I am currently in tech for Pump Boys and Dinettes at Triad Stage, opening next Friday. This means I’m really tired, but I can read lots of things on the Internet. Here are some articles I’ve come across recently:
First up is this interview and video with prop master Russell Bobbitt. He has, perhaps, one of the more enviable positions in the world of prop-making at the moment: providing the iconic weapons for the Marvel Universe, such as Captain America’s shield, Thor’s hammer and Iron Man’s arc reactor. The article doesn’t delve into much detail, but it is still a fun read.
In the New York Times is this fantastic profile on set designer Eugene Lee. You may not recognize Lee’s name (unless you attended USITT), but you probably recognize the set to Wicked, or to Saturday Night Live, which he has been designing since it began. His house is practically a props warehouse, filled to the brim with objects and collections he has acquired over the years, and this article has plenty of photographs showing it all off.
Here is a promising new blog with a fun name: Eat, Clay, Love. It only has a few posts so far from UK-based artist Shahriar, but I’ve already picked up some new techniques I want to try.
Finally, if you have been following Shawn Thorsson’s quest to build a life-size ED-209 from Robocop, part three of his series went up last week. He’s doing a lot of molding and casting of the parts for this installment, and explains how he does it.
First up is a really great article on Russell Bobbitt. He is described as a prop maker, but he is really more of a props designer. He is responsible for designing and creating Iron Man’s Arc Reactor, Captain America’s shield and Thor’s hammer, among other things. It’s the kind of job most prop makers dream about. He also does a great service in reminding filmmakers about the importance of physical objects in a world where more and more elements are being computer generated.
If you are a Sons of Anarchy fan, you will enjoy this interview with Bryan Rodgers, the property master on the show. Rodgers shows off some of the fake body parts, foam weapons and other props he has provided for the series.
For fans of the show Haven, here is a nice little interview with Jason Shurko, the property master. The show actually contains a few wonderful little hand-made prop artifacts, which Shurko and his team produce in-house.
By now, many of you must have seen the video of “Tradinno”, a fire-breathing animatronic dragon that holds the record as the world’s largest walking robot. He was built for the German production of Drachenstich, which has been performed in the Bavarian town of Fürth im Wald for the past five hundred years. Check out the video below:
In my previous post, I linked to an interview with Russell Bobbitt, who uses 3D printing technology to make some of his props. Here is a video where he shows off one of those props, the Arc Reactor from Iron Man 2.
The Guardian has a nice little article on How to Make a Haunted House. It details how the set dresser, prop master and other members of the art department use locations, architecture and props to create the mood of the upcoming ghost film, The Woman in Black. They purchased and borrowed tons (or “tonnes”, as this is a British film) of Victorian-era objects and paraphernalia to dress the sets.
Have you heard of the new show Prop Freaks? Because it’s a TV show about people who make and collect props. Well, it’s a show in development; you can watch short clips on the website until it finds an audience. But it looks pretty cool, and I can’t wait to see more.
Here is an interview with Russell Bobbitt on how he uses 3D printing technology to create many of his props. Russell Bobbitt is the film prop master who has made some fairly recognizable props, such as the glowing chest piece from Iron Man 2, or the wristband laser gun from Cowboys and Aliens.
Here is an interesting video on using a vacuum former to make masks. There’s a few things that make this especially intriguing: his rig is portable so he is able to take it to an event where other people can vacuum form their own masks, and he uses a bicycle pump to draw out the air rather than a vacuum cleaner. Also, the music playing in the background is a Nintendo beat version of MOP’s “Ante Up” with computers rapping (done by an artist named “Danny Drive Thru”), so that alone makes this worth watching.
While not prop-related, this last link is pretty fun. Watch this time-lapse video of stagehands from IATSE local 33 set up the orchestra pit at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It’s a pretty ambitious sounding project too; over 1,000 musicians will perform.
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies