Tag Archives: Jim Guy

Prop Stories to Keep You Busy

Ever wonder who dresses each and every set at The Rep? – Milwaukee Repertory Theater brings us this video of Jim Guy, their props director. He talks about what props are and takes us on a tour of the prop storage areas deep in the heart of the Rep. It’s pretty basic stuff, but it is always nice when a theater recognizes the people of the production department.

King’s Fine Woodworking builds Thor’s Hammer – This video shows the making of Mjolnir, Thor’s famed hammer from the Marvel movies, out of a giant block of silver maple, along with some walnut for the handle. It’s a cool twist to the standard replica prop build.

5 Things Wrong With the Arcade in ‘Stranger Things 2’ – GeekDad dives deep into the details of the set dressing for the 1980s arcade in the new season of Stranger Things. They lovingly point out where the decor deviates from history, but in most cases, they make a guess as to why the production department chose those changes.

Design Curves for Irregular Shapes – If you’ve never studied hand drafting, you may not know how to use a French curve (and some folks don’t even know that French curves exist). Chris Schwartz gives a quick tutorial for this tool that will help you draw smoother curves.

What are you looking for in a portfolio? – In this video, Laura Pates, Assistant Technical Director at Playmakers Rep, tells NCTC what kinds of things should go in a design/technical portfolio. Bonus points for being filmed in the lobby of Triad Stage, where I work!

Prop-tastic Friday

Meet Jim – Our Props Director – The Milwaukee Rep Tumblr has a conversation with Jim Guy, their props director. Jim is also the President of S*P*A*M and knows 97% of the props masters in the US.

The Day They Nuked Buffalo – Propnomicon brings us this interesting historical tidbit. In 1952, the State Civil Defense Commission had the Buffalo News print a newspaper as if a nuclear bomb had been detonated over the city. It was “the only prop newspaper ever officially sanctioned by the US government.”

Check Out This Amazing Ghostbusters Proton Pack – The new Ghostbusters movie opens this weekend, and Make Magazine brings us this great Arduino-powered proton pack. It’s from the original film; maybe in the coming weeks, we’ll see more builds of the new equipment.

Punished Props’ Foam Viking Axe Build – Tested shows us how Bill Doran built a viking axe out of flexible foam in this video.

How to Build a Foam Cosplay Helmet – Also from Tested, Evil Ted shows us how to make a helmet out of flexible foam. Basically, you can build an entire suit of armor and weapons out of your floor mats.

Interview with Jim Guy

The following is one of several interviews conducted by students of Ron DeMarco’s properties class at Emerson College.

Jim Guy

by Jessica Kemp

Jim Guy
Jim Guy

When we chose our properties directors to interview, Ron handed over Jim’s information with a smile. “Jim is one of the most personable guys you will ever meet,” he said. “Have fun.”

Indeed I did. Continue reading Interview with Jim Guy

End-of-the-week Links

Well, I am off this weekend to Bucknell University, where I will be signing copies of my book during Homecoming Weekend. If you are in Central Pennsylvania, feel free to stop on by. I’ll try to post pictures and updates on my Twitter. I also have some stories I’ve found around the Internet this week:

Props master extraordinaire Jim Guy is profiled in yet another news article. He talks about how he got started, his favorite parts of the job, and how new people can begin a career in props.

LiveScience takes a look at the technology behind horror-movie monsters. Though it seems a lot of films just use CGI for everything, many effects are still practical. In fact, advances in technology have made it easier to use all sorts of prosthetic, animatronic and makeup effects for movies.

While we’re on monsters (it is nearly Halloween, after all), I enjoyed this article on a Philippine monster-making company. Their creatures are actually based on the characters from Philippine folklore, but done in a more-Western style.

The Credits talks with the makeup maestro for the new Carrie film. They discuss in detail how they did the infamous “pouring of blood” scene; it’s a little trickier than you might expect, but it led to a much more consistent result on-screen.

Finally, Non-Toxic Kids lays out ten reasons we need stronger laws about toxic chemicals. Though aimed at parents, the reasons are just as relevant to props people. While we may feel adequately informed about the dangers of industrial chemicals and supplies, we also use plenty of household cleaners and chemicals that you may not realize are also toxic.

March Goes in Like a Link

It’s the end of the week, but the beginning of a new month. This is conference month for those of us in technical theatre. First is SETC, happening next week (March 5-9) in Louisville, KY. Shortly after is USITT, taking place March 19-23 in Milwaukee, WI. I will be at both if you wanted a chance to catch up or introduce yourself. At USITT, Stage Directions will be hosting a book signing for my book at their booth on Friday, March 22nd, at 12:30 PM. More info to come. For now, enjoy these links:

My latest magazine article in Stage Directions is now online; I profile the Milwaukee Rep props shop, home of props master Jim Guy. Milwaukee also happens to be the location of this year’s USITT conference. Coincidence?… actually, no, we chose to write about Milwaukee Rep for this issue precisely because of USITT.

The designer of the Dalek from Doctor Who, Ray Cusick, died this past week. The Verge has some videos and a story about him and how the Daleks came to be.

When the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre shut its doors in March 2012, its production facilities and prop storage were abandoned and surrendered to the landlords who owned the building. Jim Buckshon was subleasing part of that building at the time for his company, Renegade Productions, and decided to lease the entire building and save the props. Read the whole story to see how Buckshon took on one of Vancouver’s largest prop collections and kept it intact for future productions.

Weta Workshop — the design/production/creature/FX shop behind films such as The Lord of the RingsKing Kong and Avatar — recently solicited questions for their Mold Shop Supervisor, Michael Wallace.  Mike answers those questions about working in a mold shop, materials and techniques he uses, and his own background.

AJ Catalano is a sci-fi prop maker who has built items for films ranging from The Avengers and The Amazing Spiderman, to The Muppets. Check out this video where he talks about his background and the work he does: