Order Up! Prop Stories To Go

Order Up! A Working Ziosk Prop – Jay Duckworth details how his shop built a working computer-ordering system for a booth at a Chili’s restaurant that appeared on stage. It took a combination of a cheap tablet, a 3D-printed housing, and some clever programming and graphic design to pull it off.

SYFY WIRE Fan Creators – The SYFY Channel has created a whole series of mini-documentaries about fans of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, who build things related to their fandom. It’s a mix of propmakers, cosplayers, artists, and even a baker.

In Memoriam: John C. Taccone, IATSE Stagehand – John Taccone was a stagehand in New York City and a member of the New Amsterdam Theatre props crew for 21 years. His untimely passing earlier this month was memorialized on the Broadway marquee of the New Amsterdam.

The House That Mr. Mayer Built: Inside the Union-Busting Birth of the Academy Awards – This is an oldie, but it was new for me. The Oscars were originally created as a way to prevent the unionization of actors, writers, and directors in Hollywood. It didn’t work. Still, it is a good reminder of how spectacle can often be used to mask some deeper purpose. If you want to know more about the history of unionization amongst the Hollywood technicians, I covered a bit of it in my “Brief History of IATSE” article from a few years back. It was outright war at times.

DePaul University Prop Shop and Storage

While I was in Chicago for the S*P*A*M Conference, I was able to tour the facilities of the Theater School at DePaul University. Their current space is fairly new, and all their shops, theaters, and small storage are located in a single building.

Amy leads the tour
Amy leads the tour

The tour was led by the props master, Amy Peter. Amy was actually my predecessor at Triad Stage before she headed off to Chicago.  Continue reading DePaul University Prop Shop and Storage

Special Saturday Prop Links

Behind the scenes: designing the props for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Pierre Bohanna talks about some of the fantastic props he was tasked to create for JK Rowling’s latest foray into the Harry Potter universe. He also details some of the biggest challenges; surprisingly, recreating 1926 New York was more difficult than finding fantastic beasts.

Props: Fur, Foam & Focus – Zoë Morsette talks with Stage Directions magazine about her career and some of the favorite props she built. She discusses some great specifics about materials, techniques, and tools used on some recognizable props. She also gives helpful advice for the early career prop professional.

Floating Worlds: The Santa Fe Opera Scene Shop – This article brings us some beautiful photographs and in-depth interviews with Scott Schreck and Mike Ortiz, the technical director and associate technical director of the Santa Fe Opera. Find out how they build scenery for operas that travel all over the world.

Our Favorite Movie Props at Comic-Con 2018! – The Prop Store is getting ready for a big auction of rare and iconic movie props. They recently brought a bunch of them to San Diego Comic Con. This fifteen-minute video looks at their collection during this brief opportunity to see all these famous props in one location.

Faberge Caravan – The Prop Solve is back after a brief hiatus, but she returns with a fantastic post showing a Faberge egg she made in the style of a 1970s caravan trailer. There are lots of great tips and photos showing how she modeled tiny benches and appliances to fit the curves of an egg-shaped vehicle.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Last week I attended the 25th conference for the Society of Properties Artisan Managers. It was hosted by a number of Chicago theaters this year, so I got to tour some of their spaces. First up is the facilities at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, located on the Navy Pier.

Cassandra gives us a tour
Cassandra gives us a tour

Continue reading Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Friday Prop Stories

Disney Dream Job: Walt Disney Imagineer Prop Master – In this video segment, 11-year-old Adam spends a day learning about how to become a Walt Disney Theme Park Prop Master. He visits with the people who design the attractions, tours the shops where the props are fabricated, and browses the warehouse where pieces are stored. It’s not only a great look behind-the-scenes at the park, but it’s also refreshing to see a young kid like Adam who is so passionate about props.

Creative Lives — Prop maker, set stylist and textile homeware designer Mariel Osborn on the joys of physical making – “Lecture in Progress” sits down with Mariel Osborn, a freelance prop maker and set stylist in Manchester, England. They talk about her work, her daily routine, and how she wound up with such a fascinating career.

“Danger, Will Robinson!” See How the Artists at Spectral Motion Built the Incredible Robot for the New Netflix Series, ‘Lost in Space.’ –  Like the title says, you can discover how the iconic robot was reinvented for the new television show. The entire suit was sculpted and crafted by hand because the team did not have enough time to use 3D printing. The show uses the practical suit about 85% of the time, with digital effects being used mostly to enhance the scenes.

Light Up Leather Arm Braces – Make Magazine has this great project that marries the old-school techniques of working with leather with the state-of-the-art techniques of blinking lights.

10 Famous Props And The Actors Who Stole Them – I question the authenticity of some of these stories; the iconic props for major franchises are tracked and cataloged so carefully, that I really doubt Chris Hemsworth just ‘walked off’ the set with a Thor hammer. These antics are usually allowed to happen to generate further publicity for a film. That being said, I definitely believe that Hugh Bonneville walked off with a letter from the set of Downton Abbey.

Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies