Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Props - life sized animals, dinosaurs, and characters

You never really know what you will find yourself in the need of when you are bidding projects.  The latest museum project has me looking for farm animals and I came across this site: Butlers and Signs.

They carry life sized fiberglass and resin props.  The prices seem fairly reasonable, though probably too high for theatrical props.

Some of what they carry includes Christmas and Santa themed items (great for those Santa visits), dinosaurs, mounted heads, cowboys, pirates, butlers, carousal horses, oversized food and lots of zoo and farm animals.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

USITT Tech Expo

It is not too late to submit your innovative technical solution to USITT's 2015 Tech Expo.  Download the form here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gaff Tape Runner

And now for a product that should have been invented years ago (or was and just not marketed): GaffGun.

I am waiting for one that carries a handful of colors of spike tape marketed to stage managers next...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Digital torque wrench

I was reading a handyman magazine and they had a product that I thought would be a good edition to any theatre technicians tool bag- a digital torque wrench that can be used with any 1/2" socket.  It can also be used with 3/8" and 1/4" adapters.  It is made by Pittsburgh and available at Harbor Freight for under $40.  

Thursday, October 9, 2014


While browsing linked in I cam across this post from ibookbinding on marbling tutorials.  I remember doing this as a kids, and thought it was lots of fun at the time.  Obviously by the title you can tell that this isn't exactly a theatrical site, but I thought that as I looked over the post, that if you adjusted the basin, you would be able to do tiles to create a marble effect onstage.  I know that scenic artists have ways of creating these effects already, but I don't think it ever hurts to have a new technique in your tool bag!

Friday, October 3, 2014

What Type of Collaborator Are You?

One way to look at how you handle collaboration, along with how those you work with act. Knowing a bit about how other people work can help you navigate interactions.  

Mindjet has a blog that has a number of short, to the point entries that are both fun and useful for getting work done.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Technology Training Free Resources

I came across IDC Technologies September 2014's newsletter technical download page, and thought that it is good information to keep as well as to pass on. The page offers a number of links ranging from project management to mechanical Design Concepts for Non-Mechanical Engineers to a train the trainer document.  They also have webinars available, that would be worth looking into.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Electro-magnetic Boards

I recently received an email about a product called Justick.  Its basically a bulletin board without pins, tapes, etc - where notes just stick, without any additional aid.  This works via an electromagnetic field, generated by AA batteries.

While this probably is not robust enough to hold up in some environments, I could see uses.  If you could control the power remotely, things could easily fall onstage.  But I could see it more in use backstage, or for use in meetings where you may not have a post it note, but need to make a note.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

History of Prop Money

Priceonomics has an interesting article called The Business of Fake Hollywood Money.  It’s a really interesting read.  I have certainly ran into issues when I have done props in the past – making money realistic enough for use, but in a way that we could do without getting into trouble (its not like you can just go to the local kinkos and plop a $5 bill down on the copy machine…).

The article is also interesting as it discusses some of the Hollywood prop shops.  And for listing the book by Fred Reed called Show Me the Money, about the history of money in the movies.  It is definitely a book to add to my reading list!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Anticipating Questions and Problems

Anticipating questions and potential problems is a basic step in technical direction and in project management, but one that I often see skipped when the timeline gets tight.

I read once that 70% of project related questions could be anticipated and prepared for – things like schedule, facility information (dock, door / elevator sizes, etc), contact information for onsite, and so forth are easy to anticipate and this information should be collected early.  Asking these questions in advance allow the PM or TD to be prepared when the project is discussed with the crew, since the PM/TD will already be able to answer the crews questions or will present the information as part of the discussion.

While I think that collecting this information in the beginning, it seems like the step often gets skipped when the project is on a fast track.  I also see situations where a TD/PM is somewhat reactive to information instead of proactive.  I know that personally I often avoid any sort of intake forms when I am starting a project, yet these have usually been created for a reason, often reminding the user of a variety of questions to ask and necessary information.  Often I find that clients don’t seem to have all of the necessary information either, but asking the question early at least spurs them into collecting the necessary information.  And using forms shouldn’t be seen as a weakness, there is often a lot of wasted time collecting information that could easily be streamlined if the necessary information was anticipated.  Further, potential problems could be anticipated with information presented early in the process.