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Victorian talks about designing costumes for movies (w/video)

By JR Ortega
April 29, 2014 at 11:02 p.m.
Updated April 29, 2014 at 11:30 p.m.

Costume designer for films and TV series Mike Boyd prefers to live in Victoria, avoiding the trappings of life in Hollywood. Boyd, a former teacher at St. Joseph High School, has always shared a passion for historical re-enactments and period costumes.

Boyd's work at a glance*

• "Heaven Is for Real" - 2014

•  "The Sixth Gun" - 2013

• "Firelight" - 2012

• "Game of Your Life" - 2011

• "November Christmas" - 2010

• "Secretariat" - 2010

• "Sex and Lies in Sin City" - 2008

• "Adventures in Appletown" - 2008

•  "The Company" - 2007

•  "Surface" - 2005-2006

• "Dancing in Twilight" - 2005

• "Into the West" - 2005

• "3: The Dale Earnhardt Story"- 2004

• "Dead Birds" - 2004

• "Monte Walsh" - 2003

• "We Were Soldiers" - 2002

• "Manassas: End of Innocence" - 2002

• "For All Time" - 2000

• "Sally Hemings: An American Scandal " - 2000

• "The Soul Collector" - 1999

• "The Hunley" - 1999

• "The Faculty" - 1998

• "The Day Lincoln Was Shot" - 1998

• "Buffalo Soldiers" - 1997

• "Rough Riders" - 1997

• "McHale's Navy" - 1997

• "What Love Sees" - 1996

• "Heaven Help Us" - 1994

• "In the Army Now" - 1994

• "Chasers" - 1994

• "SeaQuest 2032" - 1993

• "Gettysburg" - 1993

• "Class of '61" - 1993

• "Ned Blessing: The True Story of My Life" - 1992

• "Alamo: The Price of Freedom" - 1988

SOURCE: IMDB.com

*Filmography a mix of movies and television series

When Michael Boyd sits down to watch a show or a movie, his eye may see what others may not see.

He hones in on what the characters are wearing - does the outfit match the tone, or does it miss the mark completely?

Boyd can't help it: he's a costume designer. His most recent work was featured in "Heaven is for Real," which premiered in theaters April 16.

But it is Boyd's work throughout the past four decades that have led to the success he continues seeing today.

"It's just a lot of opportunities that were given to me," said Boyd from his Victoria home. "The good news for me is that I realized the opportunities, and I was able to go with them and seize the moment."

"Heaven is for Real" is a film about a boy who has a near-death experience and talks about how he went to heaven and came back. Boyd spent June through August 2013 working on a tight deadline with other costumers to get the film ready for production.

However, Boyd's previous most notable work was featured in films like "Secretariat," "We Were Soldiers" and "The Faculty."

He also won an Emmy for his costume design in "Son of the Morning Star."

Since the late '70s and '80s, Boyd has had an interest in costuming, particularly period pieces. He worked a lot with Crossroads of Texas Living History Association, a group he said helped him get his start.

With the association, he was able to work on the re-enactment of the battle at Presidio La Bahia.

From there, he said, the doors began to open, especially in the early '90s with the movie "Gettysburg" and the television series "SeaQuest 2032."

Ted Wise, a St. Joseph High School art teacher, met Boyd in the late '80s, and the two learned more about one another because of their work at the high school and their involvement in the Victoria barbershop quartet.

"He really has a passion for history, and he was a very passionate teacher," Wise said.

Wise recalls Boyd's booming voice down the hall and all the interactive, hands-on work he did with the students. At the time, Boyd wore multiple hats, teaching history, theater arts and music.

Boyd made the decision to leave his life as a teacher to pursue his dream of designing costumes for Hollywood.

"It is kind of scary to go from being a schoolteacher, where you're settled in what you're doing, to doing this," Boyd said.

Boyd's success is no surprise, Wise said.

Some of that success even spilled over several years ago, as Boyd managed to get the barbershop quartet five seconds of fame in "Adventures in Appletown," a film that went straight to DVD starring twins Dylan and Cole Sprouse.

"I've seen just about all the movies Mike has done. I'm very impressed," Wise said. "He wants to be authentic. If it's not authentic, he's not happy with it."

Boyd said he owes a lot of his bigger-film opportunities to writer and director Randy Wallace, who he's worked closely with for three films. Wallace has written scripts for films like "Braveheart" and "Pearl Harbor."

As for the future, Boyd has several prospects; he is in the running to work on at least two other films.

"Life is that way; you have to dive in sometimes," he said. "(I want to) just keep working and work on great projects. I'm proud of what I do."

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