Category Archives: Useful Sites

Props in the News Today

The Society of Properties Artisan Managers Offers Some Advice – Here are 32 pieces of advice from veteran prop masters to burgeoning prop artisans.

For a Hollywood propmaster, it’s the little things that make ‘Big Little Lies’ a success – Jane Gulick’s job is to make sure the Monterey area in Big Little Lies looks like the real town. She uses a ton of local products to help flesh out the world.

An American Theatre Wing Working in Theatre Video: Specialty Props – Mary Creede, Zoë Morsette, and John Jerard create some of the most unusual and iconic props on Broadway. Check out this video to see the shops where they are tasked with creating all the things that don’t currently exist.

Broadway Design On Display At McNay Museum – If you are in San Antonio, TX, before June 30th, check out this exhibition of theatrical and film designs. The show features models and renderings from some of the 20th and 21st centurys’ most prolific designers.

New Prop Links for the Summer

The Society of Properties Artisan Managers Offers Some Advice – Recently, S*P*A*M solicited advice from its members, which include hundreds of prop masters in most of the major US theaters. They narrowed the list down to 32 nuggets of advice for every new prop artisan.

Interview — DISCOVERY Prop Master Mario Moreira on the Red Angel Suit, Section 31 Phasers, and More – The newest iteration of Star Trek continues the tradition of having cool props. Take a peek into the workshop of Mario Moreira to see how all the custom sci-fi gadgets get made.

‘The Big Bang Theory’ Prop Master and Set Decorator Look Back on the Show’s 12 Seasons – Whether you enjoyed the show or not, a twelve-year run means lots of props and tons of detail in the set dressing. Find out about some of the behind-the-scenes secrets from prop master Scott London and set decorator Ann Shea.

How Gary Does the DicksTaylor Mac’s highly irreverent  Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, now running on Broadway, needed dicks. A lot of them. The show features dozens of mannequins playing the part of dead Romans, and at various points, they come to life and dance with their members. Learn how specialty prop designer Craig Grigg brought them to life with animatronics.

Avengers: Endgame Film Décor – Check out these photos and descriptions of the miriad sets from this decade’s biggest film. Set Decorator Leslie Pope discusses what went into creating some of the major locations in this film, many of which had to match or reference previous locations in this sprawling 22 film franchise.

Props Links for Friday

Just a reminder that you have until May 15th to apply for one of the $1000 grants being offered by S*P*A*M. If you have a props internship or apprenticeship either now or in the near future, you are eligible, and it is super easy to apply for!

Slammin’ Ham! – FFFriday Guest Post from Victoria Ross – For one of our shows at Triad, my apprentice cast and painted this very hefty ham out of silicone rubber. The final scene in Two Trains Running is punctuated by a character slamming the ham on the diner counter, and this ham made that slam very dramatic.

Someone Has To Clean Up After Broadway’s Creative Destruction – True West features the near-total destruction of everything on stage by the end of the performance, and the current Broadway production delivers that. Find out how the show’s prop team accomplished not only that, but the clean-up and reset before every show as well.

How Disney uses more than 7,000 props to make Galaxy’s Edge look and feel like a ‘Star Wars’ movie – The new Star Wars theme park requires a ton of very custom set dressing. Find out how Eric Baker and his team are salvaging airplane parts and other pieces of junk to build this “final frontier.”

Behind the Scenes at Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Props Warehouse – Chris Young, the props director at STC, explains how they accomplished all the blood effects in their recent production of The Oresteia.

First Prop Links of December

Get Up Close With the Props of Dear Evan Hansen – Take a look backstage at the hit Broadway show to see how the props are stored. This series of photos is a great look at all the minute detail that goes into preparing seemingly ordinary props. Even the most mundane details have some story behind it, or some kind of trick rigged into it to make the show run smoothly and consistently.

Woman’s Day Magazine’s Star Wars Playset Designs (1978, 1980) – In two separate issues in 1978 and 1980, Woman’s Day Magazine published plans and instructions to construct Star Wars playsets for the popular action figures. These plans had you build them fully from scratch, using sheets of plywood, plastic, laminates, and other raw materials. This article includes links to the original plans as well, so grab them while you can!

The Secret Tools Magicians Use to Fool You – In another photo series, Louis De Belle has photographed devices used by magicians for his upcoming book, and shares a few of them with us here. He doesn’t actually give away how any of the tricks work, but it is a fun exercise to guess what each magical prop accomplishes.

National Theatre explores “exquisite miniature world” of stage set models – The National Theatre in London has an exhibition of some of the set design models for shows that have been produced there since the 1970s. The exhibition runs until March 2019, and was curated by Eleanor Margolies, author of Props (Readings in Theatre Practice).

Prop Links of November

The Master of Paper Props – Great Big Story visits Ross MacDonald’s shop to see how he makes paper props for movies and television shows. This video delves into his process and into the power of paper props in general. If you haven’t seen Ross’ work before, this blog has covered him many times over the past nine years.

Want my job? with Khadija Raza, set and costume designer – Khadija talks with Voice about her job as a theatre designer in anticipation of TheatreCraft, the UK’s largest theatrical careers event for 16-30 year-olds.

Shrinking the world: why we can’t resist model villages – Simon Garfield ponders why we are drawn to miniature urban landscapes and why model builders feel compelled to create them. Along the way, he treats us to many photographs of some of the world’s finest examples of miniatures and model towns.

Original Big Bird, Caroll Spinney, Leaves ‘Sesame Street’ After Nearly 50 Years – In case you missed the news a few weeks ago, Caroll Spinney is retiring from Sesame Street after its 50th Anniversary special. Spinney has played both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since the show’s inception, making him one of the last original cast members to leave the show. The New York Times has this fantastic retrospective of his career.

Mortal Artists – The Craftsmen | Episode 3 – The upcoming Mortal Engines film features massive mobile cities that prowl a post-apocalyptic landscape. This video looks at all the prop builders who constructed the imaginative weapons and devices that make up this world.