When Better Letters Met Stan Wilkinson

Biopic about signwriter and fairground artist Stan Wilkinson, known for his work at Carters Steam Fair.

Film banner with photo of fairground horses, title, and laurels from awards.
When Better Letters Met Stan Wilkinson, a film by Adrian Harrison.

When Better Letters Met Stan Wilkinson is the third in a series of short films about veterans of the trade. It follows up on earlier profiles of Cliff Headford from Bristol and Josef Samuel in Vienna. Each film celebrates the life and work of these craftspeople, and we’ve been extremely lucky to have the support of Colossal Media and Right Way Signs of Chicago when producing them, so massive thanks again to both these brilliant companies.

Man posing in front of a painted horse from a fairground ride.
Stan Wilkinson with his galloper at Carters Steam Fair. Photo: Adrian Harrison.

The idea for Stan’s film was first thrown about at the London screening of When Better Letters Met Cliff Headford (2017). Stan and Joby Carter were there and it was a conversation with Joby that sowed the seed.

Given his past work with Joby and the fair, Adrian Harrison was the obvious choice as director and we were soon collaborating on the scoping, planning and research for the final film. The filming then took place on three separate days over the first half of 2018.

Main painting lettering onto a sign with a pictorial of a cockerel.
Filming When Better Letters Met Stan Wilkinson.

Stan is still working periodically for Carters Steam Fair, so we were lucky to have lots of footage of him painting. Some of this, showing Stan at work on the Chair-O-Planes, was shot at Carters Yard, while additional material was taken from Joby’s second Letterheads meet (his first was also the subject of a short film), and more work at Carters Yard on the Showtrack. Stan also allowed us into his garage studio to carry out the main interview and see him painting on a personal project.