Prop Master: How a “Star Wars” Superfan Scoured the Earth for Space Debris – Collectors Weekly has a fascinating article about Brandon Alinger and how he amassed a large collection of movie props from iconic 80s blockbusters. He got his start at age 17 when he convinced his parents to take him to Tunisia to scour the desert for props and set pieces left behind from Star Wars.
San Diego Opera to sell studio to help stabilize finances – In order to reach a more sustainable budget, the San Diego Opera is selling the building which holds their scene and paint shop. It sounds like they were not really using the whole building, so they are selling it and then leasing the portion they actually need. From what I’ve heard online, none of their staff are being laid off either.
Talking Craft Beer With the Prop Master From HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ – This interview with Jared Scardina, the props master on Silicon Valley, delves into how much thought and effort goes into choosing what kind of beer a character should drink.
Props, Past To Present – Ian McPherson looks at prop building skills from the past and present and wonders if they can exist side-by-side. This article comes from the new “Theatre Art Life,” which features articles written by live entertainment industry professionals.
Odin Makes: Thor’s Helmet from Thor: Ragnarok – This video shows how Odin makes a super-quick and super-cheap foam version of the helmet from the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok. He goes from patterning to painting in this one.
Inside The Deeply Nerdy—And Insanely Expensive—World Of Hollywood Prop Collecting – Wired takes a look at some of the most expensive movie props ever sold and the collectors who bought them.
Found: A Treasure Trove of Candy Wrappers Dating Back to the Depression – Eric Nordstrom found a sweet collection of 1920s candy wrappers while exploring Chicago’s Congress Theater. Be sure to follow the links to his Facebook where he posts more photos in the comments to his original photo.
Off-Broadway Producers and United Scenic Artists Create First Ever Agreement for Off-Broadway Designers – I’m interested to see what this means for prop designers. USA does not seem to cover prop designers; I’ve never seen anyone credited with “prop designer” in a theater under USA’s jurisdiction. Off-Broadway has never been under USA’s jurisdiction until this week, and that is where you find the bulk of credited prop designers. Will that continue?
Ross MacDonald: The Best Set Props Go Unnoticed – An interview and photographs with Ross MacDonald, prop builder on Joy, Boardwalk Empire, Hateful Eight, and so many more.
At a Brooklyn High School, Plenty of Drama Before the Curtain Goes Up – The New York Times takes a backstage look at the Edward R. Murrow High School in Midwood, Brooklyn. They have an absurd amount of students in technical theatre classes working to put on shows with production values that rival many smaller regional theatres. I think my high school had one kid who did tech.
Jay Duckworth: Proptologist, Bear, Philosopher of the Hand – Stage Directions interviews Jay Duckworth, prop master at the Public Theater. While his prop creds are truly remarkable (including the pre-Broadway Hamilton), this interview focuses on what it means for Jay to be an out gay man working in technical theatre.
Peter Jackson’s Movie Prop Collection – It turns out that Peter Jackson, maker of both awesome and horrible movies, has an overwhelmingly extensive collection of props, puppets, and practical effects from films throughout history. Tested and Adam Savage take a look at it in this large photo essay. There’s a video, too, if that’s more your speed.
Happy Halloween – The Home & Family Yard 2016 – Every year, Dave Lowe goes all out to decorate a house for Halloween as part of his job as props master for the Hallmark Channel. Check out pictures of the final result, then browse the earlier entries in his blog where he photographs the process of building all the various elements.
As you may have noticed, articles on this blog have been appearing a little less frequently than before. I have decided to drop down to only two posts per week, rather than three. New articles will now be appearing every Tuesday and Friday. I have some ongoing family issues that take a lot of my time, and this seemed like a good way to ease the pressure without just totally dropping the blog altogether.
That being said, on to the links!
Volpin Props has a step-by-step guide up for his latest prop creation, a Magister’s staff from the Dragon Age video game. I’ve been following the progress of this piece on his Twitter and Facebook, and it’s great to see the whole thing finally come together. And, it’s a nice introduction to matrix molding.
I don’t know the source of this, but this video showing the inner workings of animatronic heads recently surfaced on the Internet. I find it fascinating to see all the mechanisms and bits that go on the inside, and how it all comes to life when the skin goes on top.
This comes from last July, but I never actually posted it: Ten Props that Have Been Used in More than One Movie. One day, I want to do this for my own shows, because some props in my stock seem to be trotted out for every other production.
Do you need a “Do Not Disturb” sign for your show? How about 8700 of them? Collector’s Weekly looks at the “Do Not Disturb” collection of Edoardo Flores, who has accumulated that many from hotels around the world.
We start off today with this look at making a mold of a Zoidberg mask. These techniques are way above my pay-grade, but it is interesting to see such expert work done on a mold. This is actually the 9th installment of an ongoing series dedicated to creating a mask of the eponymous Futurama character, so check out the other parts if you want to see how it was sculpted and designed.
Set designer Anna Louizos has grown tired of seeing set models, set decoration and props ending up in the dumpster after a show closes, so she has begun a website selling them off to collectors. Check out this news story on how she got started, then head on over to the web site itself. Collecting theatre memorabilia is not nearly as wide-spread as collecting movie memorabilia, but hopefully this site makes it more common.
This sounds like it could be a nightmare: your theatre company wants to use the scene/prop shop as a performing space for one of their shows. Check out this video as Paddy Duggin, a carpenter and prop maker at the State Theatre Company in Australia, explains how they did exactly that for an upcoming production of The Seagull.
And finally, we have the movies, where if you need a plane, you just build a plane. Find out why the production designer for Non-Stop needed to build a plane from scratch rather than re-purposing an existing one.