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!
Props from Hamilton and More Featured in New Exhibit Celebrating Design Elements Rarely Seen Up Close – I posted about this earlier in the week, and now it is getting more coverage. This March at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, props from Broadway, the Santa Fe Opera, as well as from films by Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson, will be on display. Oh yeah, and some of my props, too.
Watch the Met Opera Stage a Sea of Blood – Find out how J&M Special Effects managed to flood the whole deck of the Metropolitan Opera with fake blood. This article has some striking photographs and video of the effect, and it delves into the kinds of logistics it takes for dealing with such a large amount of fluid.
How to 3D Print on Fabric – This video has been circulating the internet for the last week or so, but it is still too cool not to share. Uncle Jesse shares his techniques for 3D printing directly onto fabric to make effects like dragon scales and the like.
You Gotta Have Heart – Emma Pickles shares how she sculpted, molded and cast a squishy human heart. And she does it (gasp!) without any Smooth-On products! It’s actually a good look at using cheaper, more traditional methods and materials for creating a convincing prop.
Whale, whale, whale, what do we have here? Stephen Kesler shares step-by-step photos of a life-sized humpback whale he carved out of foam. And you thought your prop was big? Even if you never have to sculpt something this large, it is still a great primer on sculpting foam in general.
Every time I watch Adam Savage organize his workshop, I think, “hey, that’s what I do.” And then I learn some new trick and realize my shop can be organized much better. In this video, he builds these mobile carts for glue and paint supplies. Now I need to build mobile carts for supplies.
Dj3r0m Cosplay Props has this awesome war hammer from the Skyrim video game. From the process pictures, it looks like the whole thing was carved and assembled from MDF. Impressive. The paint job is pretty stunning, too.
Village Theatre put together this great infographic showing the amounts of consumables that go into a run of Crimes of the Heart. Anyone who has done the show can attest to the large amount of shopping that needs to happen for that production. Of course, they missed the apples, sugar, bourbon and the paper that gets torn up.
First up, California Sunday Magazine has a fantastic tour of one of Hollywood’s largest prop houses, ISS. Gregg Bilson Jr., the owner, talks about the million or so items in all the different departments of this massive rental and manufacturing facility.
Also in California Sunday Magazine is this great article on Phil Tippett, one of the masters of creature effects, who is currently working on an old-school monster movie by hand. Tippett has worked on creatures in Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Starship Troopers, Robocop, and many more. He hand-crafts his own film as a way to escape the monotony of digital effects and return to his roots.
AboutFace Magazine has an article on Portland’s prop master, Tim Oakley. Oakley has worked on projects such as Grimm, The Dark Knight Rises, Jurassic World, and many more.
Propnomicon points us to this video by Super Sculpey, showing how to use Sculpey to sculpt monster men. In this twelve minute video, Jake Corrick shows his technique for building an armature, roughing out the form, adding details and finishing.
Finally, Make has another round of six “now why didn’t I think of that” shop tips. Some of them I use regularly and find useful. Others, like the plastic friction welding, I’ve never heard of and can’t wait to try.
The costume department at UNC Chapel Hill is building replica costumes from sci-fi films for the Museum of Science Fiction. Check out this short video of their envious task as faculty, staff and students reconstruct a flight attendant uniform from 2001, including 3D-printing a Pan-Am badge.
If you have not yet “liked” the Society of Properties Artisan Managers page on Facebook, now’s a good time. They’ve been featuring photos and descriptions of the prop shops from theatres across the US. It’s great to see the differences and similarities of how we all set up our spaces to do our jobs.
Blaine Gibson, a sculptor of figures at Disney Parks, passed away recently. Gibson was responsible for many of the Parks’ iconic figures, such as the pirates from Pirates of the Caribbean, the ghosts of the Haunted Mansion, and those children from It’s a Small World.
Finally, this is from nearly a month ago, but Volpin Props has the beginning of a great step-by-step write-up for a Garuda’s Spine bow from Final Fantasy. This massive weapon has tons of detail, and it is great to see all the photos of it coming together.