It happened long time ago. The trees where higher, the air - fresher, the sun - shinier.
A principle of a private school called and asked for a balloon arch for the first day of classes - so that students walk under it to the first class of the year.
Event though it was that long ago, I have already done my first 10000 (ten thousand) arches and already had an idea that balloon arch is not the only thing God had in mind when created balloons. So, as we often do, I asked to be shown the place where the decoration has to go. It was the regular paved area in front of the school, but across from it there was a little lawn that caught my attention.
So I suggest to use that spot to create something less usual than the arch. "Like what?" - was the question. So I suggested the dinosaurs. Even today, I still think it was brave, almost too brave. The very first thing in business is to get the order, not to be original. But I got lucky! After all, the person I was talking to was a principle, and most of them are very bright... Something blinked in his eyes and he said "Do you have a sample? Can I see something like that?"
How many dinos have I made to date? Only one, the orange one. It is as unique and original as they come! So I showed him the closest thing to what I had in mind, I had a big pile of balloon decoration magazines and someone published a picture of a totally different, small, but dino. So my brave principle decided to take his chances. To his day I thank him for that!
First, I went to the library and got some books with pictures, found the "good" one and measured him up. Height to length ratio, length of the neck and so on.
Then we had to make all the safety decisions. It is an outside structure, strong wind is part of the deal and a lot of kids around. So we have designed a very heavy metal skeleton for the beast and ways to make it hurricane resistant.
Then, since we had never had a sculpture like that done, we went to our friends with a big ballroom and created a prototype of natural size: 20' tall, 30' from chest to tail. That was a big boost! It was made with leftover balloons, with a lot of loose ends (nobody is watching! that is what prototype is for in the first place!), but the beast could be seen bright and clear!
Than the day came. To be precise, the night. We start working on it 9 pm and finished 5 am, just an hour before the first student. First part of the job had nothing to do with balloons: the neck of the dino goes 4' deep in the ground, each leg - 2' deep, the tail is forked down in 3 places. Also, the neck is anchored to the tree behind with a fishing line...
Then we have dressed up the skeleton, brought peaces up on the lawn and assembled them. So, at 5:30 when the client was jogging by, the sculpture was ready. Then we got our first real reword: the principle lost his gift of speech! He said: "Mikhail, it is great!" and then he repeat it about 30 times! He could not get over the frase!
Then kids showed up and there eyes rewarded us for the sleepless night like nothing else. Then we have taken 6 rolls of film (remember what it is????) with the sun in different positions to get all possible lighting.
One of the stories of the day was the old gentleman from the house behind the tree. He came to tell what he felt when he opened his window and saw the head of the dino above in the sky...
Then the principle turned into our salesman. He had a dinner with other principles in the area and told them about his experience with us. But that is a completely different story...