This Monday, July 24th, is Propmaster Day! Propmaster Day was first recognized in 2009 when the Mayor of Louisville presented a plaque to the attendees of the annual S*P*A*M Conference recognizing their hard work.
Making The Lich King Armor for Blizzard! – Frank Ippolito and his shop constructed this fantastic suit of armor for a video game company, and Tested has a video showing the whole process. It is fully chromed and features light and smoke effects.
Maui’s Hook – Moana – DIY PROP SHOP – I just stumbled across the DIY Prop Shop show, which has a handful of videos showing simple ways to build props from pop culture. I like this one on building Maui’s giant bone hook from Moana using insulation foam and Worbla.
Fake guns, real problems at Comic-Con – Comic conventions are increasingly cracking down on realistic prop weapons, including fantasy weapons like swords and laser guns. CNet looks at some of the latest news stories and interviews a number of cosplayers to delve into the details of this trend.
This Sonic Amplifier Replica from Overwatch Actually “Shoots” Music – John Edgar Park built a replica of this video game prop, and Make Magazine has a three-part video series showing the entire process. It features a ton of electronics and microcontroller programming, so if you’re interested in what those devices can achieve, check this out.
The 100 Greatest Props in Movie History, and the Stories Behind Them – Thrillist has put together a list of the hundred greatest movie props ever, at least from American films. What sets this list off from others is they contacted prop masters and other people who worked on the films, so you get one hundred stories about great props and where they came from.
20 Years of the 501st Legion: How The Star Wars Costuming Group Became a Force For Good – The 501st is a worldwide group of amateur cosplayers who dress up in screen-accurate Stormtrooper costumes. For their twentieth anniversary, SyFy tells the story of how they got started and what they’ve grown into.
Best Theatre Cities in the U.S. – If you are wondering where to move to find those sweet, sweet jobs in theater, Paste Magazine has compiled a list of nine cities (outside of New York) with a thriving theater scene. I’ve lived and worked in two of these. Do you agree with the list?
Crafting Adventure Time’s Enchiridion as an Ode to Medieval Book Making – Make Magazine points us to this fantastical book created from scratch by Elder Props. It’s got sculpting, it’s got casting, it’s got distressing, it’s got everything!
Why Puppets (and Puppeteers) Are Still Important – Smithsonian has a great article on the world of puppetry today, including a short interview with Basil Twist. The article has a plenitude of photos from the Smithsonian’s puppetry collection; if you are in Washington, DC, you can check it all out in person.
Inside Syfy’s Cosplay Melee Workshop – Syfy Channel has a new competition show called Cosplay Melee, where contestants build original costumes and props in an insane time crunch. Tested takes us inside the workshop they use, with a look at all the tools and materials they have access to.
E-cig/vapepen smoke-machine for cosplay and props – Wayne’s Workshop shows us how to modify a vape pen so it can shoot a small burst of smoke with the touch of a button. If you want to do this trick in an Equity production, the Equity Time and Distance Guidelines lists a few e-cigarettes you can use without any testing.
6 Theatre Workers You Should Know – American Theatre just picked Karin Rabe Vance as one of this month’s theatre workers. Karin is the props master at the Alley Theatre, which just had a major renovation done to their production facilities. Her shop produces some enviable work, and as a fellow S*P*A*M member, she is a great help to the props community.
Designer Lez Brotherston claims boom in theatre admin jobs has taken toll on technical roles – I once walked the facilities of a theatre company which had gone out of business and were auctioning off their building and assets. The admin office was filled with rows and rows of desks; they probably had 30 people working in there. But they had no production or technical workers on staff, and produced only one show a year. I’m sure other reasons exist for their bankruptcy, but I can’t see how a setup like that could ever be successful, even with a constant infusion of cash. Anecdotally too, it seems more and more young theatre artists want to get into the admin side of things, and fewer want to do any of the hands-on work. But ultimately, you can’t get a show in front of an audience by sitting in front of a computer all day or by talking in a meeting. You have to physically build, paint, sew, wire, and source every last bit, and then heft it through the theatre door.
Free Download for Halloween: The Coffin Chapter – Just in time for Halloween, or perhaps for your remount of Christmas Carol, comes this free chapter from one of Lost Art Press’ books. It’s a lot of hand woodworking, but you can easily adapt the instructions to build one with power tools. I’m dying to try this out.
The Humble Book Bundle: Cosplay – If you haven’t heard of “Humble Bundles”, they take a bunch of products and let you buy them all for however much you want to pay, with all the money going to charity. From now until October 28th, they have a bundle of cosplay books, which feature a lot of stuff that prop builders will find interesting. They are all e-books, but it’s very high quality stuff; some of the books have been reviewed here before, and others are by well-known prop builders whose work has been featured on this blog. Check it out before it’s too late!
The folks over at Center Theatre Group had to make a whole lot of fake salad for their production of Women Laughing Alone With Salad. Find out how Jon Ward and his props team honed in on the perfect recipe for a pretend salad.
Here we have 9 Real Job Skills You Lean From Being a Cosplayer, which is remarkably similar to the job skills you learn from being a prop maker. Of course, that assumes that they ever let you out of the props shop to look for another job. Back to work!
Whatever happened to Tony Montana’s “Little Friend”? Not that I was wondering, but this Hollywood Reporter article is a fascinating look at an iconic movie prop. Watch as it meanders its way around LA over the next few decades, popping up in other films here and there.
If you’ve never seen Adam Savage’s One Day Builds, you’re missing out! In his latest, he builds a sword from Hellboy. What makes these great is that they do not really skip over anything; it’s just a cameraman in the shop, showing every step he takes, and every mistake he makes. I also like how he doesn’t really use anything that’s out of the realm of the average props shop. His materials come from typical hardware stores and auto body shops, and his tools are pretty standard issue (well, that disc sander is kind of a beast).
You wouldn’t be a props person if you didn’t use hot glue. Make Magazine has 7 cool tips for working with hot glue.