A fun new blog has appeared from a theatre props artisan: Meanwhile in the Prop Shop…Â It’s a simple stream of photographs and quotes showing the weird and often surreal scenes that play out in a props shop on a daily basis.
Conan O’Brian has a recurring segment featuring the show’s prop master, Bill Tull. With this Sunday being Super Bowl Sunday, Tull gives us some Budget Super Bowl Party Tips.
Awhile back, I pointed to a page with a few color photographs from Pre-World War I Paris. Here is its bigger cousin, a whole website full of color photography from Paris circa 1914 (give or take a few years).
Two weeks ago, I had a link to a post on Matt Munson’s blog. Munson is also working on converting a Chevy Caprice into a Batmobile, which he calls the “Mattmobile.” Check out all the posts he has, because it is quite the epic build. He has been shooting mini episodes along the way, and is up to 29 as of this writing.
Finally, I dug up this old video about the making of the Stargate fromÂ Stargate (the film). It delves into a lot more than just the construction of the Stargate itself; the scale of the sets they built were incredible. It’s not entirely about props, but whatever, I’m a big Stargate fan.
I cannot wait for people to start reading this. It’s the culmination of several years’ work. It clocks in at around 380 pages, and has photographs, charts, and illustrations on nearly every single page.
But enough about me, let’s talk about what else you can read on the web this week:
Everybody knows Google Street View, right? Well they have some special galleries hidden in different places. One very cool one is the inside of Scott’s Hut in Antartica. It’s an exploration hut from 1911 which the cold has preserved perfectly. It makes for some really cool primary research. If that link doesn’t work, or if you want to see what other galleries they have, you can view all their collections.
Tested has quite the in-depth interview with Harrison Krix, one of the top videogame replica prop makers on the Internet these days. They delve into his process for building a prop, his workshop setup, and how he got started. Harrison has also contributed some photographs to my book, if you are interested. By the way,Â Tested is a website run by Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman (ofÂ Mythbusters fame), and it has a lot of other cool stuff inside, such as this video showing some models Adam Savage has made for films.
I love the showÂ Parks and Recreation, not least because Nick Offerman is an honest-to-goodness woodworker. The show also regularly features some fun and memorable props. Entertainment Weekly has talked with prop master Gay Perello about her five favorite props from this year’s episodes. You not only get to see some imaginative props, you also get to hear the challenges involved and the process in arriving at a solution for all of them.
An interesting page came through the Prop Masters list this week. The Museum of American PackagingÂ is a photographic collection of thousands of product packages, mostly from the mid-twentieth century. You can call it “doing research” if you want, but I would look at these pictures even if I didn’t have a show set in this time period.
I like this photography series called “Much Loved”. The photographer took photographs of teddy bears and similar toys which have been cherished for decades by their owners, and wrote a bit about their back story as well. It’s great research not just for teddy bears from 50-70 years ago, but also for the kind of extreme distressing and aging that these archetypal and cherished “favorite toys” can go through.
A whole subculture exists of prop makers making replicas of objects which exist in popular video games. Here is a great step-by-step build of a dagger from Skyrim. Though the end result is a bit “plastic-y”, the process shots show some interesting techniques and use of materials.
Finally, here is an interesting solution to the age-old problem of four-legged furniture that does not sit flat. When your tables or chairs rock, try trimming one of the legs… on the table saw:
It has been a busy week. I taught the second of my master classes at Elon University, and I am preparing for a big workshop I am teaching tomorrow. I have also finished going through the proofs for my book yesterday; with those submitted, the book is basically on its way to the printers. Just think, in a few short months, it will be in bookstores! Here are some sites from around the Internet for you to peruse and enjoy:
The LA Times has a profile of George Barris, who has been making custom cars for film and television for over 70 years. The Batmobile from the original television series and the Munsters’ car are both his.
I may have mentioned an upcoming book calledÂ The Furniture ofÂ NecessityÂ before; it’s a look at the major archetypes of furniture used by regular people throughout the centuries, as opposed to the highly-designed stuff used by aristocrats. It promises to be a great reference for period prop design. Christopher Schwartz has an update on that book in his blog, but that’s not the interesting part. His latest post also features photographs of almost 50 variations of a 6-board chest. This style of chest was popular in working-class European households from the 9th century through at least the 17th century, and again in American households from the 1600s on up to the present. In other words, this page is great research for a prop that can appear in a vast range of period plays.