Not too much going on this week. Everyone seems to be transitioning from regular seasons/school to summer work. Still, there were some interesting things on the Internet in the past couple of days:
My latest article for Stage Directions Magazine is up. “Fast, Cheap and Under Control” takes a look at how you build a prop when that prop has never been built before. I interviewed several props people for their perspectives on this particularly perplexing problem; Tom Fiocchi, props instructor at Ohio University; Lori Harrison, props director at San Francisco Opera; and Seán McArdle, worldwide freelance prop maker.
My latest magazine article is out. In “Printing a Set“, I talked with several set designers who are using 3D printing technology as part of their process.
Here’s an interesting story. Some soldiers in Afghanistan were having trouble carrying and reloading ammo for the new guns they were issued. To improvise a solution, they were inspired by a prop which Jesse Ventura used in the film Predator, and set out to recreate it. It worked.
Here is a local news article on Karl Luthin, the owner of KEL Equine Productions, an Illinois-based company which has provided historically-accurate equine props, horse wranglers and set dressing to the film industry for years. His latest work will be seen in the upcoming Lincoln film by Steven Spielberg. You have probably seen his props in films such as “Glory,” “The Patriot” or “The Last of the Mohicans“. Check out his webpage too, for photographs of many of the items he has.
We learn what a “gold room” is in television parlance, how they stab somebody, and many other nifty little tidbits. One surprise is that they use retractable knives for the stabbings; these have almost universally fallen out of favor with theatrical prop masters. Perhaps the repetition of performance in theatre makes it more likely for an accident to happen, as opposed to television, where it is used only once under the eye of the experienced prop master.
Also: thirty more days until Halloween!
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies