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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Question and Answer With the Band Leader

Bandleader, can you give us an idea of what goes into the planning of the band for the year. In terms of activities and relative timeline by month etc. E.g. When does the design process start? When are they finalised, when are suppliers contacted and orders for costumes made etc.
Thank you.
(hope this wasn't already asked)

Well I guess it would be different for each band depending on their work load. We do a lot of work for other countries, so really our mas camp never stops. Straight after T&T carnival we go right into other carnivals. Production starts for these on Ash Wednesday. And we try our best to complete at least 3-4 carnival presentations for our regular clients abroad, before our band launch. We usually know what we want to do for the following year, of course sometimes our ideas change depending on what is available when we source new materials for the coming year. Or sometimes we may come across something that inspires us.

Carnival in our world is not so much about sketching, but actually working with prototypes. Any way it's hard, but we get to work fully on our designs for T&T about May, but we would have shopped and bought all our materials for the prototypes already, maybe the month before. The band launch could be anywhere from late July to early September. Orders are placed from foreign suppliers no later than end of September. This timing is crucial because of the delays if you get caught in the Christmas influx off goods. Not to mention the time to make the actual costumes which can take several weeks each section. But of course you are producing several sections at the same time.

Bathing suits also should be ordered as early as possible, because most off the factories are overloaded with work at this time. It is also important for the fact that these bras have to be decorated. You must always remember in everything we do we must be as early as we can in case there are problems down the line that we may not have foreseen.

Carnival as you know is extremely time sensitive and a costume is no good to a masquerader if delivered on Ash Wednesday. That is why we have to estimate sizes so orders can go in early. If entire costumes are being ordered from abroad we must also be early. It happens often enough that a supplier fails us for whatever reason, and now we must find an alternate way to produce that particular section. Time is our biggest enemy. Most Carnivals go great! Other times you've got a tiger by the tail, and more often than not, the problem carnivals happen when you have little time to spare.

We have been seeing so many similar costume designs recently even to the point where some of us can point out striking similarities with previous sections. Is there a formal system in place for designers to patent their work and if so, how can one prove that their work is being "copied" and what are the implications for those who "copy" designs?

This is a serious problem but it happens. Designers like musicians tend to have a similar tread to their designs that is sort of their trade mark. For instance different songs from the same artiste on an album, even though different, may have underlying similarities. So to, if the same designers design for different bands, or were mentored or learned from a particular designer, there will be striking similarities. And of course there are the outright copies of designs either by rival designers or lazy designers who can't be bothered to be creative, repeat previous designs because they just want the money. The real settling of this issue is between the bandleader and the designer, and would depend on what agreement was made between them prior to the bandleader accepting the designs in the first place.

Their is no copyright in place (for now) I know off that protects either party in the case of an infringement.

Thanks again for another week, seems like I have answered most of your questions as we only had two this week. That's GOOD!!
Take care till next week.

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