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Uniform Code

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First World – The presidential suite at The Hotel Commonwealth in Boston.

Last week I talked about lists. Well this week I was able to cross off, or at least through, one thing on my list – uniforms.

Whenever I plan to put a script into production I go through it with a fine tooth comb to break down exactly what’s needed.  For First Signal the Nehru styled suits for two of the characters have been secured for some weeks. Personally, I thought it was going to be a bit of a challenge to get the look I wanted with the budget I set for costumes. I soon discovered there were numerous manufacturers that offered countless styles and ranges in price. In the end I got what I wanted for that look.

FBI Conference Room-Serpentine

Serpentine – The Aquarius boardroom at The Verve Crowne Plaza in Natick.

But there was one type of uniform that was proving a bit elusive–Air Force officer service dress. Yes, a good number of regional costume shops had air force officer uniforms. They would have worked fine if our story was set in the early 1990s. But as First Signal is set in the year 2014, we needed a contemporary look.

To start I discounted contacting the big costume houses that work with “Hollywood” budgeted films and TV shows. My thinking was why on Earth would they want to work with an indie film on the scale of First Signal? So contacting the official uniform suppliers to the Air Force began in earnest. But in the majority of cases you need to be authorized military personnel to make a purchase from those companies.   So short of purchasing items piecemeal on eBay and the like, this was a major item on my list that wasn’t budging.

Denise Marco and Isabella Ramirez in Serpentine

Serpentine – Northstar Ice Sports in Westborough.

When I saw the season finale of Madam Secretary and the number of military uniforms that were used on that episode, I decided I had to take a different route. I went to their listing on IMDbPro to see who was in charge of costuming. No sooner did I contact one of the wardrobe supervisors via LinkedIn did he get back to me with companies and contact names. Yes, these were the big costume houses on the west coast.

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Justice Is Mind – Four Winds Equestrian Center in Oxford.

The welcoming reception I received from Eastern Costume put aside my preconceived anxiety about contacting one of these companies.  To say they are knowledgeable about costumes would be an understatement. After sending them some pictures of the types of Air Force service dress uniforms I was looking for, they gave me a rundown on prices that will work for First Signal. Is it a bit more than I budgeted? Certainly. But in this case anything less than a contemporary look just wouldn’t have worked.

Justice Is Mind - The FVMRI process begins

Justice Is Mind – MRI Center in Haverhill.

The search, however, continues for a suitable location. The one thing I have done with all my films is to secure locations via a trade marketing partnership. It’s a pretty straight forward process that works great for everyone. A location allows us the opportunity to film and I promote and market the location.  Well after the actors and crew have left, a location sees themselves promoted regularly on social media, mentioned in the press, credited at the end of the film, on official sites and other entitlements that benefit all concerned long after “That’s a wrap” is called. I have no doubt that a suitable location will be secured. But there are always surprises in this business. Like when you believe you have a deal and suddenly it goes from trade to a $10,000 plus fee! Um no thanks, I’ll keep looking! The one thing I have long learned in this business is never be desperate to do a deal. I look for partners not takers.

Conference

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Justice Is Mind – The Massachusetts School of Law in Andover.

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