Interview: Rob Kyker – Lilja’s Library, a site dedicated to Stephen King, sits down for an interview with Rob Kyker, the prop master on Mr. Mercedes. Rob was also prop master on shows like Lost and Castle.
Making Your Own Foam Cutting Table – Make Magazine brings us this how-to video explaining how to build a hot wire cutting table for foam. Don’t forget the ventilation!
Kansas City Rep Theatre, Prop & Costume Auction – The Kansas City Rep is losing their storage space and moving to a smaller warehouse, so a large portion of their collection is being sold off. This auction includes items that have been bought throughout their 30 year history, so it is a rare opportunity to acquire many hard-to-find items.
Pocket Screws for Chairmaking? (Yes) – Chris Schwartz shows us how he uses pocket screws as a way to clamp pieces that are otherwise difficult to attach a clamp to. I’ll admit to having done this in the past; pocket screws create a very strong connection.
The making of the Central Perk couch on Friends – This video shows the Warner Brothers Upholstery Department building the iconic orange couch from Friends. I think it is a recreation of the original couch, but I still find it fascinating that they build the entire couch from scratch.
First, a couple of upcoming deadlines. The deadline for the 2018 Grants for Early Career Prop Professionals is May 15. If you have an upcoming internship/apprenticeship in props, you are eligible to apply for one of two $1000 grants offered by the Society of Properties Artisan Managers.
If you are going to the Maker Faire Bay Area later this month, check out the The First Annual Maker Faire Prop Contest. The deadline is May 17th to have your prop judged by an all-star team of internet-famous props people.
Han Solo’s Episode VI blaster up for grabs (VIDEO) – Yes, it’s on a site called “guns.com”; sorry about that. But they do have a load of information about the original Star Wars prop, along with a few videos of various replicas being built.
Prop Master April Laird on “Hold the Drama” – The latest episode of the “Hold the Drama” podcast talks with April Laird, who has worked in the props department of shows like Dexter, Grey’s Anatomy, and New Girl.
Make a Marking Gauge for Curves – Chris Schwartz demonstrates how to build a quick marking gauge that allows you to follow a curve to mark an inset.
Building a Portable, Collapsible Workbench – Elisha from Pneumatic Addict shows us how she built a simple workbench that folds down to take up minimal space.
Silver Ain’t Steel – But It Can Be! How To Paint A Faux Steel Effect – Over at the Rosco Blog, Angelique Powers shows us how she came up with some convincing steel surfaces using only paint.
Quantum Creations FX’s Fallout Pip-Boy Prop – Tested takes their video cameras to Monsterpalooza, where they chat with Christian Beckman, founder of Quantum Creation FX. He shows off a Pip-Boy prop they fabricated for a Fallout commercial, as well as a custom spacesuit they constructed specifically for the trade show.
Late Show Backstage Pass: The Invisible Props Department – In lighter news, Stephen Colbert brings us a day in the life of Sarah, the head of the Late Show’s “invisible props” department.
Pro-tips for Painting Pretty Patinas – Angelique Powers brings us another article over at the Guild of Scenic Artists’ page, this time showing some cool techniques for faking patinas and verdigris on metallic surfaces.
Woodworking from the ‘Bone Age’ – Chris Schwartz unearths this great article on how archaeologists attempt to recreate ancient woodworking techniques using ancient tools to help them understand some of the artifacts they discover.
Ever wonder who dresses each and every set at The Rep? – Milwaukee Repertory Theater brings us this video of Jim Guy, their props director. He talks about what props are and takes us on a tour of the prop storage areas deep in the heart of the Rep. It’s pretty basic stuff, but it is always nice when a theater recognizes the people of the production department.
King’s Fine Woodworking builds Thor’s Hammer – This video shows the making of Mjolnir, Thor’s famed hammer from the Marvel movies, out of a giant block of silver maple, along with some walnut for the handle. It’s a cool twist to the standard replica prop build.
5 Things Wrong With the Arcade in ‘Stranger Things 2’ – GeekDad dives deep into the details of the set dressing for the 1980s arcade in the new season of Stranger Things. They lovingly point out where the decor deviates from history, but in most cases, they make a guess as to why the production department chose those changes.
Design Curves for Irregular Shapes – If you’ve never studied hand drafting, you may not know how to use a French curve (and some folks don’t even know that French curves exist). Chris Schwartz gives a quick tutorial for this tool that will help you draw smoother curves.
What are you looking for in a portfolio? – In this video, Laura Pates, Assistant Technical Director at Playmakers Rep, tells NCTC what kinds of things should go in a design/technical portfolio. Bonus points for being filmed in the lobby of Triad Stage, where I work!
You may have noticed these posts have gotten a bit sporadic lately. I’m not busier than before, but my mornings have become much less predictable, which is when I do most of my writing. I should be getting back on track soon as I adapt to my new life.
From Goodwill to Home Depot: Where the Guthrie Theater gets its props – Fantastic little article about Rebecca Jo Malmstrom, the Guthrie’s props shopper and fabricator. It’s always nice to see the different roles and in a props shop get some attention.
R is for Robot – Cinefex blog takes a look at the history of robots on film, from early costumes and stop motion, to today’s marriage of motion-capture and CGI.
30 Days Until Halloween: The Home and Family Yard Design – Though we’re already halfway through October, it’s not too late to catch up with Dave Lowe’s Halloween project. Every year, he creates a massive outdoor Halloween display for the Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family show, filled with dozens of handmade props.
They Don’t Make Theatre Sets Like they Used To – MessyNessy talks about when shows used to have hundreds of props, and has pictures to prove it. I think we can still find contemporary examples of set designs with intricate detail and an antique’s store worth of dressing, although none of it comes close to the Hippodrome in the early twentieth century.
Fit Irregular (Impossible!) Shapes with ‘Ticking Sticks’ – This is a ridiculously useful trick that I wish I had known sooner. It’s kind of hard to explain, but if you check out the pictures, you can see exactly what a “ticking stick” does.