NOVEMBER | FEATURE audience on their recent tour was a collaborative thing, we knew logistically how that would work. How long do your creations take? A hyper realistic face requires a live cast, then sculpting, hair work, etc, can take three weeks, but it’s around six weeks for a full body. We don’t tend to keep stuff. Sometimes you have to destroy it because it’s part of the agreement. What are your career highlights? I go back years to a small project for a Mazda commercial. We created a suit for a dancer which even today I think was superb. It was a fibre glass suit which was jointed so you could move. He was breakdancing in the suit at one point. I wished we could have filmed that! It was around the time of Robocop, when they created two suits – one for when he was sitting down, and I think we did better. There were a lot of late nights working on that one. 24 Where do you hire staff from? We hire from various institutions. Wimbledon College is good, and there’s various model making degrees and prop making courses nationwide. To most parents it probably sounds ludicrous, but now it’s quite profitable. Above: Mike Kelt Do you have limitations? We can do practically anything you can think of. I encourage clients and directors to think about what they would like to happen if they had a magic wand. If it’s impossible we’ll tell you. It might be unaffordable, but rarely impossible. Doing props for events is satisfying because they last longer. Sometimes the props we make barely appear on film, but at an event, it will likely go on tour and has to be more durable and reliable. Space is always a compromise at events. There’s never enough backstage, and it’s a bit of a nightmare when you’re building quite large items. It’s the nature of the business though, and I quite like working with that. Fitting our props into an old Victorian theatre, for example, is a challenge, but a fun one. The ambition of sets is ever increasing as more money is coming from tours, so there’s more investment. Have you considered using old film props for event works? Tableart talks about how to integrate our props into seasonal events. The things at event doorways, and so forth. Budgets for events are generally less than a film. There’s not usually anyone who thinks of the lifecycle of a model because the film industry is so compartmentalised. Keeping stuff aside for Premieres is rare but there is every opportunity to do that.