I just got back from this year’s SETC Conference in Louisville, KY. Focal Press had a nice display for The Prop Building Guidebook: For Theatre, Film, and TV, which will (hopefully) become available at some point today. As you can see from the photograph below, there is another exciting announcement:
That’s right, a contest! You can send in a photo or video of a prop you make and win a pretty cool collection of prizes, including my book, some more Focal Press books, and some prop-making supplies and materials. The contest page has more details on the prizes and how to enter; there are separate categories for students and professionals, as well as a category for group entries, since we often build props in collaboration with others. The contest runs until April 30th, so you have some time to prepare your entry, but don’t wait too long!
In other news, I will be at USITT (March 20-23 in Milwaukee, WI). Stage Directions magazine is hosting a book signing at their booth (#100) on Friday, March 22nd, at 12:30 pm. You will be able to purchase the book there if you do not already have one. You can also check out the latest issue of Stage Directions magazine, which has an article on the Milwaukee Rep props shop by yours truly. A press release about the signing will be going out later today, but I thought I would let everyone know now, since schedules at USITT tend to fill up fast.
Hey, everybody. I’m going to be running my very first contest!
Specter Studios is a props, costumes and mask shop out of Pittsburgh, PA. Their theatrical props include a number of soft foam and latex weapons, such as the baseball bat above. It looks real, but you can beat people over the head with it. For theatre, of course. It’s the prize of this contest here.
Specter Studios is a bit different from those pop-up Halloween stores you see every year. They employ a number of local artists to make all of their products. You can actually see photos and bios of them at the website. Their Facebook page has even more behind-the-scenes photographs.
So what do you have to do to win? Simple, just leave a comment at this blog post saying what play, movie or TV show would be improved by the addition of this foam bat. If you follow the blog by email or through RSS, be sure to visit the website itself to leave your comment. Creativity is key, here. The contest will remain open until 11:59pm on Thursday, May 24, and I will announce the winner on the blog that Friday morning.
(The baseball bat can only be shipped to the Continental US, so the winner will have to provide a US address for the prize to be shipped to.)
This has already been making the rounds, but if you haven’t seen it yet, NPR’s Morning Edition had a story called Objectively Speaking, It’s All About The Prop Master. It talks about what a Hollywood film prop master’s job is like; you can check out photographs at the site, or listen to the story that played on the radio.
The American Package Museum (via S*P*A*M) is a fantastic collection of images of packaging through history. They do not list the years the various packages were in use, but they include size and scale references.
Here’s an interesting rant over at the Full Chisel Blog: Please Do Not use modern glue to repair old furniture. It ties into one of my own rants about how chairs were built to come loose over time, because the alternative is for them to break. The author rails against all modern glues, but polyurethane glue gets the brunt of his complaints (that’s what Gorilla Glue is). I’ve never used hide glue before, though I’m tempted after reading this. If you really, really do not want to set up pots of boiling water in your shop, the article points you to some modern alternatives of “hide glue in a bottle”.
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies