I had the huge honour of meeting Lynda Reiss. Lynda was prop master on season 1 of the Netflix phenomena Stranger Things. It was really interesting to learn how she had achieved the eighties vibe that the series is renowned for. There were a lot of points she covered so I’ve compiled a list!
On with the Stranger Things.
Lynda had a tiny budget, only $160,000 to do all eight episodes. Which seems like a lot of money but she’s worked on 2 hour movies where their ‘small’ budget was $400,000. It meant that she had to get creative when it came to sourcing items and it meant that there were a lot of things she couldn’t have as vintage items.
Nancy’s Ballet necklace
The Duffer brothers wanted Nancy to wear something around her neck. Something that would catch the light. They ruled out a cross because they didn’t the religious connotations, so after Lynda found the ballet pumps necklace they began sprinkling ballet all over Nancy’s bedroom.
The Boy’s Bikes
If you can believe it, they weren’t really vintage! They were bought from Walmart and decorated to look like they were from the 1980s. The small budget meant it was cheaper to buy banana seats and make them look banged up.
I genuinely thought throughout that they were vintage, which just adds more credit to the job Lynda did on the series.
This one is cool. Lynda went to meet a bunch of people who played D&D regularly. Amongst the group there was a guy who hand painted all of his own figures. She actually commissioned him to paint the monsters in Stranger Things.
Another cool thing is that in the heat of the moment they actually smashed the last monster, and it was the only they had.
This is another one that’s like the D&D Monsters, the artwork that you see Will colouring in, is authentic drawings from a video designer who drew them in the 1980s when he was a kid. It’s little things like this that make the Stranger Things series so much better.
The original script had Joyce Byer’s buying a telephone in 1981. However, no one owned a phone in 1981, they were all rented from the telephone companies. They ended up moving the entire series forward two years.
The box that Joyce buys her phone in was based off an original that was taken apart and scanned through so they could create multiples.
That dreaded scene with Eleven in the tank. Well that helmet worked out to be difficult to source. Lynda didn’t want to build something that would have to go under water and the Duffers didn’t want to use a false front. They finally rented a helmet off a company called SeaTrek, and they created the iconic scene using that.
The weekend in training alone cost $22,000 making it one of the most expensive props used.
Trapper Keeper Folders
Finding an original Trapper Keeper folder from the eighties can put you back $50 and with 150 high school students needing one, Lynda didn’t have the budget. So she scanned the front in and fashioned plain white folders into Trapper Keeper. She even went as far to put homework in each of the folders. Dedication, right?
So that’s all my wonderful information I have to share with you guys. I impressed with this event. Lynda Reiss is a fantastic speaker so if you ever have a chance to see her speak, go for it. You can definitely see why Stranger Things worked out the way it did.
Did you watch Stranger Things? How much did you love it? Let me know in the comments!