Introduction to prop making for film, TV, theatre and display
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
Location: Keeley Street
animator who wants to make props for your animation film, or are you interested in a career in window display? You will explore techniques used by the professionals to produce effective props and sets. Get hands-on experience of
sculpting, fabricating, casting, mould making and using paint effects. Learn about the demands of the industry from a
specialist tutor, and have a go at translating your own ideas into 3D. This course can be a stand alone introduction to the techniques of prop making or you can progress onto part 2 in the summer term. https://www.citylit.ac.uk/blog/introduction-career-prop-making.
Course Code: VU980
Available start dates
Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)
What is the course about?
This is part 1 of a 2 part introduction to prop making and working in the prop making industry. Part 1 is a practical 10-week introductory course for anyone interested in the prop making industry. It is very accessible, hands-on and friendly! You will explore a range of materials and techniques including carving and sculpting, fabricating, mould making, casting, finishing and paint effects. You will be encouraged to develop your personal interpretation and interests throughout the course.
Part 1 can be done as a stand alone course that focusses on techniques and processes. For a more in depth insight into working in the industry, you can progress onto Part 2 which happens in the summer term.
What will we cover?
- Sculpting in clay and Sculpey
- Carving in polystyrene and styrofoam
- Mould making and casting
- Life casting
- Paint effects and finishes
- Contextual research.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Sculpt objects in clay or Sculpey.
- Carve a basic sculpt in polystyrene or Styrofoam.
- Make a one-piece mould and cast in Jesmonite.
- Understand the concept of life casting and make at least one cast.
- Understand the concept of fabrication and manipulation of various materials.
- Use paint effects, finishes and experiments effectively.
- Identify areas within the prop making industry that might use your specific area of expertise.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is a beginner's course so no previous experience is necessary, although those with some experience are also welcome.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be introduced to new materials and techniques at each session, and encouraged to develop these to the best of your ability. You will be taught by demonstration followed by practical application, and given short tasks to follow. We understand that you might be more comfortable with some processes than others, but encourage you to have an open mind in order to experience all techniques and therefore gain the most from this course.
You will receive one-to-one guidance and there will also be group discussions. We also encourage independent research and investigation outside of the class, but this is not compulsory. You will be shown examples of work from practising prop makers and you will receive information about further progression routes available, in particular Part 2 which makes a complete introduction to the subject.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Basic materials are supplied, although you will be asked to bring in images and/or objects to support various tasks.
A camera/phone camera would be good to record the processes you undertake. If you get particularly enthusiastic about a certain process, you might want to buy extra materials. In this case you will get advice from the tutor during the class.
You must wear flat sturdy shoes with a closed toe. Please also wear old working clothes that you do not mind getting messy or bring overalls.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
After this course, if you would like to pursue your interest in prop making further and gain a more in-depth experience of the prop making industry, the ideal course for you is VU962 Introduction to prop making for film, TV, theatre and display: part 2.
The City Lit sculpture department offers a wide range of exciting courses that will allow you to progress from beginner to advanced and learn a range of techniques. After this course you may wish to join a course in a material or process you have tried before to develop your skills further, or try something completely different. We offer courses in prop making, metal, clay, wax, carving in stone and wood, mould making and casting in Jesmonite, and much more! You may wish to progress onto the year-long City Lit Sculpture course VU841, which helps you to build your own individual sculpture practice and culminates with an exhibition.
We are constantly adding new courses. Please ask your tutor for advice or browse the City Lit website for inspiration. It is also possible to contact our visual arts team by emailing email@example.com, or calling 020 7492 2700 Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm.
Ro Sylvester is a veteran of film and theatre, having made costume and props for productions such as ‘Hellraiser’ and ‘Legend’ back in the ‘80s. She ran a costume studio in Covent Garden for some time, supplying the Opera House and other West End Theatres with costumes and props. Ro also made many props and costumes for pop videos including Eddie Grant, Supertramp and New Order. From the early ‘90s, she worked in secondary and 6th form teaching, delivering exam courses in Design Technology, Textiles, Graphics, Computer Graphics and Model Making. Having retired from secondary teaching in 2017, Ro has worked to private commission in retail display, commercials and theatre. She has also worked as a tutor at City Lit, teaching; Model Making, Prop Making, Perspective, Pastel drawing and general creativity skills. She continues to create bespoke lightweight jewellery, window displays and props for theatre and film. Ro runs a lively and fast moving classroom, helping students to explore their potential and progress onto other courses where applicable. You can see much of her work and that of her students on her website.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.