Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fun with Props, Part I

Part of the fun of making films is putting your own stamp on them in creative (and sometimes mischievous) ways. Throughout nearly every production, opportunities arise for custom props to be designed. This is a chance to not only add a layer to the visual palette, but to pay tribute to some of the hard working folks behind the scenes.

Or in this case, to make them look like dangerous fugitives.

Chris Cooley’s scene with Sheriff Fuller actually takes place in the Hamilton, VA Town Hall—not a sheriff’s office. To aide the effect, we designed a handful of “wanted posters” for placement behind the actors. They’re not legible on screen, but from a distance, they do help create an aura of police work.

Instead of using random faces, we incorporated some of our own—taking great care to add fictitious names and rap sheets. 1st AD Gavin Peretti became "Diego Phillip Salvatore." Assistant Art Director Buzz Moon
ey became "Kenny Wayne Barksdale"—wanted for outstanding library fines and 137 counts of felony mattress tag removal.

Armorer/Stunt Coordinator Greg Labenz donned a nasty looking facial scar for his mugshot ("Nelson Memphis Conroy"). And one of the most menacing posters featured the man who applied Greg's special effects—(Jim Choate, "Mason Ambrose Crowley III").

Even Buzz Mooney's G.I. Joe got the mugshot treatment. Although he actually deserves it—he's been involved with several other prop shenanigans these past few days... but that story will have to wait for Part II.


  1. scary lookin' bunch of desperados!

  2. It was him, officer! the little short guy with the rivet in his neck!

  3. Big "props" to Art Director Ed Mantell who came up witht he original idea and 2nd AD / Producer / Digital propmaker Richard Friend for the brilliant execution. (yipes, did I say "execution?" For mattress tag removal? Noooooooooo!!!!!)