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Old September 10th, 2003, 09:25 PM   #1
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Extra extra no-budget set design?

I don't know if this fits in this forum, sorry, maybe the offtopic forum would be better? Eh....

Anyway, I am wondering what you guys have to say about making a cheap set. Mainly i'm wondering because I've been talking about a public access show now, for a while, and I really haven't even started anything, and i'm dissapointed in myself for it. So i'm trying to kick start things by building a cheap set in my garage.

The main material I considered, is cardboard boxes, I can get a bunch out of dumpsters, or wherever, and I can build a frame out of some 2x4's and whatnot, that have been sitting in my garage forever. Heck I don't even need wood, ducttape and cardboard could do wonders. I don't really care if it looks "ghetto", infact, I want it to sort of look cheap, no budget, "ghetto", poor, etc etc, but at the same time, I don't want it to be too distracting, such as graffitti or somethig behind the subject(s) would be way too much. The crappy set would actually be a good thing to crack on, and I could always set it up in my backyard, and do the show from there so we could catch the whole thing on fire when we are down with the episode.

So basically, I'll probably do it with good ol' cardboard, unless theres another, nearly free alternative? What colors work best with sets and stuff? I notice most real sets are very colorful and not dull, and obviously not made of cardboard and ductape. :D

I'll probably end up covering everything in the 100% american redneck, fix it all, material. Ductape of course, that stuff rocks. I'll have duct tape hanging from the ceiling.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old September 10th, 2003, 09:34 PM   #2
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Re: Extra extra no-budget set design?

<<<-- Originally posted by Alex Knappenberger : The main material I considered, is cardboard boxes, I can get a bunch out of dumpsters, or wherever -->>>

I love the idea of working with "found" materials; you can be very creative this way. The only thing to keep in mind is flame retardancy. After the tragedy in the Rhode Island nightclub there is a heightened sense of awareness regarding fire safety, as well there should be. I suspect that cardboard boxes will be highly flammable, and if you want to use them at a TV station you may have a problem.

There are flame retardant solutions which can be sprayed or brushed on, however they will probably cause your cardboard boxes to get all warped and fall apart. But maybe that would also be an interesting effect? Check with a local theatrical supply house, they can make a recommendation. Rosco makes a line of products called "Flamex", and a less expensive alternative called "Flame out 2" is another possibility. I suspect there is some sort of flame retardant carboard available, but doubt that ordinary boxes from a dumpster would be made of it.
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Old September 11th, 2003, 03:42 PM   #3
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I don't think fire will be that much of a concern if your set is jam packed like a nightclub would be.

Anyways, I suggest finding a nice location somewhere that you can turn into a set. If you are in high school then there are probably some rooms that are nice.
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Old September 12th, 2003, 12:31 AM   #4
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General paper cardboard also has the disadvantage of being rather susceptible to effects of humidity. Large sheets will tend to bow and warp over time. It also cannot be painted well, as the paint will have the same effect as moisture.

Glenn's suggestion is worth exploring. Depending on the nature of your production, and your creativity, it may not take much of a room to give the impression of a set. Movie magic!
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