So this is from way back in January, but I somehow missed it. The “in 1 Podcast” talked with Kathy Fabian about her life as a Broadway props master. It’s two and a half hours of fascinating conversation about what it takes to prop a show in New York City and getting a production up and running on the Great White Way.
The Prop Solve makes this cool Dr. Strangelove Survival Pack which doubles as a camera carrying case. I don’t run across too many soft goods props projects, so it’s wonderful to see so many photos of her process from start to finish.
Maine State Music Theatre posted this quick little time lapse video showing their prop department live casting the face of an actor for their upcoming production of Evita. It looks like they’re using one of those new body-safe silicone rubbers, which I haven’t really seen in action before.
Frank Ippolito shares his process of building historical fantasy costume armor for the upcoming E3 convention. It sounds like a costume project, but it involves a lot of crafts and materials we use in props.
Finally, Cinefex takes a peek into the model-making shop behind Team America: World Police. Don’t worry, there aren’t any pictures of rude puppets here; just great photos of miniature buildings and vehicles.
Chuck Fox, the props master at the Arena Stage in DC, is retiring, and the Washington Post has a great look back on his career. He started as a props carpenter at the Arena back in 1980. Kids, that was before props masters had Amazon and eBay. It was before you could do research on Google. Heck, it was before you could keep your props list saved on your computer and print out a copy every you updated it.
Genevieve Bee has this massive blog post documenting her construction of a life-size troll figure out of foam. Over 150 photos and a video detail her process from scale model to finished piece. She uses flat foam patterning, fabric manipulation, sculpting, plaster molding, latex casting, and a plethora of other techniques to bring this to life. And it’s her first time doing a project of this scale; she points out all the things she learned along the way.
Bill Doran brings us this introduction to 3D modeling for prop and costume making. Doran got his start as a 3D modeler, and he shows us some of the more accessible programs out there. 3D modeling is great for making 3D printed parts, but it can also be used to visualize a project and create blueprints for more traditional fabrication projects.
Myles McNutt hates when television characters carry around empty coffee cups. I mean, he really hates it. He has put together a video showing some of the more egregious examples of empty coffee cup usage, and has even created an award for the best (or worst?) empty cup acting on screen. Despite being a props person, I have actually never noticed this when watching TV.
Hopefully none of you need to shop for your shows today, which kicks off the official “worst time to do prop shopping” season. If you are safe in your shop or in tech, here are a few interesting prop-related sites to read and visit:
Check out these hotel menus from the 1850s and 1860s. The Hilton College of the University of Houston’s Hospitality Industry Archives has dozens of scans of menus from throughout the Eastern seaboard and Midwest of the US. It’s a great resource if you need to make period-correct food for fancy gentleman.
Genevieve Bee built this great animatronic Wheatley puppet from Portal 2. She has a video showing it talk and move its giant blinking eye. Be sure to check out all the process shots of the construction over at her blog as well.
It’s that time of year again for the New York City holiday window displays. These windows give jobs to dozens of props people for several months throughout the year, and the results are always spectacular. Gothamist has a great rundown of all the major displays, including photographs and videos showing them in action.
Make Magazine delivers some useful tips for props people again, this time giving us 10 great painting tips. These aren’t tips for creating the perfect faux marble, but rather helpful hints on masking and keeping your paintbrushes and cans neat and clean.