Debbies Book Digest – Scenic Expressions

We spoke with Mark & Robert Larinto, the managing partners of 4 separate set construction and storage companies; Scenic Expressions, Centerline Scenery, Scenic Highlights, and Upstate Rentals. In our series Debbies Book Digest we ask a few simple questions of some of the businesses working in the film, television and event industries about their background, experience, and love of the entertainment fields.

Mark & Robert Larinto celebrating 25 years working with the industry.

Question: What drew you into the film and television industries?

My family has been in the industry since I was child. My father was an executive at 20th Century Fox and my mother was the first employee of Scenic Express, one of the industry’s first set construction shops. Scenic Expressions was borne from Scenic Express. Soon after my mother left Scenic Express, she purchased Scenic Expressions. Within a year my brother Robert & I were working at the business, this was back in 1997.

Question: What strengths do you believe your companies bring to the table?

We’ve had to diversify our offerings but stay within our vertical. So, we offer set construction, rentals, trucking & storage.  All are within our vertical, all have the same customer base & all work together to make our offering easy to use.

Question: What do you believe has contributed to your longevity in the industry?

Relationships are the core of our businesses. We wouldn’t be in business if we didn’t maintain our relationships. There hasn’t been a day over the last 25 years that myself or my partner haven’t been available to our customers. We have staff that handles most of the day to day work, being available to customers is critical to our business.

Question: What piece of advice would you give newcomers to this industry, both from a business perspective and for creatives?

I tell our new employees to work all of the hours they can, because there are times when the industry slows down. I also have had the opportunity to talk to new business owners in the industry & my standard line there is “this is a marathon, not a sprint”. This industry rewards perseverance and steadfastness.

Question: What do you find is most rewarding about working in The Industry?

I love being a part of a creative process. Building sets allows us to play a part in the overall concept that’s being communicated. Whether is a scene in a play, or just set pieces for a musical act. It’s always different and exciting.

All photos provided by Scenic Expressions
Located on Lankershim Blvd, Scenic Expressions has a large fleet of trucks and trailers, and over 500,000 square feet of storage space.

If you would like to have your company/production featured contact us! | (626) 797-7699

Where to Find Astronautical Dressing & Costumes

Action Sets and Props / WonderWorks, Inc.
Action Sets and Props / WonderWorks, Inc.

You’ve finally landed on the distant planet. Something you’ve dreamed of since you were a child. The camera slowly rolls past your shoulder too look through the viewport. All the eye can see is vast, uninhabitable terrain. You’ve trained for this moment, your colleagues have too. There’s just one more thing missing before you step out on that new planet toward the unknown. You’re going to need a spacesuit.

Of course the kicker is that most places don’t carry such unique suits, let alone shuttles and other NASA dressing. If only there was a resource that helped track down the unusual, the hard to find, and occasionally the simply odd.

Oh that’s right. Debbies Book:

Action Sets and Props/Wonderworks, Inc.
Space shuttles and space stations, expertise in working with realistic effects, miniatures, spacesuits, NASA dressing, and rovers. If your next shoot involves anything space, this is where to start. From realistic replicas to fabrication of futuristic pieces Wonderworks will get you there and back in time for supper.

Global Effects
Global Effects is always a great place to stop for costumes, props and miniatures. When it comes to space, that is no less the case. Realistic and futuristic costumes abound along with creature effects, makeup effects and more. They also have some great suits of armor and other historical items.

LCW Props
LCW Props is known for being eclectic, and never in a bad way. They have a large selection of aerospace parts and test planes, and other pieces perfect for dressing a scene that needs them.

Modern Props
From the useful (think space shuttle hardware and computer panels) to the out of this galaxy (such as their pulsating futuristic lamps and passkey controls) they are perfect for getting your set to look right. They even manufacture items perfect for a spaceship bridge and assorted terminals. You will never regret stopping at Modern Props, and even less so for dressing from contemporary and beyond!

N.S. Aerospace Props
This spot is filled to the brim with rocket engines, hardware, industrial parts and much more. From newer models to antiques it is a great place to grab a lot of hardware in one place. You may not get the whole ship there but you will have plenty of parts to work with inside of a ship!

Space scenes have very specific needs, so why not go to the places that have those specific items?

Where to Find Hospital Equipment & Dressing

Angelus Medical & Optical Co
Angelus Medical & Optical Co

We see it all of the time in movies and television shows. Someone gets injured and they are now in the hospital. But where do you get all of the equipment needed to dress a room (or more) to look like a hospital without stealing everything from a hospital? That’s where Debbies Book always shines. We do not promote stealing.

It’s always helpful when there are specialty prop houses, and searching for medical equipment and supplies are no exception:

A-1 Medical Integration
Patient handling equipment (such as stretchers and gurneys), OBGYN equipment, patient monitoring systems and much more. They are one of the 3 big medical emphasis prop houses around. Darren and his crew will set you up quickly and accurately for your next hospital dressing needs.

Alpha Companies – Spellman Desk
Alpha Companies is unique in that they have two specialties. Medical equipment and multiples of furniture. Need operating room equipment? They’ve got what you need to fill that room. Need waiting room dressing? Ding ding, that’s available too with cleared artwork, traditional furniture and even fake flowers for the dressing. You can easily find what you need for more than just the emergency and hospital equipment at this conveniently located prop house. They also have locations in Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta!

Angelus Medical & Optical Co., Inc.
What’s a better supplier for medical furniture and supplies than the guys that supply the real deal to actual hospitals and emergency services? Angelus Medical has been around probably the longest renting and selling equipment to the industry, but their main focus has always been supplying to the medical field. Need antique medical supplies? They’ve got that too. From exam room chairs to whatever hyfrecators are they can tell you what you need and supply it too.

Of course there are always other prop houses who supply smaller varieties of medical and hospital equipment but it never hurts to start with the experts!

Where to Find Miniatures

My Doll’s House – New Tudor House

Whether it is for a toy commercial, practical special effects, or to simply make someone look ridiculously huge, miniature buildings and sets are an important part of the industry.

It can also be a real pain to track them down, especially if you are going to need it custom built. Because of that I have created a list of a few companies that either have what you need in stock or can get the job done for you when you need it (while also looking good).

Art, Models & Props
Prop fabricators extraordinaires over at Art, Models & Props have the years of experience many people can and have counted on to make the props they need. They have an extensive list of credits that have included realistic plane models, cities, and sculptures. Reaching out to them would not be a mistake.

Action Sets and Props / WonderWorks
As the go to experts when it comes to space exploration (including a wonderful collection of space suits and space shuttle interiors) it’s no wonder they are also the experts on models of the same genre. From a models of the X-31 to Star Trek Voyagers Kazan ship, they’ve also dabbled in realistic miniature barns and trains!

Culver Architects
Who better to ask for architectural models for a scene than architects? With decades of architectural experience (and plenty of samples at hand) Culver Architects is a great stop for picking up items that need to dress an architects office, or even a boardroom discussing a “future project”.

My Doll’s House
It’s always nice to see talented hobbyists turn that interest into a long and successful business. That is what they have done over at My Doll’s House. Meticulous detail is worked into every dollhouse they make. Realistic ivy growing on the side, a small “man cave” complete with woodworking materials, and faux brick you wouldn’t know was fake except that it’s on a ridiculously tiny house. Swing by them for all of your doll housing needs!

Merritt Productions
A custom prop fabrication company for 30 years, Merritt can get you where you need to be. Mechanical effects, model making, and special effects are their specialty. That all, of course, includes miniatures. It never hurts to have experience on your side when you are working on a project.

Glenn R Johnson Scale Models
If it is miniatures you need why not go to the experts in the business? From commercial buildings and military bases to residential and school models, Glenn R Johnson Scale Models has done it all. Little tiny trees, cars and fountains have all been included in their pieces in the past. When architects come to them for their skills you know they mean business.

Sketch Paper Design
One of those “under the radar” companies, Sketch Paper Design has been quietly creating miniatures sets. From a realistic stage for a doll commercial (including lighting & gels, rigging and even drapery) to a fully realized miniature warehouse with smokestacks, these guys are getting it done.

Of course there are plenty more, this is just a few so check out our category Miniatures/Models. I am looking to make more posts about items our users could be looking out for so let me know if you have any suggestions for the next one!

The ReUse People – (or How to Save Money on Materials)

PrintIf you have ever wondered what happens to building materials that can be reused when a new construction project is underway, we have an answer for you.

