This Sunday is the 86th Academy Awards. We'll be watching and my fingers will be crossed for American Hustle to take home a few Oscars. Disagree to your heart's content but Noah worked his ass off to help make that movie and I (Virginia) want it to win. Some of my dearest friends worked long, hard days to make sure the actors looked fabulous and I want that movie to take home Best Costume Design not only for them but because it is so f'ing gorgeous. I am proud of this movie. I am proud of the Boston crew that made this movie what it is.
And WE still make movies. There are Saturdays that I stumble in at 9 AM with brunch groceries in tow having rolled out of bed only a couple hours after getting done with filming somewhere in Boston. I try to smile and form coherent sentences but it doesn't always work because it's been a grueling overnight shoot and I've yet to enjoy deep sleep. Folks will say to Noah, "Haven't seen you in awhile..." but only because he hasn't been in from 10 AM to 10 PM every day. Yet he manages to get to the shop from 8 PM to 12 AM on weeknights and of course all weekend long while also shooting 12 to 14 hour days on an Oscar-nominated feature film.
above: Noah and Michelle on set discussing how to recreate the bow for continuity.
People ask us why we still do it. Why make movies when you have a successful business? The answer is complicated. We both love working. We love working with a community and a team. We enjoy doing a job really well and following it through from prep to wrap. And we have always committed the store profits to our employees wages and our community outreach. Our employees may not be getting rich but Virginia and Noah have yet to bring home any paycheck from their gather here endeavor. So doing a movie every year helps us pay for our personal life and honestly, to commit four to six months a year so we can employ awesome people and still live a comfortable life just isn't that bad.
above: Virginia in the behind the scenes video for The War of the Worlds on PBS American Experience
And we love being a part of that world. Sure, it's crazy sometimes. But I have been working with the same group of costumers for a decade now. I meet new folks all the time and get to give them a chance to break into the biz. Some of our best friends are in that business and they are the very same folks that encouraged me to open gather here. Even volunteering to build shelving, paint walls, hang fixtures, replace sinks...these are skilled, generous, and fabulous people that we get to work with and also I have the opportunity to give them work every time I take a film gig.
above: Virginia on the last day of shooting The Forger with John Travolta.
Plus working in film keeps me agile. I am constantly learning about fashion trends because of contemporary television and film work. I get to research period costumes when I get hired to work for PBS. I collaborate with costumers and tailors about fit and how garments are to be worn. It's nice work... if you can get it. Noah feels the same way. We are grateful that our numbers get called and while we can't wait to get back into the shop full-time, that bit of time away makes us appreciate what we've built with gather here even more. It's going to be a busy spring for Noah and I. He's just signed up for a huge biopic filming in Southie and I'm starting a drama with some great talent in just a week. Don't worry, we'll spend all the hours after working on our respective films in the shop. Making. Teaching. Running a small business. And always being thrilled that we made gather here.
above: Noah in Jeff Bridges's book on making RIPD.