The Chicago Tribune has a story on making fake food for a play called Smokefall. The twist here is that the characters are eating dirt and drinking paint.
Playmakers Rep is making some fake vegetation for Into the Woods. The witch’s costume is actually covered in vegetables from her garden, so the costume craft shop is churning out latex lettuce leaves to sew into a dress.
Propnomicon points us to this new Lovecraft-based prop making blog called Elder Props. It already has lots of tutorials and how-tos for a number of projects.
If you ever wanted to know about marbleizing paper, this page has a run-down of several different techniques, from basic to advanced.
Here is an interesting article on Chad Taylor, a Cleveland-based prop maker who builds replicas of film and comic book props for cosplayers around the world.
This week’s must-read comes from The A/V Club, who interviewed props master Chris Call. This very in-depth conversation takes a look at his career, propping everything from Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Alias, to The Closer. The article takes the time to really dig into the nuts and bolts of a TV prop master’s job and Call’s career path, going far beyond the standard “what’s the craziest prop you’ve ever had to make?!?” kind of questions.
Wired takes a look at Adam Savage’s replica prop-making hobby, and asks the burning question of why he does it. Spolier alert: it’s because props can tell a story.
What did Kermit the Frog look like before the Muppets? Collector’s Weekly takes a look at the history of the Muppets, including photographs of a pre-Sesame Street Kermit, and delves into Jim Henson’s journey from five-minute sketches on a local TV station to a worldwide empire of puppet and creature manufacturing.
Fast Company has an article on five dream jobs that will make your inner child extremely jealous, and “prop master” is one of them. Yes, being a prop master is on-par with running a cat-café or being a chocolate scientist. I’ll have to remember I’m living the dream the next time I’m cleaning a mouse nest out of the bottom of a stove or lugging a sofa up three flights of stairs.
I guess Harbor Freight finally realized that they are a top destination for cosplayers and prop makers here in the US. They posted their top 10 must-have cosplay tools/accessories.
Prop maker Gemma Wright has been working on an exquisitely detailed replica of the game board from Jumanji. Check out the months-long process on her blog, or skip to the summary and photographs on this post at Nerdist.
Chris Schwartz has some good thoughts and advice on how to store your hand tools (be sure to check out parts two and three as well). Of course, props get a little more complicated because we have tools from many disciplines, and never build the same thing twice, but the basic principles here are still worth exploring for your own hand tool storage area.
Happy August, everyone. While the “regulars” still have some summer left, those of us in theatre are already gearing up to work on all the new shows for the fall season, not to mention those of us in the academic world getting ready for the new school year. But there’s still time to read about props stuff on the internet, so enjoy the following:
Priceonomics has a short history of fake money in the movies. It delves into some of the more high-profile cases of fake movie money making it into the real world, and the resultant crack-downs by the Secret Service. It goes into detail of some of the rules of using money on film and how the top prop houses modify their fake money to follow those rules.
Casey Neistat has a new video series on his studio, and his first video shows his red box system of organization. He’s an independent film maker, but his system solves the same problems that prop shops have: how to save a little bit of everything, but be able to find it quickly.
Adam Savage has spent over four years painstakingly recreating the Mecha-Glove from the Hellboy film. Tested has a video where they talk with Adam about all the various processes and challenges of building this complex piece.
Finally, Credits has a great piece on building The Guardians of the Galaxy. Though it only briefly touches on the props for the film, it does delve into a lot of the physical and design work that went on in a number of the departments. Plus, it looks like a really exciting film.
This week, famed illustrator and designer HR Giger passed away. Perhaps best known for his work designing the creatures in Alien, his aesthetic has found its way into numerous sci-fi and horror films, and even theatrical productions. BFI has a great post showing behind-the-scenes photos of Giger working on Alien, while Creative Review has a good round-up of his conceptual and illustration work.
BBC Culture shares a viewpoint that filmmakers are returning to old-school special effects and real miniatures. While CGI can accomplish things that are impossible in reality, real sets, props and models still give more authenticity to a film, and in some cases, can be cheaper and easier to incorporate. So keep on proppin’!
The previous article stems from the announcement that Disney will be incorporating more practical effects and less CGI in their upcoming round of Star Wars films. Esquire also had an interview with Roger Christian, the set decorator on the original trilogy. He talks about how he took scrap metal from airplanes to make the halls of the Millennium Falcon, and other interesting tidbits.
Sticking with the Star Wars theme of today, Tested has the tale of how obsessive fans built a better Han Solo blaster. Several fans spent countless hours reverse-engineering the prop weapon used in the original film to come up with a replica that was as screen-accurate as possible. It’s like a detective story and a prop-making story all wrapped into one.