You can't put a castle in the bin...
No, but seriously - we were determined to try and give our castle set another life
It’s sad to think about the amount of amazing sets and props that get broken up every year due to the cost and lack of storage.
There’s really not much guidance out there about disposing of or recycling sets sustainably and ethically. We contacted Albert and reached out to some of the suppliers in the ‘set and materials recycling’ category on their website but none of them were able to help. The easiest solution would’ve been to put it in the bin, but we just couldn’t let that happen.
So, we persevered and spent the day emailing as many people as possible, as well as advertising on Facebook groups. It’s easy to see why people don’t do this – finding a second home for a set takes valuable time and there is no well-trodden path to follow.
Thankfully we found our castle a new home at Avon Valley Wildlife Park, where it will be used as a part of their ‘FEAR Scream Park’ this Halloween, hopefully living on for many years to come. The stone flooring was rehomed by our DOP Louis, who had been wanting a patio in his garden for quite a while- he was chuffed to think that he was walking about every day on slabs that had been used not only in the Atlas Fallen but also His Dark Materials! (read our full article about the making of the trailer here)
The castle taught us many lessons about being sustainable on set because to be as sustainable as possible is hard. It’s not just about giving your crew reusable bottles and providing a recycle bin!
Here are some things you may not have thought about…
1. Plan in advance
It’s a good idea to schedule in time to figure out how you’re going to recycle or rehome all this stuff whilst you’re still in pre-production – Chat to the set builders/costume designers/props makers and see if they could reuse what you’re making. Contact people in advance so you aren’t scrabbling around at the end of a shoot. Facebook Marketplace, Freecycle, and Albert all have great leads but you need to have a plan!
2. Join groups
These are great groups full of people looking to rehome their props:
3. Talk to Albert
They are super friendly and can offer ideas and guidance.
4. Take photos and know the dimensions
It really helps to be able to show exactly what your set/costume/props look like and how big it is – it also makes it easier to figure out logistics.
5. Think local
Local schools, Theatre Companies, AM Dram groups are good places to try, but you may need to help them with transport.