The ReUse People (aptly named) work to keep reusable materials out of landfills and instead find them a new job. Materials are obtained through deconstructing rather than demolishing a structure, which allows them to salvage a wide range of items. Everything from bricks and flooring to hardware and appliances, you can find these things and more at one of their retail facilities.

They also work to educate others about deconstruction and materials salvage, so that more items can find their way to a new home or building. Not to mention they are more affordable!


Tractor Vision Scenery & Rentals – From Doors and Floors to so Much More

show_photo-3Isn’t it great to find out you have more options than you thought possible?

Tractor Vision Scenery & Rentals can always fabricate the set you need, but it’s always better (not to mention cheaper and way faster) to just rent what you need.

If you swing over to their website and glance at their rentals the first thing you will realize right off the bat is they have 39 doors to choose from (and more not even uploaded), not to mention the available floors, walls and other items available for rent.

Need a clean hardwood floor for your set? Easy enough, what about a grungy porch flooring? Available too.

Of course they also have scenic artists, large format printing, and event design available so don’t even think of putting them in a corner (unless of course you’re putting their walls or flooring in a corner, that would make sense actually).


Chris G TV – Set Construction to Full Blown Production Design

sequestered10_largeProduction Design – Realizing a style and theme for sets, props and locations that is aligned with a director’s (and others’) vision.

Chris G TV can get what you need done. Chris Giammalvo is a Local 800 member with over 14 years of experience in the industry. From designing and set construction to the whole production design he’s made a business out of getting a vision done right.

fitness11_largeThey have everything from carpenters and plasterers to set decorators and graphic designers waiting for your next project. They have a wide berth of experience too. From working with the Kids Choice Awards and on location home shoots to workout videos and McDonalds commercials, they can do it.

Of course sometimes you just need some scene flats or a bit of CNC routing. All of this can be provided by Chris G TV. So for your next project, whether a web series or a full production, you should drop him a call. You’d be surprised what they can accomplish.

Website: – What is HD Car Projection?

Ever wonder how an actor can manage to drive in those crazy stunts where they’re being chased?show_photo-1

Spoiler Alert: They most likely aren’t driving at all. In fact, they are likely inside a studio and the action is just being projected behind them. There is also a chance that they are at a specific studio. to be exact.

Along with their large stock photos and videos available (and a design team that can make whatever you really need) 24Frame also has the equipment necessary and the stage to get that chase scene you need. With decades of experience and the most up to date equipment they can project whatever your script desires behind the actors in the appropriate vehicle.

Of course they also offer their classic 24P playback and sync, 24/30 frame video playback, and many post production services.


Jet Sets – Practical Effects Can Look Digital and Awesome

Jet Sets, a prop and set construction company located in North Hollywood, has recently posted a couple of pieces they created on their blog.4005_1189x841_WM_F1_UK_P13878_R1

One of my favorites has to be their unique design of LED embedded polished acrylic. Originally their client wanted a neon frame that could be placed on a car to give the impression the car ran like a race car. After neon was deemed too fragile the team over at Jet Sets made their desire a reality with their clever implementation.

With a crack team of designers, fabricators, and all of the tools necessary to get the product out, Jet Sets has always been one of the go to companies for getting your idea completed. Onsite CNC routers, 3D printers, and a fully staffed graphics department allow them to make almost anything become a reality.

IMG_0008The next time you need anything made why not swing by and chat with their team, they’ll get your set or prop up and running before you can say, “Thanks Jet Sets, you really saved my butt on that since neon is a pretty fragile medium and the cars will be running pretty quickly. Not to mention getting there and installing it may break it before we even attempt to get the shot!”

That may be a mouthful but two sentences is actually a really fast turnaround.


Dancing with the Stars Underwater Themed Balloon Sculptures – Aah-Inspiring Balloons

According to Bambi over at Aah-Inspiring Balloons they recently worked with Jason Howard on a really fun underwater themed set for Dancing with the Stars.

Some of my favorite pieces in this set are the sea horses (all made from balloons, of course) and the little “seaweed” plants (also balloons, of course) giving the whole set a dreamlike cartoon look.

Of course, if you needed another reason to watch the video other than seeing the great set dressing, there is some really cool dancing too!

As an aside, I can’t for the life of me understand how some women can so enthusiastically dance around in heels. I hate just walking the frickin’ things.