Hollywood’s Female Crewmembers Suffer Harassment Without the Platform of Stardom – While harassment of actresses has been in the news lately, the ongoing and pervasive harassment of female crew members is less visible. In theatre, the problem is even less acknowledged; as far as I’ve seen, none of the backstage publications have addressed the continuing problem of sexual harassment of women theatre technicians, designers, and students.
How to make a Shishkebab Prop from Fallout 4 – Zonbi brings us this video showing how she built this flaming sword weapon from the popular Fallout 4 video game. The materials are inexpensive, but the result is pretty hot.
I just finished Buyer and Cellar at Triad Stage. We needed an all-white antique French chaise. I could not find any within our budget, especially since I knew I would need to reupholster anything I found.
One of the great prop secrets is that you can order furniture frames from companies that sell to professional upholsters. I found a company that made a chaise in the style I needed. You can order a frame unfinished and knocked down, which means it arrives without any paint or stain, and it is completely unassembled. The cost is a fraction of a finished piece (and the shipping is far cheaper, too).
The frame came flatpacked just like a piece of IKEA furniture, only instead of allen keys, it fit together with glue and dowels.
Other than a few extra (I hope) pieces, assembling the whole piece was easy to do with the provided instructions.
At this point, a real upholster would start adding webbing for the seat. I like to put a flat sheet good across the whole base. It makes it much more rigid, which a lot of actors prefer because they can get out of the chair much more quickly. It also provides support for when the director wants someone to stand on the chair, which will inevitably happen (and did indeed happen on this show).
I painted the exposed wood before adding any fabric to avoid a mess. I upholstered the back and inner panels first, because the outer panels would block off where I needed to staple.
The chaise has a groove routed along the edge, so I stapled the fabric into that and then trimmed the excess. My thought was that I could stick some 3/16″ decorative cording on top to hide the staples and give it a nice, clean edge.
I covered the side panels in cardstock and put the cushion directly on that. I also tried to cover the back in cardstock, but that didn’t give enough support, so we needed to go back in and reinforce it with some webbing.
The seat is a luxurious piece of four-inch foam made possible by a 70%-off coupon from Jo-Ann Fabric.
In the picture above, you can see the fabric before it was trimmed. I found an Olfa knife worked really well. We also found some gold cord in the Christmas aisle at the craft store that worked well to finish the edges.
The remainder of the upholstering was done by Keri Dumka and Shay Hopkins-Paine, who worked with me on this show. Overall, it was an interesting experience to upholster a piece of furniture totally from scratch. It also gave me some ideas on how to build upholstered furniture in the future.
You may have noticed these posts have gotten a bit sporadic lately. I’m not busier than before, but my mornings have become much less predictable, which is when I do most of my writing. I should be getting back on track soon as I adapt to my new life.
R is for Robot – Cinefex blog takes a look at the history of robots on film, from early costumes and stop motion, to today’s marriage of motion-capture and CGI.
30 Days Until Halloween: The Home and Family Yard Design – Though we’re already halfway through October, it’s not too late to catch up with Dave Lowe’s Halloween project. Every year, he creates a massive outdoor Halloween display for the Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family show, filled with dozens of handmade props.
They Don’t Make Theatre Sets Like they Used To – MessyNessy talks about when shows used to have hundreds of props, and has pictures to prove it. I think we can still find contemporary examples of set designs with intricate detail and an antique’s store worth of dressing, although none of it comes close to the Hippodrome in the early twentieth century.