Order Up! A Working Ziosk Prop – Jay Duckworth details how his shop built a working computer-ordering system for a booth at a Chili’s restaurant that appeared on stage. It took a combination of a cheap tablet, a 3D-printed housing, and some clever programming and graphic design to pull it off.
SYFY WIRE Fan Creators – The SYFY Channel has created a whole series of mini-documentaries about fans of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, who build things related to their fandom. It’s a mix of propmakers, cosplayers, artists, and even a baker.
In Memoriam: John C. Taccone, IATSE Stagehand – John Taccone was a stagehand in New York City and a member of the New Amsterdam Theatre props crew for 21 years. His untimely passing earlier this month was memorialized on the Broadway marquee of the New Amsterdam.
The House That Mr. Mayer Built: Inside the Union-Busting Birth of the Academy Awards – This is an oldie, but it was new for me. The Oscars were originally created as a way to prevent the unionization of actors, writers, and directors in Hollywood. It didn’t work. Still, it is a good reminder of how spectacle can often be used to mask some deeper purpose. If you want to know more about the history of unionization amongst the Hollywood technicians, I covered a bit of it in my “Brief History of IATSE” article from a few years back. It was outright war at times.
NFTS Model Making Course Leader Reveals What it Was Like Working as Prop Maker on Star Wars: The Last Jedi – John Lee was a prop maker on the newest Star Wars film, and he talks with his alma mater about what it was like working on such a large-scale film.
EVA Foam – What it is and Where to Get It – A Prop Maker’s Guide – Bill Doran gives us a rundown of all the different types of flexible closed-cell foam which prop builders use.
Watch Colin Furze build a life-size TIE Silencer from Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Colin Furze and his team build one of the new spaceships from the recent Star Wars film. It certainly looks sturdy.
Building a Studio Scale Model of the Escape Pod from Star Wars: A New Hope – At the other end of the scale, David Goldberg builds a miniature replica of one of the first spaceships we see in the Star Wars franchise, forty years ago.
Wow, look at that; I managed to find one non-Star Wars related link to share this week!
Hero Props: Graphic Design in Film & Television – The 99% Invisible Podcast sits down with Annie Atkins, a graphic designer who makes paper props and other signage for films.
Blood Test – The Many Shades of Bookshelves and Blood – Jay Duckworth talks about how he got the blood just right for one of the Public Theater’s latest productions.
The film props firm targeting the YouTube generation – BBC News sits down with Ryan Johnson, president of NewRuleFX. They make breakaway bottles, as well as foam frying pans, custom e-cigarettes, and other special effect props.
Weta Workshop: Behind the Scenes on Thor: Ragnarok – Weta Workshop made some super colorful weapons and armor for the latest Thor film. Check out some behind-the-scenes footage in this video. In another video, Tested visits Ironhead Studio to talk about making Hela’s magnificent headdress from the same film.
Probius the Protoss Probe – Prop Build Tutorials – Punished Props debuted a replica prop of the Protoss Probe at this year’s Blizzcon convention. Check out this series of videos detailing the build process as well as giving tutorials on many of the techniques used.
Every Halloween, an Oakland Man Stages Spooky Marionette Shows in His Driveway – This man is living the dream. As the title says, Larry Schmidt has been putting on a Halloween marionette show in his Oakland, CA, neighborhood for the past 11 years.
8 Cosplayers Share Their Tips, Tools, and Ingenuity – Make Magazine showcases eight different cosplayers and their fantastic costumes. Many of their tips are useful for prop builders as well.
Hollywood’s Female Crewmembers Suffer Harassment Without the Platform of Stardom – While harassment of actresses has been in the news lately, the ongoing and pervasive harassment of female crew members is less visible. In theatre, the problem is even less acknowledged; as far as I’ve seen, none of the backstage publications have addressed the continuing problem of sexual harassment of women theatre technicians, designers, and students.
How to make a Shishkebab Prop from Fallout 4 – Zonbi brings us this video showing how she built this flaming sword weapon from the popular Fallout 4 video game. The materials are inexpensive, but the result is pretty hot.
How to be a theatre animal prop maker – The Stage talks with Paul Robbens, who makes animals for companies like Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Opera House, and Shakespeare’s Globe. Also check out “How to be a costume prop maker for theatre” if you can make it past the paywall.
QUAKE 3 Railgun Replica Prop – BricoGeek shares a video of how he constructed a real-life version of a railgun from the Quake 3 video game. The body is mostly 3D printed. The electronics inside are impressive, with lights and sounds taken directly from the game. I also love how well-thought out the assembly process was, leaving all the electronics accessible.
How U.S. Counterfeit Laws Impact Hollywood Prop Money – Here is a good history of how movie money evolved to remain legal under counterfeit laws. These hold true for theater as well; make no mistake, the Secret Service has paid a visit to more than one theater in this country.
Use a Vinyl Cutter to Design Stencils for Spray Painting – Make Magazine presents tips and tricks for creating paint stencils on a vinyl cutter.
This Insane Dungeons & Dragons Model Is a Work of Art – Ryan Devoto has constructed a vast and intricate fantasy world for use with Dungeons and Dragons figurines. Though I’ve heard some nerd criticisms that this model is not actually playable, you can still spend hours just examining every detail.