Links for the Props Person

Why Puppets (and Puppeteers) Are Still Important – Smithsonian has a great article on the world of puppetry today, including a short interview with Basil Twist. The article has a plenitude of photos from the Smithsonian’s puppetry collection; if you are in Washington, DC, you can check it all out in person.

Inside Syfy’s Cosplay Melee Workshop – Syfy Channel has a new competition show called Cosplay Melee, where contestants build original costumes and props in an insane time crunch. Tested takes us inside the workshop they use, with a look at all the tools and materials they have access to.

E-cig/vapepen smoke-machine for cosplay and props – Wayne’s Workshop shows us how to modify a vape pen so it can shoot a small burst of smoke with the touch of a button. If you want to do this trick in an Equity production, the Equity Time and Distance Guidelines lists a few e-cigarettes you can use without any testing.

Shakspeare Relíques, 1825

The following comes from the preface of a book published in 1825. It discusses some of the actual relics from William Shakespeare’s life, and yes, it uses an alternative spelling for Shakespeare. Much of the talk centers around the first Shakespeare Jubilee, which was organized by actor David Garrick in 1769.

The most minute particulars relative to our great dramatist have a peculiar charm for his admirers; and anything, however insignificant, which time has hallowed with recollections of Shakspeare, becomes venerable from the force of association.

Some traditions affirm that Anne Hathaway, Shakspeare’s wife, was born at Shottery, a village in the vicinity of Stratford. The cottage where Anne’s family resided, still stands: some time ago, there was a bed in it, which attracted great notice; an old woman of seventy was the chief witness in its favour, she has slept in it from childhood, and had been invariably told that it was as antient as the house, consequently, Shakspeare might have slept in it. Large sums of money were repeatedly offered for this treasure; but in vain. Continue reading Shakspeare Relíques, 1825

St Patrick’s Day Props

First off – the second edition to The Prop Building Guidebook is finally here! Go buy it so I can feed my babies! And if you like it, please leave a review on Amazon or wherever you purchase it from. And if you really like it (or you really liked the first edition), feel free to shoot me an email; the sad fact of being an author is you do not know how people are using your book unless they decide to tell you.

What’s in a letter? Prop or prank? – The Chasing Aideen blog has a fascinating look at prop letters on stage. Through conversations with directors and historical artifacts, we get a glimpse of how prop letters range from nonsensical scribbles to fully-realized reproductions from the imaginary world of the play.

Skylight Music Theatre’s ‘Beast’ puppet a giant thing of beauty – It really is. This massive, fully-articulated puppet looks like it stepped straight out of a Guillermo del Toro film.

Adam Savage Behind the Scenes of Ghost in the Shell! – In this video, Adam Savage heads to New Zealand to see some of the practical masks and animatronics which Weta Workshop designed and produced for the upcoming Ghost in the Shell film. The aesthetic is an amazing blend of smooth futuristic tech with old-world hand craftsmanship.

The Make: Guide to Dungeon Master Crafting – A lot of props people love models and miniatures, and a few enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons. Make has put together a guide of some fine tutorials on how to make your own miniature terrain and buildings for whatever role-playing games you prefer.

And finally, I’ve started this Instagram thing where I’m sharing all my photographs of prop shops, prop builders at work, and other backstage theater stuff. Come check it out!

2017 Grants for Prop Interns

The Society of Properties Artisan Managers (S*P*A*M) is once again offering two grants this year: the Edie Whitsett Grant for theatrical properties and the Jen Trieloff Grant for theatrical properties.

The Edie Whitsett Grant for Theatrical Properties

The Edie Whitsett Grant
The Edie Whitsett Grant

The Edie Whitsett Grant is an annual award given to an individual wishing to further their career in theatrical properties, especially but not limited to theatrical props in children’s theater. This grant is intended to assist with transportation, housing, or necessities while completing an internship in the field of properties.

Edie Whitsett was the longtime property shop manager and a frequent designer at Seattle Children’s Theatre. She also created sets for Village Theatre, Seattle Opera, ACT Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet and other arts entities. Whitsett’s honors included an Artist Trust fellowship, a commission for an art installation at the Seattle Public Library’s central branch and two Seattle Times Footlight Awards.

This grant is overseen and awarded by the Society of Properties Artisan Managers and is for $1000 towards internship expenses. Individuals wishing to apply for should submit the following:

  • Cover Letter including details on your internship (when and where), any additional compensation you might be receiving during that time and an estimate of anticipated expenses.
  • Resume
  • Digital portfolio of recent properties work

Please submit items to: Jim Guy, S*P*A*M President at jguy@milwaukeerep.com

All items must be received by May 15, 2017 and grants will be awarded June 15, 2017.

The Jen Trieloff Grant for Theatrical Properties

The Jen Trieloff Grant
The Jen Trieloff Grant

The Jen Trieloff Grant is an annual award given to an individual wishing to further their career in theatrical properties. This grant is intended to assist with transportation, housing, or necessities while completing an internship in the field of properties.

Jen Trieloff was Properties Director for American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin and Forward Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin and has served as Prop Master and Prop Designer for Madison Rep and Madison Opera and Ballet among others. He was an accomplished craftsman and scene designer whose work was seen on stages inside and outside of Wisconsin.

This grant is overseen and awarded by the Society of Properties Artisan Managers and is for $1000 towards internship expenses. Individuals wishing to apply for should submit the following:

  • Cover Letter including details on your internship (when and where), any additional compensation you might be receiving during that time and an estimate of anticipated expenses.
  • Resume
  • Digital portfolio of recent properties work

Please submit items to: Jim Guy, S*P*A*M President at jguy@milwaukeerep.com

All items must be received by May 15, 2017 and grants will be awarded June 15, 2017.

End of the Week Props Links

Inside The Deeply Nerdy—And Insanely Expensive—World Of Hollywood Prop Collecting – Wired takes a look at some of the most expensive movie props ever sold and the collectors who bought them.

Found: A Treasure Trove of Candy Wrappers Dating Back to the Depression – Eric Nordstrom found a sweet collection of 1920s candy wrappers while exploring Chicago’s Congress Theater. Be sure to follow the links to his Facebook where he posts more photos in the comments to his original photo.

Off-Broadway Producers and United Scenic Artists Create First Ever Agreement for Off-Broadway Designers – I’m interested to see what this means for prop designers. USA does not seem to cover prop designers; I’ve never seen anyone credited with “prop designer” in a theater under USA’s jurisdiction. Off-Broadway has never been under USA’s jurisdiction until this week, and that is where you find the bulk of credited prop designers. Will that continue?

Ross MacDonald: The Best Set Props Go Unnoticed – An interview and photographs with Ross MacDonald, prop builder on Joy, Boardwalk Empire, Hateful Eight, and so many more.

Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies