Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Tip #44: Use everyday props

By Itsuka Yamasaki (Producer)

Ambleton Delight is mostly contemporary so it is no surprise us recommending choosing a contemporary setting when it comes to thinking about costume and props!

1. Keep the story as contemporary as possible.
Obviously, if the budget is limited it's a lot easier to make it a modern story rather than a period drama.

2. Use what's available
In almost every case we were using real "live" locations and so used the props that were already there, such as working restaurants and kitchens. It is amazing how much this can bring to the production design.

3. Research
All of us in the production team, especially Sinéad who worked as the production designer, spent a lot of time researching to make the props and costumes as convincing as possible.

4. Ask for advise for accuracy
Our film did involve flashbacks taking place in 80's London and none of us in the production team were familiar with this setting. So we asked Ben Rhode, one of the writers who lived during this time period in London to help us to make wardrobe and props look as authentic as possible. Also on the very first day of principal photography, Ed, one of the restaurant managers helped me to present 'Ambleton Delight' in a realistic and good looking way as a restaurant would (refer to photo above left).

5. Be creative
There is a flashback scene where a person is carried on a stretcher in a hospital and a doctor and nurses are looking into the patient. First I thought, "At least a couple of uniforms and white gown, oh and we've got to hire a stretcher... how much is it going to be?" But Dan came up with this idea in which we only used white shirts, a mask and a borrowed supermarket trolley. We didn't have to spend any extra money!

6. Be organised
Ensure all important props are clearly marked in the script (production software such as Celtx can do this for you) and in the shooting schedule, so you don't have to hunt around for it on set! Then keep an inventory of props and a photographic record of how they were used on set in case of later continuity issues.

Above: Without-a-doubt the heaviest prop -the restaurant piano,
here being painfully gutted by Dan and Kieron

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