The Dressmaker learning resource

The Dressmaker: Pre-production Stage

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During the Pre-production Stage, specialist roles work together to plan and organise the film.

Image result for dressmaker production designer roger ford

Production designer Roger Ford with director Jocelyn Moorhouse

Production design 

Production designer, Roger Ford, built the town of Dungatar from scratch. He had the task of creating a town inspired by spaghetti westerns but with an Australian flavour. The silos and the fire at the end of the film were created using CGI.

  • Find out more about the production design process in this interview.
  • Identify features of Dungatar that give it a 'gunslinger feel'.
  • Which elements of the production design are characteristically Australian?
  • Analyse the way the physical set is blended with CGI elements and explain the impact of this process.

Costume design 

In The Dressmaker costume design communicates essential ideas about story, setting and character . Margot Wilson designed the costumes for the character Tilly Dunnage (Kate Winslet). 

  • Compare and contrast the design of Tilly's costume in the opening and resolution scenes. Describe what this suggests about her journey.
  • What does costume communicate about the women in the town?
  • Describe and explain the interconnection between costume and setting.


During pre-production, the cinematographer and the director plan how they will visually tell the story using storyboards.

  • You can learn more about this process by using ACMI's Film It storyboard module.
  • The Dressmaker film was adapted from a novel by Rosalie Ham. Read the following excerpt from the novel and storyboard a 5 shot sequence.

  • Identify and explain the camera techniques you used to tell the story.
  • Compare your storyboard sequence to the scene of Tilly’s arrival in the film. Explain at least two changes made by Jocelyn Moorhouse when adapting the novel.