Late Weekend Prop Links

How Sharp Objects Made Amma’s Creepy Dollhouse – Don’t read this if you haven’t watched the show yet, since it contains major spoilers for the season finale. But the exquisite detail (and six-figure budget) that went into this dollhouse is stunning, and really shows off the craftsmanship that the props team is capable of.

Cinefex Vault #14 – Troy – Remember that movie, Troy? Wolfgang Petersen’s epic tale of Ancient Greece was filled with extremely accurate period detail, so when they needed boats, they built real boats. Marine coordinator Mike Turk’s business has been building ships in London since 1710 and supplying boats for film since 1938.

The Chair Maker: Lawrence Neal – Lawrence Neal is a fifth-generation chair maker. Watch him work his magic in this stunning short video.

When Damage Is Done – American Theatre recently covered the spate of harassment stories which have unfolded in several theaters over the past year. From Long Wharf, to the Guthrie, to the Alley, these otherwise-renowned institutions represent just the tip of the iceberg of bullying, harassment, and sexism that has long been brushed off in our industry.

Goodman Theatre

On the final stop of our tour of Chicago theaters is the largest of all, the Goodman Theatre. The Goodman is the city’s oldest nonprofit theater, and Alice Maguire has been properties supervisor there for nearly thirty years.

Behind the set at the Goodman
Behind the set at the Goodman

We first received a tour of their two theater spaces, both of which currently had shows on stage. Continue reading Goodman Theatre

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.

Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies