“Can you make up make a billy cart sail?” What fun! “And some white tent covers while you’re at it, to use next week.”
“Great! I can do that!”
The fabric wasn’t bought until the day before, so i ended up having 1 and a half days to get the total job done.
On top of that, they then asked if i would come to shoot, to work with art department and spend a night out in the country 2 hours out of Sydney.
I said “yes!” Wouldn’t you?
Luckily at the time, I was able to rearrange my schedule to suit at such short notice.
The buyer dropped around with some cash for the fabric I agreed to source, and a sketch with exact dimensions marked on it so that I could produce exactly what was needed. I was also able to ask a few questions in regard to finish, and then, away I went. Using my industrial machine in the garage, I was able to get the job finished quicker than anticipated.
Now I was waiting for the Billy cart fabric. The director himself went to source it to suit his vision, it took him a while to get around town finding just the right pieces for me to tack together. I took that time to pack my bag and kit, ready for the night and next day.
Eventually, later than expected, he arrived, with the the fabric, the printed hession, the sticks and the ideas.
He made a sketch, thankfully, experience has taught him to specify exact dimensions, – (some “designers” like to leave the specifications to the maker, hoping they will get their vision exacted. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way if you have a specific vision) and we spent half an hour discussing it’s construction. How was it going to be used? how much weight did the seams need to hold? do you want fraying or neat edges? What angles are you going to see the sail from? using the fabric with the pattern going this way means that it needs to be re-enforced like this, otherwise the whole thing will twist, is it ok if the finished product looks like this (sketch sketch sketch)? because in order to achieve that, I’m going to have to do this and this as well to it.. how important is this design feature, how important is that design feature? etc. We discussed it until I was confidant I understood exactly what was wanted, and was able to deliver it in the time frame allotted. It’s important for me to know which short cuts to take, and which features need that extra little time to sit correctly. It’s no good if I don’t get the product finished on time, so sometimes a little compromise is needed, and when you discuss it clearly, the director knows what they will get beforehand. I like to be a perfectionist, and sometimes, it takes a bit of time to take the right steps to get the exact effect. It’s engineering, fabric works in different ways, in different scales, with different tensions running everywhere. there are different ways of sewing to achieve different results. Experience gives you that knowledge. Otherwise, it’s all trial and error.
If there is no time for utter perfection, then compromise needs to be reached, and I make sure to explain what i can deliver given the circumstances.
No surprises. No body likes surprises or excuses in that situation. Sort it out before is my motto. I wont ever start anything unless I’m clear on what is needed.
It was nerve racking, not much time before my lift was to arrive and take me to location. But, I took a deep breath, and calmly set about measuring, cutting, lining up, and sewing. and what do you know?
I finished just on the dot! well, there was some hand sewing to do once I arrived at the hotel room, but, all the machining was complete, and the sail was functional. Sweet relief.
All went well on the day, the sail looked great on the billy cart once it had the big hand tacking and other finishing touches, staining etc.
The tent covers fit as expected. (I had rounded the centre seam so it would fit on the tents perfectly, without excess buckling.)
One more thing, the director needed a picture drawn by a 7 year old. Easy, I thought. I thought back to my days as a 7 year old, how i thought about the sky, and the ground, etc, and drew a picture with my left hand for added naivety. Several of us grabbed a sketch book and scrawled with crayons.
And can I just say, the director picked mine as the hero drawing. YES! Gee that felt good.
My picture was picked as the Hero 7 year old picture!
(it’s got extra scribbles here, as there were a few takes of the kid colouring in before they were happy with the shot)
It’s the simple things in life really isn’t it?
All in all, it was an interesting couple of days away.