FIDM Students visit History for Hire (and so Does Debbie!)

FIDM HFH 5-2015 # 1Laura Richarz, Set Decorator extrodinaire of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and True Blood, is once again teaching a new generation of possible set decorators at FIDM. The classes are designed to help new designers understand many creative career opportunities and gain insights into those businesses. These ones are specifically working towards a greater understanding of Set Decoration in Film and Television.

FIDM HFH 5-2015 # 2On Saturday May 23rd she took her class to History for Hire. The students were incredibly lucky to be given a private tour from one of the owners, Pam Elyea. She showed them around their immense (and painstakingly cataloged) prop house. They also had a chance to get a quick look at their design department where labels, pamphlets, posters and more are available and sometimes created from scratch. Not to mention the fabrication department (the very same one that made all of The Titanic life preservers and ticker tape machines for Lincoln).

I was also invited to open up my knowledge to the students and answer any questions they may have about local prop houses, how the business works, and what it entails to become a union member. Of course it didn’t hurt to talk about the new website, updated apps, as well as the newest book and e-book.


Bassman-Blaine in the LA Mart – A Must for Showroom Explorers

bassman-blaine-la-martThe REEF, the recently rebranded LA Mart, has some tantalizing showrooms on all of it’s floors. One of the great ones, of course, is Bassman-Blaine.

Started in 1984, they have garnered a large collection of designers to showcase. Contemporary furniture, decorative pillows, leather books, and more are at any interior designer or film production’s fingertips.

The website has a regularly updated list of available pieces, and like any good showroom anything on the floor is immediately available; both for purchase or rent.

A bonus for anyone, they have a commercial dock for convenience!


Remembering Jim Marin of Art Deco L.A.

I recently found out that Jim Marin, formerly the owner of Art Deco LA, had passed away in Las Vegas.

Jim was bigger than life. As an old biker boy his biggest downfall was his passion for his collection of great Art Deco Furniture lamps, rugs and decorative props.

Al from Al’s Studio Rental had sent me down to meet him at his first location in Hollywood. I never forgot our first meeting. I was walking in past his sign. “Studio Rentals only Everyone Else Keep Out!!!” When I walked past the sign and this big gruff guy in a t-shirt and blue jeans popped up over the large piece of furniture screaming obscenities at me until I walked up to him and introduced myself. At which point he melted into a kitten. Ya he was course, but he looked like he was homeless (or a Hells Angels Biker). I fondly remember him having a big heart though, with a soft spot in his larger than life persona.

Art Deco LA was first located in Hollywood next to Opamp Technical Books (also now gone sadly). He then relocated to the valley in what now houses ZG04 Decor before moving one last time to Lankershim where NEST Studio Rentals is currently located.

Nice to know that all locations that Jim picked turned into Prop House locations. He knew what really worked.

Jim was a colorful character of the Prop House owners and he will be missed. Funny I can still see his mischievous grin.

Hollywood Cinema Production Resources – Training the Next Generation of Set Decorators

H'wd CPR #3Kevin Considine and Laura Peterson have been quietly molding the next generation of craftsmen [AND craftswomen] for tomorrow’s union jobs in the Entertainment Industry through their program at West Los Angeles College. Their associated prop house is called Hollywood Cinema Production Resources, or Hollywood CPR.H'wd CPR #1

I had a unique opportunity to talk to these students today, and I can say with a lot of confidence that they are promising. The students involved in the program are fine tuning their skills in key areas of labor union crafts and creative/technical departments. Gaining foundational skills on for the real world from experienced industry professionals.H'wd CPR #2

At the end of my lecture I took a quick snap of the classroom. Take a look at the fresh new faces coming into the job market, ready to work as set decorators, greens, costumers, set lighting, grips and more.

And trust me, they are ready to work.

Website: &

SDSA GMM – May General Membership Meeting @ Ob•jects

SDSA 5-21-2015Tom and Fred of Ob•jects have been avid supporters of the Set Decorators Society of America, going all the way back to their first get together held 20 years ago at their Beverly location.

As they always are, it was nice to say hello to the set decorator members who came for some food, conversation, and a chance to look around. There was some reminiscing about Ob•jects’ first move to the Westside followed with their major move to their current location. They are now located in the Valley.

With plenty of parking and a fresh new showroom full of wonderful Ob•jects (all ready for rent of course) decorators were able to walk through the aisles. They have certainly taken advantage of their new space including the incredibly helpful, oft-neglected lighting which was installed when they moved in. One can forget how important it is to SEE the inventory available.

So if you didn’t have a chance to check them out yesterday, go to Ob•jects and check out their great space. I’m sure you have no Ob•ject-tions!


Memorial Day 2015 (or Why the Office is Closed Until Tuesday)

memorial-dayThis next Monday is Memorial Day, as many of you know, and that means there won’t be too much work going on next week.

It also means it’s a great time to not show up to work.

Which is what the Debbies Book staff will be doing. Not going to work I mean.

So I hope all of you get a chance to sit back with your feet up, sip on a drink of choice, and bask in the quietude that is not work.

You could also take a look at the new website we just soft launched. It’s pretty sweet.

Air Hollywood – Just Plane Everything

Air Hollywood‘s 60,000-plus sq. ft. studio houses mock-ups of airline cabins with economy and first class rows, cockpit and lavatory—all fully dressed and camera-ready, allowing you to shoot interiors free of airport security issues. The aviation-themed studio also has a turbulence platform and an airport terminal stage. Props & set dressing are available for rent, and set design & fabrication services are provided for a fee.

Air Hollywood has several great programs beyond its production services. The studio partners with the nonprofit Open Sky for Autism to help the autistic adventurers and their family members acclimate to air travel, allowing everyone to prepare for and enjoy the travel experience.

The K9 Flight School training acclimates your service dog and furry companion to the busy and crowded airport environment, TSA check points, narrow aisles, airplane takeoff and landing, and airplane turbulence. The school will also certify your dog, making your airline arrangements and trip a lot easier.

Air Hollywood also has The Pan Am Experience. If you’re too young to remember the days of Pan American Airlines, think Catch Me If You Can or the TV series Pan Am. It’s a Pan Am museum/dinner theater experience that transports you back to the golden era of air travel.


Palms Cycle Shop – Bikes of All Types

Palm Cycle AdIs it time to get those backlot bikes tuned up? Need prop bikes for your upcoming shoot? Or summer’s coming and you just want to cycle in the sun. Palms Cycle Shop is the place to go. You’ll find mountain bikes, road bikes, vintage bikes, custom bikes and more.

If you have a very specific look needed for your shoot [or just for yourself], the bike enthusiasts at Palms Cycle can build, restore or create your perfect cycle. Repairs, accessories, powder coating—the bike will shine like new again. Palms Cycle has been in the same location for 80 years and is a standard among L.A.’s cycling community. Stop in and check out the many bikes in stock. You’ll probably leave on two wheels.


Arcade Amusements – The Company that’s Got Game

show_photoThe games begin with Arcade Amusements. Whether for a corporate shindig or a Hollywood shoot, Arcade Amusements rents classic video games, racing and sports games and a whole lot more. Find out who’s the pinball wizard or skeeball master; who rocks the mike with karaoke or Wii Rock Band; who’s got the smooth moves with Dance Dance Revolution. Take the event old school with Pac Man and Ms., Asteroids, Centipede and Donkey Kong. Feeling the need for speed? NASCAR racing and Daytona USA will get you there.

Arcade Amusements also rents jukeboxes, poker tables and other table games like pool, air hockey, and ping pong. Photo booths and a Big Shot camera (a giant selfie camera) capture the fun. Check out the website for everything Arcade Amusements has to offer.


Warner Bros Design Studio – One Stop Shop for More than Props

show_photoWall coverings, pamphlets, and upholstery are pretty common services that you always need done well the first time. What about the fabrication of giant hands holding a microphone (oh and they all have to look the exact same)? Maybe something else needs to be printed on wood? How about a faux tile or tin finish that needs to be made affordably and move around more easily than tile or tin?

Well I know of one place that can handle all of these projects, from the mundane to the incredibly unusual. Warner Bros. Design Studio, Scenic Art & Sign Shop.

Many forget that there are still a couple of places that are practically one stop shops, the original studios, and one of the very best is Warner Bros.

Your work does not have to even remotely deal with the Entertainment Industry either. Know someone who wants some custom arches for their backyard? Call Warner Bros. What about some custom cabinetry? Call Warner Bros.

So from commercial, television, and film sets all the way over to interior design, architectural fabrication, and even wood moulding, don’t forget one of the biggest guys (and gals) in town can still do it all.