The Master of Paper Props – Great Big Story visits Ross MacDonald’s shop to see how he makes paper props for movies and television shows. This video delves into his process and into the power of paper props in general. If you haven’t seen Ross’ work before, this blog has covered him many times over the past nine years.
Want my job? with Khadija Raza, set and costume designer – Khadija talks with Voice about her job as a theatre designer in anticipation of TheatreCraft, the UK’s largest theatrical careers event for 16-30 year-olds.
Shrinking the world: why we can’t resist model villages – Simon Garfield ponders why we are drawn to miniature urban landscapes and why model builders feel compelled to create them. Along the way, he treats us to many photographs of some of the world’s finest examples of miniatures and model towns.
Original Big Bird, Caroll Spinney, Leaves ‘Sesame Street’ After Nearly 50 Years – In case you missed the news a few weeks ago, Caroll Spinney is retiring from Sesame Street after its 50th Anniversary special. Spinney has played both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since the show’s inception, making him one of the last original cast members to leave the show. The New York Times has this fantastic retrospective of his career.
Mortal Artists – The Craftsmen | Episode 3 – The upcoming Mortal Engines film features massive mobile cities that prowl a post-apocalyptic landscape. This video looks at all the prop builders who constructed the imaginative weapons and devices that make up this world.
It’s the middle of a hurricane here in North Carolina, as well as Opening Night for my first show of the season, but I still found some great stories and videos on props that you can check out:
Broadway’s Biggest Debut: King Kong – Ugh, this puppet is so amazing. It is controlled by 14 puppeteers and it contains a ton of animatronics as well. Be sure to see some of the videos of Kong in motion.
TAIT Take Over – Karla Ramsey – Scenic artists at TAIT Towers create the proscenium arch for the Elton John concert. It is a combination of foam carving and clay sculpting, with everything molded and cast for the final piece. A few of my friends and colleagues spent the summer up here working on this, and the results are spectacular.
Cosplay Shines At DragonCon – Make Magazine has a great round-up of cosplay photographs from the recent DragonCon in Atlanta, GA. Yes, there is a whole convention just for dragons.
Modeling and 3D-Printing Wonder Woman’s Tiara for Cosplay! – Darrell Maloney made this video to show us how he modeled a digital version of Wonder Woman’s tiara from the recent film. He then 3D printed it, and shows us how he finished and painted it as well.
Submit Your Role Call-ers! – American Theatre Magazine has a regular segment where they highlight theatre workers that more people should know about. This December, they will be profiling twenty folks that should be known outside their discipline. You can nominate people you think they should highlight; let’s see some props people up in there!
Perfecting the ‘Burn’: Props Master Jay Duckworth on Styling the Iconic ‘Hamilton’ Song – Is Jay ever not in the news? DC Metro sits down with the prop master of the off-Broadway run of Hamilton to discuss how he perfected the burning of the letters during the song “Burn.”
Shepherding the Show: A Day in the Life of Hamilton’s Stage Manager – Continuing with Hamilton, Playbill shares these great photos of Amber White at work as the production stage manager of the Broadway version of this iconic musical.
When the Actors Are Students, and They’re Armed – In this climate of daily school shootings, how do high school theater departments deal with plays and musicals that feature guns? The New York Times is on it. They showcase a number of schools who take different approaches; some use abstract props to represent the guns, while others use as realistic a prop as possible. As a prop master, you need to be in on the conversation early whenever your production will include firearms.
Meet the Puppeteer: Christina Stone in Manufacturing Mischief – Check out this interview with puppeteer Christina Stone as she talks about the various characters she created and performed in the recently-closed Manufacturing Mischief.
Adding Smoke F/X to Toys Using E-Cigarettes – Make Magazine rounds up some tutorials on using e-cigarettes to add smoke effects to toys (or props). Remember, if you are working on an Equity show, there are guidelines on how much smoke you can use, and the levels need to be tested. There are a few brands you can use without the need for testing, but they cannot be hacked or modified.
Behind the Scenes of the 2017 Season. Episode Two: But What If – The Santa Fe Opera is producing a series of videos going behind the scenes of their summer season. The second episode focuses on production, and features a lot of the people in the props shop that I have worked with and miss greatly.
Pretty Little Liars prop master Chris Vail explains season 7’s sinister hacker device – The Verge looks at some of the crazy prop devices invented for the final season of Pretty Little Liars. I posted a similar article last month, but this one delves into the actual construction methods and specific materials used to build them.
Building a 13-Foot Long Robot Dinosaur “Watcher” Costume from Horizon Zero Dawn – Spectral Motion constructed a giant robot dinosaur costume slash puppet to interact with guests at E3, the popular annual video game conference. The video shows the process from cardboard model to final piece.
Skyrim Dragonbone Sword Prop – How To – Dogless brings us plenty of photographs to show how he constructed this unique weapon from the Skyrim video game. He used MDF, Sintra, and a bit of 3D printing to bring his prop to life.
For this Broadway prop master, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the golden ticket – Buist Bickley is back, with his biggest Broadway show ever. Crain’s New York takes a look at how Buist brought the Wonka factory to life from his Greenpoint studio.
Bringing the animals of the jungle to life in the stage show Running Wild – The puppeteers from War Horse are back, and this time they created a whole jungle’s worth of puppet animals to frolic on stage. Check out the sketches of some of their designs, and watch a video to see the final puppets in action.
Let’s Talk About Sets, Baby – Helen Keller is back, and her play was just on stage at UW-Stevens Point. Check out this conversation with the set designer and the props master about how historical accuracy with the set dressing and properties brought her world to life.
Ironhead Studio’s Superhero and Specialty Costumes – Ironhead makes some of the most iconic superhero suits for films today, such as the Batman suit from Batman V Superman. Tested talks with founder Jose Fernandez at this year’s Monsterpalooza.