It is the day you’ve all been waiting for. After two months, the winners of the Prop Building Guidebook Contest have been announced! Head on over to the official announcement page to see them. If you just want a list of the winners, here they are:
This contest had 81 entries from a wide spectrum of prop makers, and it was a challenge coming up with the winners. My criteria for judging was creativity, quality, and presentation. While many of the entries were very strong in one or two of these categories, the winners were equally strong in all three.
I want to thank everyone who entered. It was amazing to see how many prop makers are out there and all the crazy things you’ve built. I also wanted to thank all of you who voted; there were over 900 votes cast to decide which prop was your favorite.
Of course, thanks to Focal Press for creating and running the contest. Thanks to the companies who provided prizes as well: Rosco, Wonderflex World, Design Master, and Beacon Adhesives.
And who knows, maybe I’ll have another contest next year. What do you think?
Hi, everybody. I start my summer job at the Santa Fe Opera today; I was traveling and settling in this weekend, so I did not have much time to write.
But I did want to take this chance to remind you to enter the Prop Building Guidebook contest. You still have until April 30th to enter. But more importantly, today is the day you can start voting on entries. You get one vote per day. You can vote on your own entry every day until the contest ends, or you can vote on a different entry every day.
Either way, the entry with the most votes when the contest closes will win their own prize of $100 worth of Focal Press books.
Tested has another great episode of their talk show where Adam Savage, Will Smith and Norm Chan discuss building an inexpensive toolkit for beginner makers. By “maker”, they mean someone doing small-scale fabrication of wood, various metals and plastics, some fabric and leather, model-making, and a bit of electronics, so really, it’s great advice for beginning prop makers as well. You can either watch a video or listen to a podcast of the show, which runs about 41 minutes long. They have also written down the list of tools they suggest, though it’s a good idea to listen to the show because they talk about how to buy tools and why you should get certain tools as well.
In case you missed it, I came across The Painters Journal, a publication about scenic art that ran from 2003-2010. All 22 issues are available online to read. Scenic art deals with paints, coatings, texture and sometimes even sculpting, so many of the articles are invaluable to props people as well.
Make Magazine has posted ten tips for using a circular saw. They’re all pretty good, though I would add that hearing protection should be worn too, as circ saws are almost always loud little beasts. A dust mask is usually a good idea as well.
I liked this recent article about Nick Ruiz, a theatre carpenter in the San Jose area. It’s simple and probably familiar to a lot of us in the industry, but stories like this are so rarely written.
And just a reminder that you have less than a month to enter the Prop Building Guidebook Contest! Surely you have a photograph of a prop you’ve built, and who doesn’t want a grab-bag of prop making supplies? The entries I’ve received so far look fantastic, so thanks to everyone who has already submitted.
Just a reminder to enter the Prop Building Guidebook contest if you haven’t already. You have until April 30th to send in a photo or video of a prop you’ve made; there are already dozens of really great entries.
NYC Past has gigantic black and white photographs of New York City throughout history, from the early twentieth century through the 1990s.
When you have the time, take a listen to this interview of Christina Haberkern, a film prop maker. She mainly does graphics and illustration for ISS, and has made props for films such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Argo, Inception, and J. Edgar. It’s a much more in-depth, down-to-earth and personal glimpse into the life of a working prop maker than most of those behind-the-scenes “aren’t props fun and crazy” fluff pieces that are often produced.
Finally, as a nice break before the weekend, check out this video where famed prop maker Dragon Dronet (Star Trek shows and films, Babylon 5, Eraser, and many more) is challenged to recreate a prop gun from District 9 in only 3 days. It’s a fairly quirky film that ventures into the surreal, but it does a great job showing Dragon’s process, and the result is a really cool prop.
I just got back from this year’s SETC Conference in Louisville, KY. Focal Press had a nice display for The Prop Building Guidebook: For Theatre, Film, and TV, which will (hopefully) become available at some point today. As you can see from the photograph below, there is another exciting announcement:
That’s right, a contest! You can send in a photo or video of a prop you make and win a pretty cool collection of prizes, including my book, some more Focal Press books, and some prop-making supplies and materials. The contest page has more details on the prizes and how to enter; there are separate categories for students and professionals, as well as a category for group entries, since we often build props in collaboration with others. The contest runs until April 30th, so you have some time to prepare your entry, but don’t wait too long!
In other news, I will be at USITT (March 20-23 in Milwaukee, WI). Stage Directions magazine is hosting a book signing at their booth (#100) on Friday, March 22nd, at 12:30 pm. You will be able to purchase the book there if you do not already have one. You can also check out the latest issue of Stage Directions magazine, which has an article on the Milwaukee Rep props shop by yours truly. A press release about the signing will be going out later today, but I thought I would let everyone know now, since schedules at USITT tend to fill up fast.
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies