Foreword by Adam Brannon. As Movie Metropolis has progressed, I’ve been lucky enough to interview influential people from within the world of film. From Jurassic Park stars Colby Boothman and Vanessa Chester, to Kinema in the Woods manager, Philip Jones, interviews are now an integral part of what Movie Metropolis has to offer.
In this edition, I chat to Prop Store CEO Stephen Lane, who tells me all about the company he set up as a film buff. Founded in 1998, Prop Store now operates in London and LA, with a combined storage area of over 25,000 square feet.
Selling everything in the movie memorabilia world, from film vehicles to lightsabers and everything in between, it’s perfect for the memorabilia collector in you.
1. How long has Prop Store been operational?
Next year, incredibly, is our 20th anniversary (where did that time go?), good reason to celebrate! I formally started the company in 1998 but have been collecting since about 1991. In 2007 I opened our facility in Los Angeles with a very modest 1000sq ft unit. Earlier this year we moved into a new 20,000 sq ft building located in Valencia on the outskirts of LA. Tours are available by appointment of both the UK and US facilities by appointment.
2. How did the idea for Prop Store come about?
It was really borne out of my mad passion to collect movie related memorabilia. It started with vintage Star Wars figures in ’91, at which point I was revisiting my childhood dreams of owning full sets of figures and vehicles that I couldn’t get in the 70’s and 80’s. I subsequently started buying random props and costumes at collectors conventions while I was trading toys, which I found fascinating. That led to my focus changing to collecting props and costumes and then as the internet flourished in the late 90’s I saw an opportunity to build a ‘one stop online shop’ to become THE location for collectors and film fans to buy and sell movie memorabilia.
3. What is your day-to-day role within the company?
Feet up on the desk cracking an (Indy) whip! In reality I’m working hard to secure exciting new content for our annual Live Auctions, negotiating with production companies and distributors to lock in online auction and fixed price content for both our London and Los Angeles offices as well looking at ways that we can continue to push the boundaries of this hobby and give collectors and clients the very best experience when they buy from Prop Store.
4. What’s the most interesting prop you’ve sold?
Great question. I think that one piece that sticks in my mind is the 6 wheeled Captain Nemo car from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. at 22′ long x 6′ wide, it was a incredible piece to have in our warehouses for the 10 years I owned it.
5. What is the most expensive sale you’ve had?
The Batpod Motorbike from The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises at about £350k in last years Prop Store Live Auction is certainly up there.
6. Are there any props you’d specifically like to see on the site?
I’d love to manage the artefacts from the new Star Wars films, which I think are great films. Sadly Lucasfilm / Disney have no plans to release those assets at this time other than the occasional item at charity events.
7. One we ask everyone, what’s your favourite film?
Star Wars: A New Hope. Watched it for the first time at the London Premier when I was 7 years old. It had a huge impact on my childhood, started me on the road to collecting (action figures and trading cards at that time) and has influenced my working life ever since. Love that movie.
8. Another one we ask everyone, what’s your favourite cinema snack?
Salted Popcorn would be the regular choice but I have a sweet tooth so chocolate has a tendency to be involved too.
9. How can people get involved in auctions?
The online catalogues for Prop Store’s London Live Auction of Entertainment Memorabilia are available to browse from September 1st at: www.propstore.com/liveauction. These include a fully interactive catalogue with extra content and videos, the PDF download catalogue and the auction bidding platform. On-line bids can be placed from September 1st right through to Auction Day on September 26th. From September 7th – 26th visitors can attend a museum grade preview exhibition of over 350 of the 600 auction lots at the ODEON BFI IMAX, Waterloo, London to get up close and personal with these incredible pieces of movie history and to chat with the Prop Store experts.
10. Do you have any future events planned?
Absolutely! We’re continually adding new exciting content to our fixed price sales area at www.propstore.com and we regularly hold online auctions of items directly from your favourite films at www.propstore.com/auction. We recently auctioned props and costumes from Spectral, Terminator Genisys, Trainspotting 2, Penny Dreadful and Hannibal to name just a few. Keep an eye on our auction home page for news about a very special auction event we have planned for the end of this year too.
I’d like to thank Stephen for taking the time out of his busy schedule to take part in this interview. Keep checking back for more interviews coming very soon.