Tag Archives: guns

Burning Through the Weekend

Perfecting the ‘Burn’: Props Master Jay Duckworth on Styling the Iconic ‘Hamilton’ Song – Is Jay ever not in the news? DC Metro sits down with the prop master of the off-Broadway run of Hamilton to discuss how he perfected the burning of the letters during the song “Burn.”

Shepherding the Show: A Day in the Life of Hamilton’s Stage Manager – Continuing with Hamilton, Playbill shares these great photos of Amber White at work as the production stage manager of the Broadway version of this iconic musical.

When the Actors Are Students, and They’re Armed – In this climate of daily school shootings, how do high school theater departments deal with plays and musicals that feature guns? The New York Times is on it. They showcase a number of schools who take different approaches; some use abstract props to represent the guns, while others use as realistic a prop as possible. As a prop master, you need to be in on the conversation early whenever your production will include firearms.

Meet the Puppeteer: Christina Stone in Manufacturing Mischief – Check out this interview with puppeteer Christina Stone as she talks about the various characters she created and performed in the recently-closed Manufacturing Mischief.

Adding Smoke F/X to Toys Using E-Cigarettes – Make Magazine rounds up some tutorials on using e-cigarettes to add smoke effects to toys (or props). Remember, if you are working on an Equity show, there are guidelines on how much smoke you can use, and the levels need to be tested. There are a few brands you can use without the need for testing, but they cannot be hacked or modified.

Top Prop Stories of 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, let us take a look back at the top news stories that affected our industry.

Robby the Robot Is Now the Most Valuable Movie Prop Sold at Auction – The famous Forbidden Planet creation recently sold for $5,375,000.

Alley Theatre Suffers Damage From Hurricane Harvey – One of the United States’ largest regional theaters suffered a devastating blow as flood waters destroyed a major portion of their hand props. They were able to bounce back quickly and resume putting on shows, but this loss will surely be felt for years to come.

Fake cosplay guns, real security problems at Comic Cons – Though cosplay continues to gain in popularity, more and more fan conventions are limiting the use of realistic prop guns, or even banning prop weapons altogether. Expect this story to continue to unfold over the next few years.

20 Years of the 501st Legion: How the Star Wars Costuming Group Became a Force for Good – Speaking of cosplay, the world-famous group of Stormtrooper enthusiasts celebrated their twentieth anniversary this year.

San Diego Opera to Sell Studio to Help Stabilize Finances – The company announced its plan to sell off its scene shop as a way to balance their budget. They will continue to rent a portion of it to build sets, and they pulled this off without any layoffs, so it may end up being a positive thing.

Jay Duckworth at USITT 2017 – One of the keynotes at 2017’s USITT conference was a props person. Jay Duckworth, props director at The Public Theater, spoke about his career and the artist’s “bug out bag.”

Inside Syfy’s Cosplay Melee Workshop – The Syfy Channel introduced a new reality show this year called Cosplay Melee. Tested took us into their workshop to see what the contestants had to work with.

Off-Broadway Producers and United Scenic Artists Create First Ever Agreement for Off-Broadway Designers – In an historic move, designers on Off-Broadway productions will now be covered by the USA union. I do not know what this means for prop designers, who can be found all over Off-Broadway but are almost non-existent in venues already covered by USA.

The Prop Building Guidebook second edition – Finally, the second edition to my book was released this year. I like to think this is news-worthy. Be on the lookout for an all-new book from me, The Prop Effects Guidebook, which will be out in early 2018!

Links for Propmasters Day

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.

Friday Fun Prop Links

Adam Savage Behind the Scenes of Alien: Covenant – Our favorite Mythbuster tours the set of the latest Alien movie as is being built, painted, and weathered. Sure, it’s a set, but it’s a very proppy set.

Work/Life Balance in Professional Theatre – American Theatre Magazine is running a survey to learn more about the work/life balance in theatre. If you work professionally, take a few moments to fill it out and help add to their data.

The Pen and the Trigger Finger: Examining Gun Violence Onstage – While this article does not deal with props per se, it does have a lot of interesting ideas about the use of guns on stage and even just the implication of gun violence. As a props master, you need to be aware that simply placing a gun on stage or in an actor’s hands carries a lot of weight and meaning to your audience.

Finishing Lies – Finally, Christopher Schwartz brings us this list of claims made on the packaging of wood finishes which typically do not end up being true.

Last Minute Christmas Links

The Rooms They Left Behind – After their deaths, the New York Times photographed the private spaces of ten notable people.  The photos are such wonderfully crafted images filled with real life set dressing, hinting at the lives of these people.

Locked & Loaded: The Gun Industry’s Lucrative Relationship with Hollywood – The Hollywood Reporter has an incredibly in-depth look at guns in Hollywood. This article takes us from the NRA’s “Hollywood Guns” exhibit, to the ISS armory, with stops at the Internet Movie Firearm Database and discussions with the gun manufacturers themselves. You get a glimpse at some of cinema’s most well-known firearms, and we examine the seeming contradiction where actors can be anti-gun off-screen, but gleefully wielding weapons on-screen.

Raw Steak and The Revenant – Cinefex takes a look at the meatier effects from Leo’s Oscar-winning role, including several scalpings and a zombie skinned bear in a suit for a dream sequence. Besides the tight turn-around, most of these effects were built on set in the middle of the Canadian Rockies.

Adam Savage Visits The Lion King’s Puppet Shop – Adam Savage goes backstage while The Lion King is playing in San Francisco and talks with Michael Reilly, the show’s puppet supervisor. What more is there to say?

Artem: Inside a Real-Life Santa’s Workshop – Artem Studios has been making weird and wonderful props and effects for commercials, television, and film for the past 30 years. Little Black Book sits down with the founders to talk about some of their recent projects and how they approach their work.