It was a relief when we locked down the main design for the float, but there was still much to do before the actual construction could begin. The color rendering captured the front of the float and the on-camera side, but we still needed to finalize the off-camera side, the rear of the float, and a myriad of props and other little details.
Here's our first design for the back of the float. Our concept on March 21 was that this was a behind-the-scenes view of the stage area, with a make-up table and lights, all sorts of props scattered around, and a horse playing a honky-tonk piano for mood music during the filming.
As time went on we decided the horse would be a bit too big for the area available and perhaps just a bit too silly. Getting rid of him also meant we didn't need to build and decorate him! We kept the make-up table and prop box but added an antique Victrola. This was pretty much how the final product would look.
This rough sketch helped us decide what elements would go where on the float. We had to consider factors like where to hide the driver and observer, and to make sure the sight lines of the major elements were not blocked by something else. The parade audience has to be able to see the float and get the story in 30 seconds, so a clear view of the major story elements is essential.
While the floats are all designed to play to the television cameras, it's also important to keep the folks on the other side of the street entertained. The main element here would be our intrepid engineer, who is on a hand-car trying to outrace his stolen train so he can save the damsel from certain doom.
Stacia contributed many useful design drawings to help with the scaling and overall look of the individual pieces scattered around the float. These were available to the crews that would actually build and decorate them, and gave everyone a consistent design to work against.
The dancers that accompanied our Oktoberfest float had been quite a success so we explored having live characters in the street again. The concept was that they could interact with the crowds and add to the energy level of the float. Each would have been dressed as a crew member working on our make-believe film.
We dropped the street crew when we were able to sign famous actor, director, writer, and producer Garry Marshall to act as the director of the film. Garry was a great addition to the project, and he was extremely enthusiastic about it, saying he was honored to have been asked. Even better, his son Scott, who is a director and actor, agreed to play the part of the cameraman aboard the float. What a great addition both were!
With all of the designs and our guest stars decided upon we could finally start building the thing.