Puppets are still very much a thing, according to this American Theatre article. Scott Cummings checks in on some of the companies, festivals, and books dealing with puppetry in a contemporary context.
The costume shop at PlayMakers Rep is working on the enviable task of recreating costumes for the Museum of Science Fiction. Rachel Pollock takes us through the steps of making Neo’s costume from The Matrix.
Propnomicon shows us some great primary research on “Things in a Jar”. If you’ve ever made preserved specimens, Britta Miller works at a museum specimen collection, and has kindly shared all kinds of visual and technical details about the actual jarring and labeling of things in jars.
“He was giving the interviewer a tour of his shop, showing the towering shelves of carefully-sorted industrial junk. He said something like, ‘Properly sorted, this is a parts library and a useful tool. Unsorted, and it’s a pile of junk and a curse.'”
Here we have 9 Real Job Skills You Lean From Being a Cosplayer, which is remarkably similar to the job skills you learn from being a prop maker. Of course, that assumes that they ever let you out of the props shop to look for another job. Back to work!
Whatever happened to Tony Montana’s “Little Friend”? Not that I was wondering, but this Hollywood Reporter article is a fascinating look at an iconic movie prop. Watch as it meanders its way around LA over the next few decades, popping up in other films here and there.
If you’ve never seen Adam Savage’s One Day Builds, you’re missing out! In his latest, he builds a sword from Hellboy. What makes these great is that they do not really skip over anything; it’s just a cameraman in the shop, showing every step he takes, and every mistake he makes. I also like how he doesn’t really use anything that’s out of the realm of the average props shop. His materials come from typical hardware stores and auto body shops, and his tools are pretty standard issue (well, that disc sander is kind of a beast).
“A prop has infinite possibilities.” This video on how to use props in film is geared toward filmmakers, but it’s great for props people to see how their work contributes to the larger production.
Graham Owen makes bugs for films. Since 2006, he has been constructing realistic insect replicas for films such as The Amazing Spider-Man, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Salt and more. He made the fly in that one episode of Breaking Bad. Talk about a creating a niche for yourself.
Make has 5 indispensable shop hacks. Some I’ve heard of before, others I need to try out soon. They’re mostly woodworking related, but Make has plenty of other articles on shop and tool hacks you can get to from here.
I recently finished up a little personal project that I’ve been chipping away at since February in my vast spare time. It’s a replica of the tomahawk from the video game Assassin’s Creed. I filmed myself building it along the way, and shoved it all into a single five-minute video.
While you can find tons of images of the tomahawk online, a lot of credit goes to MoonLit Props who developed a full-scale pattern. You can see me using it in the video to trace out the pieces.
The blade is made out of MDF and gets its unique shape from the symbol in the game. It took a lot of rasping, filing and sanding to get the bevels right, followed by endless priming and sanding to make it smooth. I finished it off with some Krylon Stainless Steel spray paint, which has a fantastic faux steel look once you rub it down with some steel wool. It also has a wash of black acrylic for shading and some silver Rub’n Buff for highlights.
The handle is simply a piece of poplar cut and routed to shape. The thin strips of wrapping are actual leather, but the handle itself is suede, since I was sticking with materials I already had laying around the shop.
For the emblem carved in the side, I wanted to try out a technique that’s been rattling around in my head; mixing metallic powders with epoxy resin to mimic metal. It did not work at all as I had hoped. I’m glad I learned that on a small part of a personal project rather than relying on it for a show.
All in all, I am happy with how it turned out, and now I have another fun prop to trot out at Maker Faires.
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies