Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Prop Master- April 8, 2014

It occurred to me yesterday, that while I regularly post about individual projects, I don't regularly post about how I do my work on a daily basis. So yesterday I decided to keep track of everything I did (on a particularly busy, interesting day).
9:00 am- I am working on a big fake food project for my next show, Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche, for which I need 60-80 fake quiches. Since they need to bake, take time to bake, and take up room in the oven, I am trying to do a few every morning. I mixed up some salt dough for the crusts, preheated to oven to 400 degrees, pressed the dough into the pie pans, put them in the oven, and then turned off the oven, closed the door and left them. 

9:30 am- with the quiches all set, I got on my computer to respond to emails, enter in receipts from the past days, put some meetings onto my calendar etc. 
10:00 am- Still on my computer at home, I switched to craigslist to do an initial search for some furniture pieces for Five Lesbians.

 11:00 am- Ten minutes after getting out the door, I stopped by the Jewel (grocery store). I picked up more salt and flour for salt-dough crusts, some eggs for another project (more on that later), and a muffin and some milk for my breakfast (No worries Mom, I pulled over to take this pic).
 11:30 am- I arrived at Michaels. I picked up wax and Model Magic for the quiches, and some egg decor items for the same show. 
 12:00 pm- I went to the Greenhouse Theatre. The building houses four theatres, which are rented out by different companies. I happen to be working on two shows, for different theatre companies, that are both in the Greenhouse right now.
 First, I went upstairs to finish the last note I have on Cicada with Route 66 Theatre Company. There is a scene in the show where a character has been ironing. We needed 10 starched, ironed white collared shirts. The shirts were provided by costumes, because she was being helpful, but starching and ironing them was my job. I did 6 of the shirts the day before, but had to leave to get to another appointment before finishing, so I was back to finish the last 4.
 1:00 pm- After finishing the shirts, and discovering a new respect for wardrobe people, I went downstairs to take care of a last note for Our Class. The show was open, but I had gotten a note from the ASM that the leather on this reinforced suitcase was starting to give. There is a simple wood frame installed inside the suitcase to make it sit-able. I added a few screws to attach the leather case to the wood frame, so it stopped pulling away in strange ways when the case was lifted.
 1:45 pm- After leaving the Greenhouse I headed north toward my 3pm American Dead meeting in Evanston. On the way I stopped into the Good Deal Garage. I wanted to have a few more rehearsal props to drop off at my 5 Lesbians meeting tonight, and knew that they would have the frames I needed for a decent price. I paid, and was out the door in 15 minutes.
 2:00 pm- As I continued up to the Northwestern campus in Evanston I kept an eye out for somewhere to stop for lunch. Hoosier Mama Pie shop was on the way, and I had heard good things about it. I stopped for a rootbeer and a slice of pork-apple-sage savory pie.
 2:50 pm- I arrived a bit early for my American Dead meeting, but found the set designer and director already there. We discussed the layout of the space a bit, and then talked through the rest of the show with the master electrician, production manager and costume designer once they arrived.

4:30 pm- After leaving the meeting, I headed home (and this is when I stopped remembering to take pics...sorry). I stopped by a Salvation Army that was on my route. I was able to find a few more pie plates, and I also picked up an old sauce pan.

5:00 pm- I unloaded some of the days purchases from my car, quickly melted some wax and went to work on quiches. I wanted to have some samples of options ready for the my 6 pm meeting. I was able to pour a yellow wax filling into 2 quiche dishes, and to form the model magic into 4 crusts. As soon as the wax was set, I packed up what I could and was out the door.

6:00 pm- Luckily, the 5 Lesbians meetings take place only 5 minutes from my house. The one hour meeting ended up being mostly about set dressing, props and special effects, so while I felt bad about taking up other people's time, I got lots of important answers to my questions.

7:15 pm- From the meeting I headed back down to the Greenhouse for final dress rehearsal of Cicada. On the way, I stopped by the same Jewel to get more starch for the shirts. I had just enough of the starch I purchased previously to do all ten shirts, but wanted to make sure the ASM had some to touch up the shirts if he needed to during the run. I also picked up a plate of to-go sushi for dinner (it wasn't very good).

7:30 pm- I arrived at final dress a bit late, and snuck in quietly to take a seat in the dark. I took a few notes during the show, but mostly everything was in good shape.

8:30 pm- After the run ended, there was a photo call with the cast onstage, and the production team talked through tech notes, and then we were done.

10:00 pm- I arrived back at home after a long day. I still had those eggs sitting out on the counter though and Warwick, my husband, was showering and shaving. So while I waited for him I decided to get one more note done.
In Pinkolandia, about to open at 16th Street Theatre, I needed 3 hollowed out eggs nightly. I poked holes in them with the end of my beater and then blew out the insides. I did about a dozen eggs, and then was done for the night.

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