Tag Archives: San Diego Opera

Top Prop Stories of 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, let us take a look back at the top news stories that affected our industry.

Robby the Robot Is Now the Most Valuable Movie Prop Sold at Auction – The famous Forbidden Planet creation recently sold for $5,375,000.

Alley Theatre Suffers Damage From Hurricane Harvey – One of the United States’ largest regional theaters suffered a devastating blow as flood waters destroyed a major portion of their hand props. They were able to bounce back quickly and resume putting on shows, but this loss will surely be felt for years to come.

Fake cosplay guns, real security problems at Comic Cons – Though cosplay continues to gain in popularity, more and more fan conventions are limiting the use of realistic prop guns, or even banning prop weapons altogether. Expect this story to continue to unfold over the next few years.

20 Years of the 501st Legion: How the Star Wars Costuming Group Became a Force for Good – Speaking of cosplay, the world-famous group of Stormtrooper enthusiasts celebrated their twentieth anniversary this year.

San Diego Opera to Sell Studio to Help Stabilize Finances – The company announced its plan to sell off its scene shop as a way to balance their budget. They will continue to rent a portion of it to build sets, and they pulled this off without any layoffs, so it may end up being a positive thing.

Jay Duckworth at USITT 2017 – One of the keynotes at 2017’s USITT conference was a props person. Jay Duckworth, props director at The Public Theater, spoke about his career and the artist’s “bug out bag.”

Inside Syfy’s Cosplay Melee Workshop – The Syfy Channel introduced a new reality show this year called Cosplay Melee. Tested took us into their workshop to see what the contestants had to work with.

Off-Broadway Producers and United Scenic Artists Create First Ever Agreement for Off-Broadway Designers – In an historic move, designers on Off-Broadway productions will now be covered by the USA union. I do not know what this means for prop designers, who can be found all over Off-Broadway but are almost non-existent in venues already covered by USA.

The Prop Building Guidebook second edition – Finally, the second edition to my book was released this year. I like to think this is news-worthy. Be on the lookout for an all-new book from me, The Prop Effects Guidebook, which will be out in early 2018!

Prop Links from the Past and Present

Prop Master: How a “Star Wars” Superfan Scoured the Earth for Space Debris – Collectors Weekly has a fascinating article about Brandon Alinger and how he amassed a large collection of movie props from iconic 80s blockbusters. He got his start at age 17 when he convinced his parents to take him to Tunisia to scour the desert for props and set pieces left behind from Star Wars.

San Diego Opera to sell studio to help stabilize finances – In order to reach a more sustainable budget, the San Diego Opera is selling the building which holds their scene and paint shop. It sounds like they were not really using the whole building, so they are selling it and then leasing the portion they actually need. From what I’ve heard online, none of their staff are being laid off either.

Talking Craft Beer With the Prop Master From HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ – This interview with Jared Scardina, the props master on Silicon Valley, delves into how much thought and effort goes into choosing what kind of beer a character should drink.

Props, Past To Present – Ian McPherson looks at prop building skills from the past and present and wonders if they can exist side-by-side. This article comes from the new “Theatre Art Life,” which features articles written by live entertainment industry professionals.

Odin Makes: Thor’s Helmet from Thor: Ragnarok – This video shows how Odin makes a super-quick and super-cheap foam version of the helmet from the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok. He goes from patterning to painting in this one.