Spend twenty minutes to watch this fantastic mini-documentary on the life of a prop master. The American Theatre Wing follows Buist Bickley, Kathy Fabian and Faye Armon-Troncoso as they navigate New York City to prop their shows.
Gabrielle Donathan has a very useful article called “The Cost of Custom Cosplay: Where Does the Money Go?” In it, she takes three complete costumes she has constructed, and breaks down every component and task in the process to show their individual costs. The total is basically what she charges her clients. If you think custom work is expensive, this shows why. And if you do your own work, this is a great primer on how to break down a project and account for all the expenses before you come up with a price quote.
I like this charming antique story of talking tools who argue over who is the most important when it comes to constructing a wooden box. Guess what? It only works when the tools work together and play their unique role.
Finally, production designer K.K. Barrett talks about creating the unique futuristic world of Her. The movie itself, a sci-fi romance film from Spike Jonze, looks fascinating. Though production design is somewhat removed from the world of props, it is always interesting to read how the various production departments on a film work together, and the interview deals a lot with how the physical objects and tactile qualities of the world relate to the story of the film, which is something props masters do deal with.
A fun new blog has appeared from a theatre props artisan: Meanwhile in the Prop Shop… It’s a simple stream of photographs and quotes showing the weird and often surreal scenes that play out in a props shop on a daily basis.
Conan O’Brian has a recurring segment featuring the show’s prop master, Bill Tull. With this Sunday being Super Bowl Sunday, Tull gives us some Budget Super Bowl Party Tips.
Awhile back, I pointed to a page with a few color photographs from Pre-World War I Paris. Here is its bigger cousin, a whole website full of color photography from Paris circa 1914 (give or take a few years).
Two weeks ago, I had a link to a post on Matt Munson’s blog. Munson is also working on converting a Chevy Caprice into a Batmobile, which he calls the “Mattmobile.” Check out all the posts he has, because it is quite the epic build. He has been shooting mini episodes along the way, and is up to 29 as of this writing.
Finally, I dug up this old video about the making of the Stargate from Stargate (the film). It delves into a lot more than just the construction of the Stargate itself; the scale of the sets they built were incredible. It’s not entirely about props, but whatever, I’m a big Stargate fan.
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”.
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.
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies