I tried to find a production designer and propmaster, but in the end, Jess and I put together most all of the props and specialty costumes ourselves with the help of friends, Craigslist, and our local thrift store. It was a lot of stuff, but this was part of the process that we genuinely enjoyed – makin stuff and finding deals! We found the perfect old recliner on Craigslist the day before the shoot, bought a rusty old shopping cart from a salvage truck on the side of the road, and paid $75 for an insanely heavy medical gurney from a gangster lookin warehouse downtown.
We also had a makeup person, Louis Kiss, who was able to get us a gallon of blood. We didn’t use a lot, however, since it could lead to a continuity nightmare. Instead, I chose to dress in black which would hide the fact that I had a bloodstained shirt. I bought a couple doubles of everything since it was obvious we may not even have time to do laundry.
For swords, I had a fairly extensive supply including two aluminum hero katanas made by Spike Steingasser, but I needed more variety and at least a half dozen cool looking machetes for our SWAT vamps. I came across a new distributor online called “BUDK” which had some insanely low prices on swords for $12!
I was able to equip everyone including our two slayer teams for less than a couple hundred dollars. The only downside is that they were all steel and razor sharp, so I spent the better part of two days filing them down. I then spent another day aging everything since it was all supposed to look rusted.
I borrowed a prop handgun and an actual fireaxe from Charles Currier, but the axe was so freakin heavy and dangerous, it was obvious we needed a double. I priced a rubber axe for $500 before I realized I could just make one myself for $20.
The trickiest prop / weapon was a full sized metal stop sign, which we purchased online for $30 and aged with spray paint. For that fight, I also bought a steel trash can lid and some conduit, which were both painted to look rusted.
Meanwhile, we purchased a full-sized chicken outfit (since it was cheaper than renting) and Jess went about customizing it with a superhero logo and cape.
Jess also found a great deal on chef coats and designed a “Hell’s Kitchen” logo, while our friend Mel Turner helped to design a “In-N-Up” cashier uniform and a superhero outfit for our shoot on Hollywood Blvd.
We had a list of over 100 props and weapons which included stuff like “Hula Girl with Sword” and “Bricks of C4” which we made with from huge block of clay from an art supply. As I said, this was the fun part, and it was a welcome diversion from research, contracts and paperwork.