Drapes. Most events require them. They can make our event look slick, rustic, fabulous or just tidy things up. But where are drapes on the food chain of care when it comes to production? All too often it seems that draping, in they eyes of other production crew and staff, is just a bit of rag that gets in the way of the important stuff like sound and lighting. When the client gets a damage bill there is outrage! And rightfully so when we understand how easily drape damage can be avoided.
We can all understand that putting a heavy piece of truss on an expensive moving light is just not the done thing just as putting a cup of water on a mixing desk is known to be a dangerous move. And we all know that lifting cables over road cases is just what you do. It's a sign of respect and shows an understanding of the value of equipment. Why then can we not understand that walking on, or putting heavy gear on a velvet drape (valued between 1 and 2 thousand dollars) is going to end up costing someone money- either worn by hire company or the client- either way there will be unhappiness!
I have come to the conclusion that one of the main culprits is ignorance- we just don't know the value of a velvet drape. There are of course other more subtle reasons to do with the psychology of production crews and the assumed status and pecking order of what's important in a given production but we will not go into them here ;). Basically, it comes down to we just don't know or don't want to know. The only way to tackle this problem is to try and shine a light where only darkness previously was. Hence this Blog entry.
I have compiled a brief list of do's and don'ts for those who might be interested. This may be helpful for
Production crew- the broaden their understanding beyond their chosen field,
For event managers and production managers- to help them with tips and knowledge that can be passed on to subbies and staff alike. This will help minimise any extra cleaning fees or damage costs that may be incurred
Draping crew or aspiring draping crew- Be of more value if you work for a staging or draping company.
-Always check the floor, walls and any infrastructure that may come in contact drapes. Sometimes a quick sweep can do wonders! Will the drape be squashed between anything? Is there any likely catch points were the drape may get caught on? Do have to pull the drape through any tight gaps? (lifting sections of drapes through is always better than pulling!)
-Clipping up/pinning up. Often once the drapes are set we find there is some excess drape lying on the ground. This excess is frought with danger! The best solution is to clip up or pin up (pin up/ clip tutorial to follow) all the excess drape so it is slightly off the ground. Not only will this save the drape from heavy boots or worse, scissor lift wheels, but the drape will hang better too, allowing the pleats to do their work.
-Bag it straight away! Bump outs can be wild and fast paced, we've all been there. When a drape is dropped, stop and bag it straight away. If the company you hired the drapes from hasn't provided you with bags bring some heavy duty garbage bags of you own! It will save you money in the long run and helps with moving the drapes around.
-Please don't walk on drapes! It's easy! I know they can get in the way but just like picking up a cable to lift over a road case you can easily pick up a drape and move it.
-Please don't wheel a road case over drapes!
-Please don't drive your scissor lift over drapes! It might be a bit annoying- you have to lower the lifter, get out and move the drape but you don't want wreck a 1500 dollar drape do you? Yell out! Ask for help or do it yourself! Scissor lifts destroy drapes!!
-No Gaff!!! Gaff also destroys drapes! Even when you gaff the back of the drape it will pull out the pile of the drape! Use little bulldog clips (very handy in your tools case)! They're perfect for clipping little arrows on to drapes. Please, please. no gaff! (Woolen drapes are a different story. If you must gaff on wool is fine).
Well, hopefully, that wasn't too ranty! Good basic drape care and understanding is good for everyone. Good drape companies, good for companies that hire drapes and draping and good for production crew too.
We have decided, the interest of good drape care, if you are a company that hires draping for events, we can offer you a free 1.5 hour basic drape care and production workshop for up to five staff members. Get in touch to book your drape production and care workshop today!