I recently spoke to a group of college students at my alma mater and when I told them I work for WNED, only a few of them knew what I was talking about. After asking if any of them watched Sesame Street or Reading Rainbow as kids, they all instantly remembered their beloved Channel 17. I’d have to wager that we are pretty well-known for our productions and a very important component of these productions are the integral pieces that are stored in a room off of our two studios.
Tami Coleman, studio supervisor and production specialist, gave me a first-rate tour of our prop room. Not only does the prop room contain your usual items like foliage, chairs and tables, but ours also contains sets. There is a full kitchen set with working stovetop and refrigerator that we use for our WNED Cooks programs. Because the kitchen is a set and must look camera-ready, it cannot be fully functional. The kitchen set is also built into sections to be taken apart easily in order to move in and out of the studio. We have other items like a fireplace, brick columns, rugs and podiums.
Tami says that she maintains a 3-5 year rule, if she doesn’t use something within that timeframe, she reevaluates the item and may dispose of it. She tries to reuse as many set pieces as possible in new and innovative ways and she likes to keep things on wheels, making them much easier to move from the prop room into one of the two studios. Because we don’t have a lot of space in the prop room, Tami jokes that the lower level “looks more like a game of Tetris.” This statement is very true, which you realize once you are looking down on all the set pieces from the second floor of the prop room.
Lamps and chairs are covered in plastic to keep dust off; smaller items that contain multiples are kept in storage bins that are labeled. There is also shelving with lights and a cable cart with various wires. There are more carts with various hardware and colored gels for lighting. “We even have scaffolding,” Tami says, “The key is to store for reuse and be organized.”
Have you been a part of one of our live tapings and been wowed by our sets? Feel free to comment below!