Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Details

To the casual observer this quilt might look like it's finshed. But no, it's not.
I went back and worked on the details. It's the last thing I do to a quilt. I roll it back up the top and do some stich-in-the-ditch, if it needs it. I quilt areas I may have thought--at first--they didn't need quilting. And I check to make sure I didn't miss anything! There wouldn't be anything worse that having a customer come back and say, "Hey, Vivian you forgot this part!"

Now let me tell you a story--not a quilt story--but a story where I learned about details.

It was 2003, and Daughter #2 was working on an HBO film--Mrs. Harris. It was released 2005. She portrayed a student at an east coast private school. (I told you about our experience with Sir Ben Kingsley before!)Once my daughter was in costume--hair and makeup done--and ready to go, she was checked over by the head costumer. I thought she looked perfect. But no! Her knee socks had to be exactly one inch folded over. That was checked and fixed. Her sweater had to fit absolutely perfect. That was checked and fixed.

The head costumer was an odd, eccentric woman named Julie. At first glance I thought she was just some passerby who had wandered onto the set. She looked like an woman who may have been a "hippie" in her younger years. Now she was older, but still dressed in sloppy clothes and beads. I did notice that she was definitely the person in charge and wardrobe assistants were scrambling all around her. Finally, after much fussing, she looked at my daughter and said, "Perfect."

They were filming at a beautiful old mansion in Pasadena, California. It really did look like an upper class private school in New York in the 70's. In this scene, Daughter #2 and another girl were to be playing lacrosse right behind Annette Bening. So a quick lesson was given, a short rehearsal, and they started filming. In the scene there were other students and teachers and even authentic cars from the 70's. All the teachers looked awesome. They wore high-heels, beautiful dresses and their hair was teased up and big. Teachers don't look like that anymore! As I sat on the side watching the whole scene, I was reminded of my early days of grade school in the 70's. Everything looked so authentic!
Soon the director shouted "Action!" and everyone came to life. In the scene, Annette Benning (Mrs. Harris) was talking to another actor as teachers were walking to and fro, students were laughing and talking, and two girls were playing lacrosse right behind them. It looked awesome. Then the director shouted "Cut" and everything stopped.
Then the head costumer, Julie, angrily shouted at her assistants. "Why was that teacher carrying that purse?!!" A change was quickly made. "Get a ruler and measure that student's knee socks!!!" Everyone scrambled to make the changes and the director yelled "Action!" once again.
I sat on the side, and whispered to one of the grips, "Oh, brother, who's going to notice? The audience is going to be watching Annette Bening anyway." The grip smiled at me and then asked, "Do you know who that wardrobe lady is?" I answered, "No." He said, "That's Julie Weiss." He went back to work and I continued watching the filming, wondering who Julie Weiss was.
When I got home, I did a search on Julie Weiss. She was certainly not some passerby who had wandered onto the set! She has been nominated for numerous awards in Hollywood for Best Costume design. I didn't realize who she was! And for the HBO film, "Mrs. Harris" was nominated for "Outstanding Costumes in a Miniseries, Movie or Special." I had no idea!

Sitting there that day, as I watched that woman fuss over all the details, I would have given her the award for Excellence-in-noticing-all-the-details-probably-everyone-else-won't-even-notice. Do you think there's such an award?

There might be in quilting! Now back to work Vivian! (and mind the details!)

And on a final note: If you've ever seen the movie "Mrs. Harris" you won't notice that the girls socks are exactly one inch folded over. You won't even notice the two girls playing lacrosse behind Annette Bening. These are the details you won't even see, but they are the kind of details that win awards!)


Shannon said...

Great story once again!

Summerset said...

I can totally relate to her attention to detail!

Vicki W said...

What an interesting story!

LaVonne said...

Saw the movie, but did not see Daughter #2. But at least I can say that I knew someone who was is that movie. Miss you!!