We open to our protagonist working (sort of) on her laptop in the evening with a glass of wine in hand. Suddenly her cell phone rings.
It’s her boss, there’s a big scoop, and she needs to get to the office ASAP, preferably an hour ago!
We finally get to the office where a security guard is sitting inside the entrance at his computer. They wave familiarly to each other as he buzzes her in and our character walks from this quiet first room to a large, open office buzzing with activity; landline phones, cell phones, monitors and television screens abound. It’s going to be a long work night.
The most common kinds of productions take place, more or less, in the here and now. The latest cell phones, laptops and television screens (to name just a few things) need to be present to set the scene. Sometimes the simplest of items can be hard to track down quickly and affordably, especially when you are talking about current technologies with current technology costs (I’m looking at YOU iPhone X).
On top of that, sometimes behind the camera a production needs current technologies. Wifi boxes (MiFis, hotspots), laptops, cell phones and more need to be available for a crew that doesn’t have those items themselves. Where do you rent modern technology, especially WORKING modern technology?!? Oh that’s right, Debbies Book can help with that.
Cell phones, cell phone plans (temporary and long term), laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots and routers. Airwaves is one of the two gotos for working, handheld and modern tech. They also carry laptops, smartwatches and more. Whether it’s for in front of the camera or behind they can get it to you.
Looking for some Blackberry’s, or perhaps some flip phones or at least phones with keypads? When it comes to “not new” cell phones LCW has you covered. Computer monitors, computers (from Ataris to more modern desktop towers), servers are available. They are also a great resource for the seemingly always needed “tech bench” with monitors and computers attached.
From PDAs, CRT Monitors and “folding computer pocket organizer” resource to futuristic faux technology with moving and blinking lights that do whatever you need them to. Modern Props is the go to for those and everything in-between. Check out their website and their new location!
What better place to get electronics than from a place that has been purposefully collecting and repairing them for decades? RJR Props, located in Atlanta, is an electronic repair company turned prop house. From servers to computers and more they’re a great resources, especially for the South and East Coast.
The Hand Prop Room
Cell phones, televisions, radios and office equipment, many rigged for production. They aren’t called the Hand Prop Room for nothing!
Wireless for All
Cell phones, Go Pros, tablets, screen protectors, accessories, plans and more. If it needs to be modern and working, they will work with you. On top of what they have in their inventory, they repair items too. Specializing in screen repairs, they can make that cell phone look like you never dropped your glass water bottle on it.
Woody’s Electrical Props
Need wallmounted computer panels, levers, servers, and more? Woody’s has been providing Control Panels and Consoles for years. Modern Industrial, Antique Industrial, Mission Control, Air Tower, Computer Room, Military and Fantasy Sets have all included Woody’s creations.
Honorable Mentions: Omega/CP Two – Rooms of tech, both working and non-practical. Give them a call, they’ve got it most likely. Sony Prop House (Off Lot) – Computers, gadgets and more from over the decades. Universal Studios Property – Laptops of various decades, gaming consoles, desktop computers, monitors and more. Warner Bros Property – Old school floppy drives to modern laptops and desktops. They even have laptop cases!
There ain’t no rest for the wicked, and apparently many prop houses too, for the coming Monday before the 4th of July!
For specific prop houses, check out the list below. All of the following will be open for at least partial hours starting in the morning:
For a longer list of prop houses on Debbies Book, you can check it out here:
May everyone have a fantastic 4th of July! Specifically for those lucky few where it’s an option, may you enjoy your four day weekend!
Some people are working this Good Friday, while others won’t be (and are probably going to have a Great Friday).
For those of us who WILL be working, it’s good to have a list of shops open. Some people will be open for half days (leaving after lunch) so we have split up the list into two with partials closing around lunchtime.
A cowboy is racing towards a small shack on his trusty stead, being chased by God knows what. He jumps off and runs into the humble structure; the door isn’t even locked. Pulling on a seemingly random series of wooden panels on the wall a hole and staircase appear below. He presses a button in the stairwell as he descends, once again hiding the secret entrance. As we enter below the camera peels away to look around the room. Computer control panels, half completed robots, and futuristic weaponry abound.
Steampunk is a sci-fi fantasy genre often placed in a Victorian or Wild West setting. Generally it is a period setting with one minor change. Machines wilder than the imagination exist and generally work off of steam power.
It has gathered popularity over recent years, though existing for decades, becoming more and more prominent in pop culture. But where on Earth do you find a source to dress and decorate such a scene? Who has the gizmos and hand props? I’ll bet Debbies Book can help.
Sword & Stone
The craftsmen over at Sword & Stone are unparalleled when it comes to both their talent and experience with The Industry. If you need something to be crafted they have the know-how. One thing they aren’t often touted for, however, is their large inventory of items for sale (and rent too if you need to).
The Rational Past
If you need period scientific equipment these guys are a must. From industrial antiques to pocket watches, gauges and drafting equipment they’ve got you covered. They are really a great spot, I love unique businesses.
Lux Lounge EFR
It’s rare for an event company to have steampunk styles, but Lux Lounge does. Steampunk sofas, chairs, banquetes and even chandeliers. If you need a large room (or an event) filled, they’ve got you covered so you don’t lose any steam putting everything together.
A little gem in Santa Monica with quite an array of unique items. Aviation models, goggles, copper ring towers and all manner of quack medical equipment not to mention motorized gear units, control panels and tesla coils. This place was serving steampunk as rentals long before the term was really even popularized. They went under the radar for a few years but are certainly back up and running and ready for the task.
History for Hire
If it’s older than new, they’ve got it and (especially when working with period pieces) you won’t regret swinging by to find much of what you need.
One of the kings of miscellaneous, the crew over at LCW is always happy to get to you what you need. They have plenty of control panels and aerospace equipment, plus things you probably didn’t even realize you want.
N.S. Aerospace Props
Rocket parts, hydraulic hoses, flow control valves and so many other parts. They have the large assortment of parts and pieces that could make anyone drool (if they drooled over aerospace parts).
Warner Bros. Studios Property Department
Remember Wild Wild West? Guess where quite a bit of those items went? That’s right, a classic steampunk movie has some of it’s pieces right in the heart of the studio lot.
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 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 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.
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?
It is always nice to be reminded of what is located at Warner Bro. Property, and even more exciting to see what’s new. Robert Greenfield is always keeping the inventory fresh while holding on to the classics, a rare but important talent that is needed for any prop house.
Walking around I noticed the presidential furniture has it’s own little dedicated space now (watched over by some Mr. Smiths from The Matrix), the chandelier room still has a large variety to choose from, and downstairs The Collection awaits it’s next use. I wish I had thought to take a photo of the giraffe legs sticking in from the ceiling down there though. That one caught me by surprise.
The meeting, post-schmoozing of course, went without a hitch. During a few words from Shirley Stark, Ralph of Hollywood Studio Gallery, and Robert Greenfield the raffle winners were announced, many of them donated by LCW Props. Bryce actually won a bottle of Tito’s vodka (that I assume will be shared with the office) from Lennie Marvin’s Prop Heaven.
All in all it was a great meeting, with a very large turnout (and very delicious desserts)!