Corrected Info About Kylo Ren Helmet Prop Makers, Plus Credits For People In The Prop Industry


Adam then also posted the following video giving credit to the original creators of the Kylo Ren helmet, which was made by the in-house costume department headed up by Michael Kaplan. This was informed to him by one of the artisans who sculpted the helmet, who also shared this detailed info on the RPF thread. Though Adam had already clarified and apologized for the wrong credit in his post, it was thoughtful and classy of him to take that extra step by creating this video to set the record straight.


Many members in the prop community do realize the information about the extent of PropShop's work on the original individual props from Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn't clear or rather was more open to misinterpretation when the marketing and videos rolled out on June 1. Even when we made the announcement we only stated that they worked on some of the key props. Others who were reviewing each prop replica individually were also bound to wrongly credit PropShop for the original props beyond the ones they created for the film based on the info available online.

This situation is akin to the marketing for Sphero's BB-8 toy, who were credited as the company involved in developing the technology for BB-8's movement during filming, that was until Lucasfilm/Disney posted this in-depth interview with the actual creators of BB-8

It's always great to see the movie's prop builders participating on the Replica Prop Forum talking about their design approach and build process. It's understandable that many of these artists and builders like most crew members are sometimes restricted from sharing details about their involvement depending on their company/studio contracts and NDAs.

Many elements in a movie are result of a collaborative process. Even when we get down to a single little prop, there are multiple individuals involved, from the person who did the design, to the person who sculpted the prop, or who made the 3D model, person who did the mold and casting, to the one who did the paint job and several more who might have helped them through the whole process.

When we see credits for collectible statues by some big companies like Sideshow, they list all the key people indicating their role in the product development stages of design, sculpt, mold & cast, and paint. Artists are credited for each piece.

Unless I am mistaken prop builders don't get such specific credit, as they are working on multiple items during production. Of course some do get credit in the art books. But in general their credit is listed (both in movie credits and IMDB) under a broad category rather than a specific item. One can only imagine the frustration of not being able to openly claim the credit for one of the key props in a blockbuster movie. These people are like rock stars for fellow prop collectors, or perhaps the word Prop Stars would be better suited.

("Hoffman, call the patent office, copyright the name Prop Stars, I want a quarter every time somebody says it". *puts a cigar in the mouth*) (Then finds out the name is already taken by some event company. *sad panda*)

There is Internet Movie Cars Database (IMCDB.org), Internet Movie Firearms Database (IMFDB.org), similarly Internet Movie Prop Database could be something for props. Of course since there are already couple of resourceful prop database websites, if builder names are more widely known then any new movie props could be listed there with creator credits especially ones which were scratch built.

Hopefully someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I am wondering if creator credits for these props are being withheld to avoid future ownership claims (aka the Andrew Ainsworth situation). 

While a prop builder is work for hire for a studio (be it as an individual or through his company), that person could still officially claim to have authoritative knowledge on the said prop, even though they may not have any legal rights to ownership. In a way the studios are legally negating that whole possibility of someone openly admitting to being an expert about a prop, by avoiding builders being credited for their specific props, even if the builder is not interested in creating replicas for themselves or for anyone else.

Despite the restrictions, some of these prop makers still share their knowledge with us on the forums. Though certain members in the know will be familiar with the prop maker's name, it would be good to see more transparency from the studios so that we can give credit where credit is due and these artisans get more recognition for their work which drives our community.

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