Tag Archives: props master

Super Fun Link Time

Creative England interviews props master Michael Betts. He worked on a number of television and film projects over in the UK, most notably the entire run of A Touch of Frost, which aired for nearly twenty years. He talks about his career and gives advice to young props people starting out. For those of us in the US, their studio system seems vastly different from what we are used to, and the comparison is quite fascinating.

“Super-Fan Builds” follows prop maker Tim Baker as he leads a team of builders who constructs one-of-a-kind items for the homes of superfans. His latest is a doghouse modeled after the house from Up, complete with floating balloons.

For a bit of fun, see how well you do in this quiz to match the sofa to the sitcom. It is interesting to see set photos of well-known sitcoms sans actors, so you can really focus on the design and selection of all the props and set dressing.

Finally, we have two stories on houses lost in time and preserved until the present. The first is this great series of photographs on the “Cloud House”, a Welsh farmhouse which has been abandoned for years and contains trinkets and artifacts from decades past. The second is this 1950s kitchen which has been pristinely preserved all these years without any updates or modifications.

Interview with Patrick Drone

The following is one of several interviews conducted by students of Ron DeMarco’s properties class at Emerson College.

Patrick Drone

by Dorcas Thete

Patrick Drone
Patrick Drone

How long have you been at the University of Michigan?

I have been here for nine years. I’ve had three different job titles. I have been the properties manager for two and a half years, which entails more of the administrative side of props, where I deal more with students and professors. Before that I was the associate properties manager for four years. I worked hand in hand with the props master; we would rotate on shows to cut down on burnout. I was hired at UMich as the properties artisans manager, I worked more on individual projects. Continue reading

Photograph by Tom Stanley

Interview with Christopher Haig

The following is one of several interviews conducted by students of Ron DeMarco’s properties class at Emerson College.

Christopher Haig, Prop Master, Arden Theatre Company

by Rachel Gallagher

Photograph by Tom Stanley
Photograph by Tom Stanley

“One of the key jobs on any film set is that of the property master, and his range of activity is perhaps the largest of all. If it ‘moves, it’s mine,’ the prop man can say, on most occasions.” People who Make Movies, by Theodore Taylor, 1967.

Being a prop master is a job where a person is in charge of getting and handling all props for a show. Properties, or “props” for short, are all the items used on a stage or set from hand held items to furniture. The job is very important because props really help tell the story and tell the audience more about what is happening in the play. There could be any number of props a prop master would have to be in charge of, from one to hundreds. These prop masters are some of the most important people on set and without them, propping would be chaotic. These people are invaluable when working in the theater. I had the opportunity to interview Chris Haig, an experienced prop master in Pennsylvania, about his work in the prop field. Continue reading

Podcast with Buist Bickley

Head on over to the “In 1 Podcast” site and check out this episode with Buist Bickley. Buist is fairly new to the New York props scene, but he has already served as production props supervisor (the Broadway term for “props master”) on a number of high profile shows: Other Desert CitiesThe MountaintopAct OneMothers and Sons, and many others.

The podcast is a little over two hours long, but you learn so much about working as a props supervisor in New York and on Broadway shows. Buist talks about how he gets hired on new shows, and what the beginning of the process is like. He discusses when he likes to put the real props into rehearsal (“as soon as possible”).  He divulges his favorite places to go shopping and how he manages to get things shipped as quickly as possible.

I learned a few things as well. I did not know that the props person is also responsible for providing rehearsal scenery. Buist talks about the intricacies of dealing with unions, and how once he gets to a theatre, he is no longer allowed to touch any of the props, or in some cases, even set foot on stage.

The episode is filled with so many more tidbits and information. Buist talks about his favorite designers to collaborate with, his favorite materials to use, and how he got started in the business. And check out the other episodes of “In 1″ as well, to learn more about your favorite Broadway designers.

Eric Hart

Interview with Eric Hart

The following is one of several interviews conducted by students of Ron DeMarco’s properties class at Emerson College.

A Man of Many Hats: The Story of Eric Hart

by Junior Johnson

Eric Hart
Eric Hart

In Greensboro, North Carolina, within the Triad Stage theatre, a tireless artist can be found scavenging for materials to create some of the most meticulous and detail-oriented props, which have been featured in countless shows, operas, and productions all across the nation. That artist’s name is Eric Hart, a props master and artisan. Only in his thirties, Eric has an extensive and diverse résumé that reflects the amount of passion, drive, and professionalism which Eric has for his props. With the determination to succeed, Eric has gained the respect and attention of his colleagues and other people within the theatre community. Continue reading