Looking past the actors — the technical feats of the Humana Festival – Insider Louisville takes a look at how the sets are built for Humana Festival to allow quick changeovers between shows. The Festival has seven shows being produced in three spaces and running in repertory; and they’re all brand-new works. I worked in the props shop for Humana Festival exactly ten years ago; it is quite the burst of activity.
The workers who make Broadway hum deserve a standing ovation – In honor of World Theatre Day this past Monday, NY Daily News published this article by Patricia White, president of Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 764 IATSE. She describes all the union jobs that make Broadway work, from ushers and ticket takers, to dressers and musicians.
Create Custom Screen Printing Designs at Home – Make Magazine has a great primer on screen printing. Sure, your computer printer can handle a lot of different materials, but screen printing is great when you need to get an image onto a piece of material too large for your printer. I’ve used it to make custom vinyl folding chairs.
Working With Transparent Worbla – Propnomicon shares this video on working with transparent Worbla. Like regular Worbla, it is a thermoplastic that softens at low temperatures so you can manipulate and shape it by hand.
If you have a spare half hour, check out this video history of IATSE. It was made by members of IATSE themselves. I’m not entirely sure when it was actually produced, but it had to have been somewhere around the late 40s.
The video features then-President of IATSE, Richard Walsh, as he is visited by the ghost of John Williams, the first President of the union in 1893. The history of IATSE is more than just about the union though; it is also a history of changing theatrical technology from the days of gaslight to our modern world.
The following is one of several interviews conducted by students of Ron DeMarco’s properties class at Emerson College.
Rick Ladomade: The real ‘Modern Family’ man.
By Georgia Foor
When first getting assigned Rick Ladomade, I was excited and nervous all the same time. I’d seen him in videos, and his work all throughout TV and Films. His work stretches from commercials and films such as Sinatra, Rising Sun, and In an Instant, to TV series such as ER, Miami Medical, Hawthorne, Twisted, and Modern Family. I honestly didn’t think I was even going to get a response, but I emailed him anyway. To my surprise, Rick is one of the kindest, most helpful people I’ve ever encountered. Who else would email a complete stranger, much less a college student, back for a class assignment? Only Rick would email me back within a day or two, every time. He was truly wonderful to talk to, and a great introspect into the world of props in film and television. Continue reading Interview with Rick Ladomade→
I’ve come across the following lists of duties and responsibilities for various members of the props department in a number of places. These are the IATSE job classifications for union members working in film. I have noticed some theatres will use these as starting points to develop their own job descriptions for people in the props department as well. Property Master The duties of the Property Master shall include preparation of a hand prop breakdown, with scene allocations as per the shooting script; to research the historical period of said administered hand props; to prepare, build and procure props to be seen on camera; the repair and return of props to original condition and source; arranging for all necessary permits to convey restricted weapons; co-ordinate with the Wardrobe Department the required accessories; while on set, the Prop Master will administer props to artists, strike and reset hot sets established by the Set Decorators, with the aid of Polaroid’s, photographs or sketches; consult with the Script Supervisor on the continuity of hand props; responsible for the disbursement of the assigned budget; and delegate the work required for the efficient operation of the Department. Assistant Property Master Duties are acts as the Prop Master’s representative on the set; during pre-production helps with script and prop breakdown; in the Prop Master’s absence this person can be left in charge of the props on shooting set; makes sure that the set and props are as the Props Master wishes them to be; oversees the supplying and loading of the truck; has the ability to oversee the set and props in a camera ready condition; has the ability to oversee the set and prop continuity; and can perform these duties in an unsupervised role. Additionally, this person must hold a valid Firearms Acquisition Certificate; carry the Motion Picture Firearms Safety Course card; be knowledgeable in the building and repair of props; be knowledgeable in the handling of firearms; the safe use of firearms and the blank firing of firearms; and carries the same responsibilities for the safety of artists and shooting crew when it comes to the firing of blanks as the Props Master. Props Buyer Performs those duties as delegated by the Property Master. Armour Must have Fire Arms Acquisition Certificate and no criminal record. Responsible for maintaining safety on set in relation to weapons and ammunition, including but not limited to determining the distance for all loads; ¼, ½ and full loads and as such providing plexi-glass shields, etc. when required. Order all weapons, permits, ammunition etc. and inspect them as a safety precaution. Responsible for the distribution and collection of the weapons to talent and background performers. Warn to the cast and crew prior to firing weapons, secure area effected. Along with performing those duties as delegated by the Property Master. Props Builder Work with wood, leather, and metal must have carpentry skills, and perform duties as delegated by the Property Master. Props Assistant Performs those duties as delegated by the Property Master. Props Men/Women or Props Crew Performs those duties as delegated by the Property Master
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies