Tag Archives: new york city

Dispatches from Props Summit 2010

This year’s props summit was a rousing success. With over forty people in attendance, we more than doubled the attendance from last year. Upon entering, one person exclaimed, “I didn’t know there were so many props people!” In fact, if you look at the picture from the first props summit, you’ll notice quite a few people who were unable to make it back this year; there are also some who were invited but too busy to make it to either summit so far. In other words, this summit still has the chance of growing in attendance.

Attendees at the 2010 NYC Props Summit
Attendees at the 2010 NYC Props Summit

Though this event was focused around New York City, we had folks come from Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, and even Boston! The great thing about this event is that all types of props people attended: prop masters, both full-time and freelance, carpenters, artisans, and every combination in-between. What’s great about getting to know your friendly neighborhood props people is that it lets you know you are not alone, and other people are going through the same things as you, and you’re probably not crazy (or we’re all crazy, and getting together just deludes us to that fact). It also helps you out when you’re in a bind; if you can’t find that one strange prop, or you need someone who can sew leather, or you have a great prop left over from a show but no place to store it, these are the people who can help you out.

Whenever a large-enough group of new people arrived, we would go around the circle and introduce ourselves, which led to stories being swapped. Later in the evening, Jay led everyone in a rousing reading of Ron DeMarco’s “Resolutions”. Ron teaches props at Emerson College, and tried to find the perfect script for his students to develop a props list from. Unable to locate such a script, he wrote his own; “Resolutions”, though only four pages long, contains many of the typical prop challenges and questions, and quite a few conundrums as well. Most of the time, though, was spent in simple drinking, eating, mingling and chatting.

I would list everyone who attended, but I’m afraid I might leave someone out. My only regret was that I was unable to speak with everyone there, particularly those I haven’t met yet. If you are interested in attending next year’s summit (or sooner, though it took us a whole year before we had this one), drop me a line.

Upcoming Events

I have just a few brief items to mention today.

First, this Friday will be our second NYC Props Summit. Our hope is for props professionals, both artisans and masters, to get together for an evening of fun and networking. Our first Props Summit was quite a success. If you wish to join in, drop me a line and I can give you further details.

Second, every week, Jacob Coakley hosts a live internet chat on the TheatreFace network. Next week, Wednesday, September 1, he will be talking with none other than Eric Hart, the person who is writing this sentence right now. Be sure to check it out from 2pm-3pm EST, and let me know if you’re having trouble joining the site.

Dispatches from Props Summit 2009

The first New York City Props Summit was a rousing success.

The attendees of the 2009 New York City Props Summit
The attendees of the 2009 New York City Props Summit

From left to right in the photograph are: Rebecca Aldridge, Mark Gill, Sarah Gill, Jessica Provenzale, Natalie Taylor Hart, Kate Dale, Meredith Ries, Scott Laule, Jeremy Lydic, me, and Jay Duckworth. Not pictured are Meghan Buchanan, Eric Reynolds, Sara Swanberg, and Arianna Zindler, as well as Michael Schupbach and Katey Parker from the Puppet Kitchen. (If I missed anyone, let me know!)

Jay thought it was important for the various props professionals to get to know each other, whether props masters, artisans, freelancers, or full-timers. The benefit of this was immediately apparent as half the attendees were currently in tech and needed something built or borrowed. There’s only so many places to store stuff in New York City, so it’s nice to be able to borrow from as many of them as you can.

We are tentatively planning another Props Summit sometime before Christmas. If you live in New York City or the surrounding tri-state area, or if you know anyone who does, drop me a line so I can keep you informed!

First Ever NYC Props Summit

First ever Props Summit
First ever Props Summit

Jay Duckworth, our props manager at the Public Theatre, is throwing a props summit next week, September 4th. His idea is to get together all the props people in New York City, whether it’s masters, artisans, or runners, working either freelance or full-time.

It’s a chance for everyone in this great city to meet each other and see who else is out there. In a sense, we’re all in this together, and combining our resources can only be beneficial in the long run.

So if you want to get involved, and don’t have a personal contact with either me or Jay, leave a comment or send me an email. I’ll let you know the when and where in more detail.

Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary Robinette Kowal is a puppeteer and science-fiction writer in New York City. She is also works in props. Her blog contains the occasional post about the interesting props she’s built, and fascinating stories about the day-to-day life of a NYC props master (such as getting a moose-head down five flights of stairs, or carrying an axe on the subway).

You can quickly peruse all the posts dealing with props. Be sure to look at all the pages, as there’s quite a bit of great information there.