Eugenio Feito, a final year undergraduate Prop Making student, explains how the course has made his career aspirations possible, including placements working on Jurassic World 2 and at The Royal Opera House.
As a mature student from Argentina, I initially wanted to look at a degree in something closer to Stage Management, but then I heard about the props course at Central; as soon as I met the course leader I realised I wanted to come here.
People come onto the course with such different levels of experience; I didn’t know how to work with clay or how to sculpt before I started while some others had. But the fact it is a small group means you get 1-2-1 focus and can learn it very quickly and get that support.
Basically, if you like ‘making’ and have passion then you can certainly make it onto the course.
Whilst I spend my time working on props, I also work closely with students from other areas. I learnt how to sew when making a prop for The Crucible which was a show we did last year and I will often ask scenic artists for advice on colour matching and other things with paint.
The familiarity you have with staff and students is so important; everyone is super friendly and lovely, but you feel like you are in a professional environment. This approach matures your character; you can’t hide away like if you were in a big group setting. You actually need to learn how to do things well as the quality expected is really high.
You are attached emotionally to every project you work on so you want to do as good a job as possible.
When working on a public production, we need to be familiar with the text so as to understand the context in which props will be used. We attend production meetings where the design concepts for the show are detailed and what props need to be made. We then ask questions of the designer so we can suitably interpret the design and discuss how best to achieve the desired goal.
We need to do our own research and ask a lot of questions so that we can settle on an approach and specification for the props. We then start experimenting with materials, taking into consideration budget, the feasibility of using a material and, of course, how the prop will be used in the show by the actors.
In my first year, I was part of a team who worked on a very large prop for Gottwood Festival in Wales. This was a real, externally commissioned project which became part of the curriculum after it was requested; we had only 4 weeks to create this and it was around 3 metres tall in the end.
Last year I went on placement to Pinewood Studios, working on Jurassic World 2. I was able to utilise a lot of skills, including non-making skills such as communication, organisational and professional networking. It was an amazing experience working with a Hollywood production company with over 150 people on set every day, and being able to talk to people who have been in the industry for 30 years.
I have also just secured an exciting placement with The Royal Opera House which will really round off the different ranges of experience for me ahead of graduating.
Everyone is super friendly and lovely, but you feel like you are in a professional environment. You actually need to learn how to do things well as the quality expected is really high.