Tag Archives: lord of the rings

Unboxing Some Props Links

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!

Smithsonian Magazine has a great article on the history of the humble suitcase. It seems that every show that takes place in the twentieth century involves a suitcase. Even the shows that don’t require a suitcase often get them added in rehearsal (only to be cut during tech rehearsals when they realize they can’t carry their other props, and they don’t know where to put the suitcase at the end of the scene).

Speaking of histories of objects, the Toaster Museum is a whole website dedicated to the history of the toaster.

Popular Woodworking has posted a quick guide to screws. This downloadable PDF first appeared in a 2004 issue of their magazine. Now you can download it or print it out for easy reference to the different kinds of screws, different screw heads, and the best screws to use for common applications.

The Credits talks about building the sets for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. Though the initial reviews of the film indicate it may be the weakest of all the Lord of the Rings films, the scale and detail of the sets—both miniature and full-scale—are breathtaking to behold.

Dug North came across these nifty kits for getting started with automata. Timberkits are solid wood pieces that you assemble to make your own working automata. Seems like a cool gift if you didn’t get what you wanted this Christmas!

Speaking of Christmas gifts, if you got my Prop Building Guidebook this year, head on over to the Amazon page and leave a review!

Friday Prop Nuggets

Friday Prop Nuggets

Here’s a short little audio story and regular story about Annett Mateo, who makes puppets for the Seattle Children’s Theatre.

I’ve never seen the 1982 film The Deadly Spawn, but John Dods, the special effects director, has a ton of behind-the-scenes photos showing the construction of the creature.

Super-fan builds is an online show where prop makers build one-of-a-kind items for obsessive fans of all things pop culture. In the latest episode, Tim Baker and his crew build a Hobbit house litter box and Eye of Sauron scratching post for a cat-loving fan of Lord of the Rings.

Tsabo Tsaboc has a set of photographs detailing the build of a dagger from the Elder Scrolls Online video game. Hat tip to Propnomicon for finding this one.

A Practical Guide to Friday Links

Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Bill Tull, the prop master on Conan O’Brian, has some Mother’s Day gift ideas for those on a budget.

Here’s a blast from the past: an Interview with Anna Marchant, who was a prop maker on the two Matrix sequels. It’s a great interview because it really cuts to the heart of what kind of materials she works with, how the prop department interacts with other departments, and all the other day-to-day details that other interviews forego to talk about “cool props” or “what it’s like to work with movie stars”.

Dallas Poll, a prop maker on Lord of the Rings, had his house burglarized recently, with a number of props and memorabilia stolen. To make matters worse, one of the items stolen was his Stormtrooper costume—and the thieves struck on Star Wars Day!

Rich Dionne’s latest post is about working together in the theatre. This isn’t just about how a playwright works with a director; this is about collaboration within the production department itself, and how important it is for props, costumes, lighting, sound and scenery to occasionally work together on tasks and not just throw walls up around their individual departments.

Robert Lang does a nice job summing up the advantages of not measuring your work. Relying on measuring devices introduces inaccuracies into your work. Sounds counter-intuitive, right? Check the article out.

Behind the Scenes: Props in the Movies

Behind the Scenes: Props in the Movies

Nowadays, DVDs come with all sorts of special features, such as behind-the-scenes footage. Occasionally, there’s a clip about the props of the film. Oftentimes, these featurettes are fairly fluffy, presenting a couple of key props or special effects and only going so far as to show “Look, we had to make props for this movie too!” But every once in awhile, you find one  that goes a little further and shows the props people at work, with a discussion of the specific challenges the props master faced on the film or television show.

I found some of these on YouTube to share with you.

Behind the scenes – Making of the Lord of the Rings Props

Lord of the Rings took place in an entirely invented world, and so nearly all the props had to be built. It’s amazing how many artisans and craftspeople they had on this show, and this video highlights some of them.

Life on Mars Behind the Scenes with the Prop Master

Life on Mars takes place in 1973, and this video does a great job of showing how Jim Lillis, the prop master, and his team went about researching and organizing all the information they needed to prop the show.

Behind the Scenes on Supernatural

This is a bit on the fluffy side, but it is interesting to hear the Christopher Cooper, the prop master, talk about the process of creating more fantastical props for this show.

So there you have it. Are there any videos available online that you’ve found interesting or helpful? Drop a link in the comments.