What about props?
What is a Prop?
A theatrical property, also known as a prop, is an item that belongs to and is used in a production. A prop is a mobile item that can be positioned on stage, or that is used by members of the cast. If you can wear it, it’s a costume. If you can’t move it, it’s scenery, and if you can , it’s a prop. And, with enough props in store, you can stage anything you can imagine.
Prop Makers usually work for film, TV or theatre productions. Prop makers make a variety of items. This could be anything from replica weapons to ….I don t know….trees, a bottle , a futuristic appliance, anything you can think of. In our case we look at props used in star trek. A prop can make or break a scene. For instance the Horga’hn statuette in Deep space nine.
Or Kirk holding a rather suspicious looking stalactite in TOS episode ”What Are Little Girls Made Of”.
Props in star trek are almost as important as the actor. What would Kirk be without his communicator or the Doctor without his Hypospray. Just imagine a scene without iconic props such as phasers, tricorders or even an entire Bridge set.
Most prop makers start out with a technical drawing. They usually have a good knowledge of computer design packages, the ability to work safely with typical industry materials (e.g., fiberglass, latex, foam, polystyrene, wood, cotton and steel), and the ability to work with a variety of different machinery and tools. And sometimes one also has to have the ability to compromise and use every day objects and turn them in to something else. A simple household appliance like a Hitachi bread maker turned into a sophisticated stasis container in DS9. A potato peeler becomes a scanning device.
A Jabra headphone becomes an eyepiece for Scotty. In some cases some props are used just as they are such as a barcode scanner on the bridge of the Enterprise, or an electric hand-dryer by Dyson on the wall in the 2009 star trek reboot movie. Some things make you even scratch your head such as a dog with a wig , a few lobster antennas and an ice-cream cone glued to its head to make it look more “alien”.
But when done well a prop is a thing of beauty, a veritable work of art.
Props are as old as the art of performance itself .
A professional prop maker is flexible and versatile, able to work with imagination and ingenuity. They have creative problem solving skills, prone to new ideas, and learning new skills and techniques. A most imaginative folk, without them theatre, movies and TV would in fact be very boring.
Want to know all about props? Then come and talk to one of the sector 31 prop makers at our next meeting.
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