Hats on the set of 'His Dark Materials'

If you are a parent, reading this blog with children in their 20's - 30's plus, hopefully you are settled and rested knowing that your offspring are safe from harm, feel purposeful and are well renumerated, have a roof over their head, food on the table and love in their life. However if you think back to when their happiness depended on yourself you probably couldn't have predicted the type of job they would end up doing. I can remember gazing at my eldest son, now 31, and wondering where his life would take him. Well I can tell you. He is the Director of Photography for many of the 'feature' commercials on TV, has been the cinematographer for a few of the films on Netflix and is currently working with the Director Tom Hooper (Les Mis) in Cardif. I was graciously invited on set (my son is rarely in the country working anymore) to see what happens when a BBC TV series is in the making. Well it certainly isn't a place for anyone over 40! and not someone who needs to stay quiet for long periods but I can assure you that your licence fee this year is well spent! However interesting it was I am not star struck and was quite bored as there are many long periods of time spent in the dark, doing nothing, with no speaking allowed etc and so on these ocassions I took myself off to the rest of the sets and departments and had chat with the others involved in film-making.. One department I was intent on visiting was the costume department where there are racks upon racks of HATS!! What a treat the head honcho was very interested to meet a milliner and infact let me try on some of the hats. Some were original and very moth eaten (something you don't see on close up) held together struturally by safetypins and tape! and others were very good reproductions. The costume department was a hive of creativity and patching up. A lot of the hats and clothing are created in quite short timeframes as often actors are not signed up till last minute and fittings are done under the same duress. There is quite a lot of pressure so clothing needs to be either cobbled together quickly for visual impact but lacks robustness or very well constructed if fitted and well worn in the film/series. An important partnership is the hairdresser and milliner. Often spending a great deal of time together pre-production, making sure that the hats will suit the hairstyles and the face of the actors and actresses. If I was 20 years younger it would have been a dream job however the pressure of deadlines often leaves the costumiers and milliners quite stressed so it is rightly a young persons environment for which I am quiet content to leave alone.