MM-Making Mas Notes

Thais Robertson - Harts International.
On maintaining a business head in a career that values bigger, brighter and more beautiful takes some sober thinking.
"Gerard and I will talk through the costumes and sometimes I'll look at a design and just say 'forget it,' it's going to be too expensive"

Keith McClean - Tribe Producer
"If we're going to try to introduce anything new, it has to begin with the bands that people follow. We need help to upgrade our techniques to match what's possible abroad right now."

Headpieces are a challenge to import, because even though the items are light, they must be packed carefully to avoid damage and attract dimensional weight charges.

Akeisha Joseph - Tribe Producer
"I find it more productive. Some people will drag out an eight to four job."

Geraldo Viera Junior - Trini Revellers
"The King is the Night of the Iguana, but I need to keep it secret. It's a massive costume and it works with pneumatics. There's a calypso supporting it that's being done by Bill Trotman. But there is sabotage in the mas and I don't want anybody to know what I'm planning."

"Last year, the hydraulics in my costume just stopped working, the whole insides of the mechanism was broken up. I'm sure that somebody hit it a lash with a hammer. I don't like to be called an artist, I'm a craftsman. I work in all kinds of materials."
Viera produced his first plastics work for a Carnival band produced by Rudolph Corbie. His first plastics machine was imported from England and it was designed for laboratory equipment.

Mike Johnson - Trini Revellers
"After being in carnival for a number of years, I find that costumes are diminishing and prices are going up. The emphasis is now on providing a service, not a costume. I make every effort to reduce the price of the costume and still offer value, but the cost is becoming so prohibitive."

Johnson started with his own band in Arima, but became better known with his collaboration with the now defunct Mas Men and his career in Carnival took off from there. He began designing for other bands, working with Barbarossa for two years, producing a Queen of the Band for Legends, producing work for Showcase and associates and winning an Individual of the year title in 1990 for his design work.
Johnson also produces for children bands, and has worked with Spoiled Rotten Kids in Diego Martin and Classix Productions in Belmont.

For Spoiled Rotten Kids he is producing all the individuals, king and queen and the section costumes. Ultimately, he is responsible for producing about 75 percent of the band.
"They have their designer and they work with me on the finished product. Classix, they also bring a design, I'm doing their king, queen, individuals and all their structures, the band is reliant on backpacks."
When Johnson works on Carnivals outside of Trinidad and Tobago most of the work is done in Trinidad because of the availability of materials and then a small crew will travel to assemble the costumes.

Ancil McClean - De BOSS
Ancil McClean is a tailor by trade and in December, he stops taking in work from his regular customers, bundles their work for pickup and begins transforming his workshop into a mas camp. He's been self-employed all his life.
"I don't know what a boss looks like."

McClean lives next door to his workshop.
"It was the family house, but as people move out and migrate, I took it over for the work."
His sections will consist of 15 to 25 of the masqueraders playing with De Boss and "they playing what I playing."

Steve Samaroo
"You can't say that a costume costs more when you're selling a package and part of that package is a costume that's using less material, not more."
"With today's big bands and big sponsors, some bands are importing their own raw materials. Bands that import their own materials have impacted all the suppliers. We supply for 100 Carnivals around the world and if our raw materials are so expensive, why are people leaving their countries to shop here?"
"We're a one stop shop, you can get all your supplies for a band here."
"Barbados' Carnival is growing rapidly and I've seen big improvements in their costumes. We have the best Carnival in the world, but we have to protect it."
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