Behind the scenes: designing the props for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Pierre Bohanna talks about some of the fantastic props he was tasked to create for JK Rowling’s latest foray into the Harry Potter universe. He also details some of the biggest challenges; surprisingly, recreating 1926 New York was more difficult than finding fantastic beasts.
Props: Fur, Foam & Focus – Zoë Morsette talks with Stage Directions magazine about her career and some of the favorite props she built. She discusses some great specifics about materials, techniques, and tools used on some recognizable props. She also gives helpful advice for the early career prop professional.
Floating Worlds: The Santa Fe Opera Scene Shop – This article brings us some beautiful photographs and in-depth interviews with Scott Schreck and Mike Ortiz, the technical director and associate technical director of the Santa Fe Opera. Find out how they build scenery for operas that travel all over the world.
Our Favorite Movie Props at Comic-Con 2018! – The Prop Store is getting ready for a big auction of rare and iconic movie props. They recently brought a bunch of them to San Diego Comic Con. This fifteen-minute video looks at their collection during this brief opportunity to see all these famous props in one location.
Faberge Caravan – The Prop Solve is back after a brief hiatus, but she returns with a fantastic post showing a Faberge egg she made in the style of a 1970s caravan trailer. There are lots of great tips and photos showing how she modeled tiny benches and appliances to fit the curves of an egg-shaped vehicle.
Whew, another big week. I had a baby this past Sunday. President Obama declared it the National Week of Making. And for my British readers, you can always come over here to make props if you don’t like how things are going in your country (though you may want to wait until after November in case things go poorly here). But for now, onto the links:
Making theater magic, one prop at a time – The Queens Chronicle looks at Zoe Morsette, a prop maker in Long Island City. Over her multi-decade career, she has made props for many Broadway musicals, as well as 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live.
Theatre excels at exposing injustices, just not its own – A great article on how backstage workers often work unpaid hours, have mis-classified contracts, or are otherwise taken advantage of by theatre companies. Though this is written about theatre in the UK, the same conditions exist throughout the US. In many cases, the common practices are so ingrained, that most theatre people do not even realize many of them are illegal. Unpaid internships are one of the biggest offenders, as are paying workers with a 1099 rather than a W-2.
Ming Cho Lee: Set Designer Extraordinaire – Ming Cho Lee, one of the godfathers of American set design, is having an exhibition of his work at New York’s Museum of Chinese in America. It showcases much of his work, from Shakespeare in the Park to Broadway.
Miniature models built by Markus – Finally, check out this video on the miniature work of Markus Rothkranz. He has been making highly detailed miniatures and models for TV and film for several decades.
It’s Friday; enjoy it while you can. For many of us, things are starting to gear back up. School is upon us, new seasons of theatre are beginning as summer stock draws to a close. It’s just a busier time of year all around. So enjoy the following bits from around the web if you get a break:
Here is a newspaper article on Zoe Morsette, who builds specialty props for Broadway (such as Les Miserables and Shrek) and television (including 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live).
This Diablo sculpture is a pretty intense piece made by Jason Babler, the creative director of Make Magazine. He does a tremendous job documenting the various materials and methods he uses to build the various shapes and textures which make up this creature.
“What Tools Do I Need to Start Woodworking” takes a good look at that question, and the answer is useful for any craft, not just woodworking. As the author says:
“The problem is that without experience, a beginner really isn’t able to tell the often-subtle difference between specialized tools. If you get one chisel, one saw, or one plane and put it to work, you’ll begin to understand the relationship between your eyes, brain, hands, sharp steel and wood. When you develop that understanding, the next tool to get becomes obvious.”
To celebrate the release of the first season of Grimm on DVD, NBC has released a short video with prop master Drew Pinniger detailing many of the fantastical props made for the show. Grimm is a fairly imaginative show, and the custom props it features every week are always fun to watch.