question I get asked repeatedly, "What do you do in holding for all those hours?"