Get Up Close With the Props of Dear Evan Hansen – Take a look backstage at the hit Broadway show to see how the props are stored. This series of photos is a great look at all the minute detail that goes into preparing seemingly ordinary props. Even the most mundane details have some story behind it, or some kind of trick rigged into it to make the show run smoothly and consistently.
Woman’s Day Magazine’s Star Wars Playset Designs (1978, 1980) – In two separate issues in 1978 and 1980, Woman’s Day Magazine published plans and instructions to construct Star Wars playsets for the popular action figures. These plans had you build them fully from scratch, using sheets of plywood, plastic, laminates, and other raw materials. This article includes links to the original plans as well, so grab them while you can!
The Secret Tools Magicians Use to Fool You – In another photo series, Louis De Belle has photographed devices used by magicians for his upcoming book, and shares a few of them with us here. He doesn’t actually give away how any of the tricks work, but it is a fun exercise to guess what each magical prop accomplishes.
National Theatre explores “exquisite miniature world” of stage set models – The National Theatre in London has an exhibition of some of the set design models for shows that have been produced there since the 1970s. The exhibition runs until March 2019, and was curated by Eleanor Margolies, author of Props (Readings in Theatre Practice).
What Does a Prop Master Do? A Conversation with Elisa Malona – Elisa Malona is the head of props for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. In this great interview, she talks about how she got started in props, how her career led her to The Tonight Show, and some of her greatest successes and fails in churning out crazy props on a daily basis. You can’t see it on any of the photos, but my book is sitting on her bookshelf.
The Prop Master Behind ‘Arrested Development’ – Supporting Players – Now the story of a prop master who had everything. In this short episode of “Supporting Players,” we visit Todd Daniels in his prop truck while working on the set of Arrested Development, which recently finished filming its fifth season.
Glossary: Dunsels, Nurnies, Greebles, Gundans, and Fuidgets – Christopher Noessel goes into the history of these terms, used to describe various decorative details on models, sets, and computer screens in sci-fi films. If you delve deeper into the history of design and art, you can see these are all just modern forms of diapering, which is the use of decorative patterns to break up a plain surface.
How Altered Carbon’s costume designer created the fashions for its futuristic world – Sure, it’s clothing, but it is so futuristic it may as well be props. Right? Ann Foley talks about the design and fabrication of the outfits in this new sci-fi series, including the hard armor of the Praetorian Guards.
Yolanda Baker is the Last Disco Ball Maker. She has made tens of thousands of mirror balls by hand for the past fifty years at Omega National Products in Louisville, the last American manufacturer of this iconic object. Chances are, if you have a US mirror ball, it was made by her. She even did all the balls in Saturday Night Fever.
Make Magazine shows us How to Make Breakaway Bottles and Window Panes. They use sugar glass, ugggggghhh. The process they describe is easy enough to adapt to isomalt, though, which is superior to sugar glass.
Adam Savage visits Weta Workshop’s Model Painting Shop. Adam seems to be visiting all sorts of cool places lately, and the model painting studio at the shop that built Lord of the Rings is no exception. Check out all the cool work they did while learning some painting tips for yourself.
PuppetVision has a Pinterest board with 92 pins of Animatronics & Puppet Mechanisms. You can spend days looking at all the clever ways to make objects move and come to life.
“Designing Windows is an Art”. Take a look at this interview with Erin O’Brien, a freelance window designer at Bergdorf Goodman in London. She talks about how she got started and shows off some examples of her work over the years.
This Saturday (April 23rd) is the Burlington Mini Maker Faire. I’ll have a booth there, so if you live in the area, come say hi. There will also be real moon rocks on display, which are slightly smaller than theatrical moon rocks.
Hollywood Reporter takes a peek inside Newel Antiques, one of NYC’s largest prop rental houses for antique furniture and dressing. They have an exquisite collection, and have been outfitting TV, film, and theater with valuable pieces since 1939. Incidentally, this is the second article this month talking about how props is enjoying a boom because of all the content being created by Netflix, Hulu, and the like.
Sculptural Arts Coating celebrates 25 years in the business. John and Lisa Saari have been making Sculpt-or-Coat, Artist’s Choice paints, and Plastic Varnish right here in Greensboro since the early 90s.
Caroline Framke spends five months on the set of The Americans to see how a TV episode is made. She sees everything from the first table read, to dressing the set, to editing the final cut. This article is very in-depth and fascinating to read.
StarWars.com talks with Adam Savage about Star Wars. Though we know him from Mythbusters and Tested, Savage was also a model maker on Star Wars Episodes I and II. He talks about his time at ILM building models as well as his love of these movies in general.
Finally, Make has four cheap tricks for drilling straight holes. Nobody likes a crooked screw.