I really got my start in show business back in 1975 when I enrolled in the Professional Theatre Technical Program at John Abbott College. It was there that I met the man who would change my life forever. His name was Derek Goulder. He was my shop teacher. I was glued to his hip for three years and I bled that man dry of all of his knowledge, and passion for set construction. He taught me to see the beauty in the raw constuction found on the back of the set and to appreciate it as much and even more that the finished product on the audience side. It was there that I learned to take the time to ensure that all of the rails on the back of the set lined up.
Earlier this summer (39 years later) I was having a conversation with my shop foreman Kevin (Hal) Halliday behind the set of "Pressure Cooker" when I found myself staring at the back of the set and admiring at just how great the raw unpainted framing looked with every rail lined up. He is a bit of a perfectionist and he shares that same passion. I believe that if you take the care to make the back look good the front side will follow suite.
Some of my clients might not understand the passion that I have about "Raw Structure" and they may not see the beauty that I see in it as a builder. I'm ok with that. I just find myelf in the middle of building their project, seeing their structure taking shape and I know that when we delivery and install their set, they will be wowed about the finished product just as much as I'm wowed about the structure.
But for me today where it has been close to 20 years since I have pick up my tools to personally build something for my clients, I realize that this pride and passion is shared with the carpenters and welders that are hired to build here at Bratton Scenery. We have taken graduate students right out of college and university theatre programs and apprenticed them to show them how to take the care required when building a set to line up the framing and to make the back look as good as the front. Why do we do that? Because our clients deserve the best!