Tag Archives: diy

Prop Rehearsal Notes

Happy Friday, everyone! I have a short, but sweet, list of links today:

This should keep you busy for awhile: 110 Best DIY Tips Ever. Popular Mechanics magazine is celebrating its 110th anniversary, and to celebrate, they have looked through the pages of all their old issues to find all the best tips and tricks they have ever printed. Whether you are a beginner or an old pro, you are sure to learn something new here.

Tested has a great feature on how foam latex spawned a horror makeup revolution. They touch on the history of makeup and prosthetics in film, looking at some of the pioneers of the craft.

This next article comes from an interior designer, but it’s really about the secrets of a prop stylist. She lists some ways to improve your ability to dress and style a set (though she is actually talking about applying those tips to your own home).

Friday’s Link List

Friday’s Link List

The DIY movement and small, creative businesses are becoming more and more important to the economy as a whole. Many props people either freelance as their own “business”, or run side businesses making things (such as selling things on Etsy). Save Us. Be Creative! takes a look at this growing trend.

On the other side of the coin, traditional theatre work is still worth fighting over. This past week saw the end of a particularly intense strike by IATSE stagehands at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. This article delves into the reasons behind it and why young theatre technicians spent two weeks outside in the cold and snow to protest their concerns. Coincidentally, the play the theatre was putting on was The Mountaintop, which imagines Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last day as he prepares to address a crowd of striking workers. The company could not find any workers to break the strike, so they tried to run it without any technical elements; this included having an actress sit in a folding chair and read the lighting and sound cues (“Thunder and lightning! Crack!”).

In sadder news, this week legendary makeup artist Stuart Freeborn passed away. Though he has worked on films since before World War II, he is most famously known as the man who created Yoda and Chewbacca. The BBC has a good roundup of his life and career, as well as a very in-depth radio interview they did a few months back. The NY Times has a nice slideshow of his Star Wars work, while The Week has a collection of five stories about Stuart that are not made up. If you have the time, here is a video of Stuart himself talking about his work:

Last Links before the End of the World

Happy Winter Solstice, everybody! I will be taking off the next week or so for the holidays. Once the new year rolls around though, I’ll be having some pretty exciting stuff to post in the lead-up to my new book (coming February 26th). Until then, enjoy these links:

Here’s a great story and video about how a prop maker and a woodworker are collaborating on affordable prosthetic hands. Richard Van As, a South African woodworker, lost his fingers in a woodworking accident. He couldn’t afford commercial prosthetics, so he worked with Washington-state prop maker Ivan Owen to build his own prosthetic.

This is a nice little article about the Fulton Theatre scene shop (including the props shop), located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

I recently came across a forum called The Effects Lab. It is meant for special makeup effects, mask making and creature design, and has a fairly active community of people discussing sculpture, animatronics, casting and other skills useful to many types of prop makers.

Wired has an article and first in a series of videos on DIY mold-making; making molds with silicon rubber and casting in plastic resin is commonly used in props shops, and these videos are a pretty straight-forward guide to getting started. Of course, the whole “doing it in your house where you and your kids eat and sleep” is questionable in safety terms.

Here’s a fun and whimsical tale of the tools in a toolbox having an argument. Warning: do not read if you cannot stand puns.

 

Burlington Mini Maker Faire

Burlington Mini Maker Faire 2012 coming up

Burlington Mini Maker Faire

I thought I would plug a little event I will be taking part in. This Saturday, April 28, the first Burlington Mini Maker Faire will be taking place. If you live near the central North Carolina area, come check us out. It is at the Holly Hill Mall on Huffman Mill Road, and we will be there all day, from 10am to 9pm.

What is a Maker Faire? For regular readers of this blog, you may remember my trips to the New York City Maker Faire in 2011 and 2010. I described them as a mix of a science fair and a craft fair (with a bit of Burning Man thrown in). The fairs themselves grew out of Make Magazine, and are basically a chance for DIY enthusiasts of all kinds to show off the projects they work on in their spare time.

The members exhibiting in the Burlington Mini Maker Faire should make for a fairly diverse display. This is the group I was with on my trip to Roy Underhill’s Woodwright shop, as well as the group that organized the blacksmithing lesson and demonstration I took part in. A full list of exhibitors who will be at Saturday’s event is on their website; highlights include a homemade Tesla coil, a wood lathe demonstration, some quad-copters, steampunk props and ham radio demonstrations. You can also learn to solder and watch some 3D printers and CNC machines in action.

The local Times-News paper did a story on the group, which talked with Bennett Harris, the founder, about the goals of the fair and the group in general. If you’re in the area, come check us out!

Leaving Arizona

I am flying out of Arizona today after a fun and learning adventure at this year’s S*P*A*M conference. I have a lot of notes to go through and photographs to share from this years conference of propmasters, but I have to get to my computer first. Until then, enjoy this piece from PBS NewsHour on the Maker Movement. It’s an hour-long video exploring the DIY and maker movement, including things like Maker Faires and training in public schools.