I enjoy finding props. Whenever I’m scouting for a weird and wonderful object to suit the whims of a director, I always feel like I’m in an Apprentice challenge, searching for the gem that will win my team the task. But one of the things a producer must also do is try and keep the wild ambition and imagination of the director in check; so when Jonny came to me with the props list for the film declaring, “I’d like a loom,” I knew I had my work cut out making this dream a reality.
First of all I didn’t really know much about looms. I knew they were used for weaving and that the wooden structure would perfectly suit the renaissance aesthetic we were trying to capture. What I didn’t know was the size and the cost. Prices for Ashford table looms on eBay ranged between £200-700, way beyond our budget for the film. The dimensions of a loom on average are almost a metre long and a metre wide, meaning that it would take up most of the space of the set, which measured at 12.25 cm2.
Unsure of how to proceed I ventured with Jonny to a weaving shop in East London to ask about looms. The wonderfully named ‘Prick Your Finger’ in Bethnal Green is a delightful little shop, full of patterns and patches of cloth in an abundance of colours. We explained to the women working there that we wanted to make a film featuring a loom, and they appeared keen to help, until they realised how little we knew of the subject. After asking if knitting and weaving are the same thing (answer = they’re not), they realised how clueless we were, and explained that weaving is not a hobby you can just pick up, it takes hours of dedication and craft.
Whilst our ignorance of the subject was embarrassing, it was important that we had the confidence to ask, to realise when you were out of your depth and need expert knowledge on the mater. Whilst I had already managed to secure a loom that could be borrowed free of charge, after visiting ‘Prick Your Finger’ Jonny and I decided that it would be impractical and not essential to the film.
I still liked the idea of a weaving apparatus and so I began to investigate the possibility of acquiring a spinning wheel. Through contacting local weaving guilds I managed to secure a beautiful spinning wheel that belonged to someone not far down the road from where I live.
My thanks again to Cristina Applebee for entrusting me with the beautiful item. I guess it was fate and the spinning wheel was meant to be in the film. Finding it was a lot of hard work, and that in the final cut you can barely see it! But it’s the little things that make a difference, and the combination of unique and distinctive props, rather than just the spinning wheel, that really created the whole aura of the set. I hope you enjoyed me spinning this yarn.
By Alfred Joyner
Virgin Media Short’s want us to shout about our shorts, like so:
Does anyone know of a small child with a hat and a megaphone that we can borrow?
If not…you can still help us and this is how:
Up until July 19th (at midday), Virgin Media Shorts will be counting how many times each film is shared online through Facebook and Twitter. So, we would love it if you could help us get promoting and/or give it a tweet (with #ShortsLucky13) or like it on Facebook before Thursday.
That would be amazing and wouldn’t be able to thank you enough!
If you haven’t seen the film yet…CLICK HERE
I enjoy watching other entries almost as much as I enjoy watching my own.
Here are a few of my favourites so far (in no particular order)…
Status - a film made by a few friends of mine (one of them being Richard Standen)
Beach Potato - a film made by our A.D Jamie Sims!
The Gran Bang - a film made by some more of my friends (one of them being Chris Thomas)
The Result - This was one of the first films I watched in the competition and it has stuck with me ever since. Hopefully you will see why.
Easy Reader - This one is rather charming. It leads me to believe I should read more.
Project Artichoke - This reminded me of a Derren Brown show. I am a big fan of his. This film is rather slick.
The Plotters - A well written comedy about gunpowder, treason and…plot.
Baggage - I am a fan of Pixar, so this was right up my street.
The Maestro - A very well put together film, with a good joke.
The Job - A bit rough around the edges, this film just made me laugh.
There are so many films to watch and I am sure I have missed plenty of good ones. I shall update if I find any more.
Don’t forget about Genesis!