Today I wish to present you with a number of interviews with prop masters and makers in theatre, television in film. It’s good to get perspective on the job from other people. For most of the interviews, I’ve pulled out some select quotes which especially struck me. Enjoy!
An interview with Sarah Bird, prop master on On the Levee. Sarah is a New York City-based prop master, and this is a nice little video about the work she did at Lincoln Center Theatre.
An Interview with Ken Hawryliw, prop master on Battlestar Galactica, which is notable for being the BEST TV SHOW EVER:
What he taught me is the attitude that someone has spent a huge amount of money, sometimes hundreds of thousands maybe millions of dollars, to design an object that you can now buy for a few dollars. Why not take that object and use it; build it into a prop because the design is great already. You’re incorporating it into something that has to function and the ergonomics are already built into it, so it makes a lot of sense to do things that way. It’s very economical.
Prop Talk with BURN NOTICEâ€™s Charlie Guanci, Jr.:
Usually itâ€™s reading/breaking down scripts and jumping right into the next day of work, but I do try to find out what are the latest interesting pieces and what I can bring to the table so if Iâ€™m asked or I can provide a solution to something from doing my own research through the Internet or talking to people or seeing something on YouTube. You hear about things, I get feedback from other people saying, â€œHey, have you seen this, have you heard about this?â€ I book-log that and itâ€™s like, â€œLetâ€™s try to do that.â€
Interview with Graham Coutts, propmaster on Friday the 13th.
You never have free rein, everything involves collaboration and approval, however, I think the Designer has a high degree of confidence in my ability.
MPPC Exclusive: Rick Gamez – Jack of All Trades, Master of Most. Prop maker on films like The Rocketeer, Men in Black, Independence Day, et al.
Itâ€™s getting smaller and harder to make a living at this due to so much emphasis on computer generated imagery. What once was to provide a ton of weapons for an army now is just a handful who are copied and pasted onto a battlefield. There will still be a call for Hero props but the mass amounts are gone. Shows keep looking for cheaper ways of making shots happen. They tend to look mostly where they can get the best tax break and shoot there. The trickle down of budgets affect every department and so it does with mine as well. The days of the skilled worker is changing to the skilled computer artist.