How prop design transports actors into a different world: Annie Atkins on career tips, Wes Anderson and more

The prop designer behind some of the industry’s best loved films talks career advice, how to get into prop design, a new book, historical accuracy and more.

Date
13 May 2021
Reading Time
1 minutes

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Headlining April’s Nicer Tuesdays was Annie Atkins, the revered prop designer behind many Hollywood and cult classics including The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs and Bridge of Spies. In a Q&A with our editor-in-chief Matt Alagiah, the Dublin-based designer took us through her career beginnings, from working in advertising to studying a Master’s degree in film, which landed her a role in the BBC adaptation of The Tudors. In Annie’s insightful talk, she explained how this opportunity led to bigger things in the props world, though, as she revealed, their were bumps along the way mixed in with feelings of self-doubt as to whether design was really for her.

With a healthy dose of tips for anyone looking to start a career in props design, Annie touched on portfolio advice, the best way to introduce yourself, and more. She also took us through her new book Designing Props for Filmmaking which details the process behind much of her masterful practice from wobbly lettering to creating an authentic piece adhering to the period in question. All in all, Annie’s Nicer Tuesdays talk is a fascinating insight into how to create graphic props which feel natural to the project in question. Taking into consideration character interaction, movement, historical period and more, Annie reveals how to make an actor feel like they are inhibiting another world through clever and well executed prop design.

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Nicer Tuesdays is our monthly event of creative talks. You can find out more here.

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