Ken Finn is a prop master with years of experience in the industry, speaking to Hoes and Fears Magazine, he explained that there’s much more to a prop maker’s job than just designing nice things that look cool on set. Often it’s about managing the mad demands of directors and turning these into something viable that can actually be used on set.
So when it comes to props that actually need to be ingested by the actors, this is a whole new challenge. Finn currently works on the set of TV show The Knick, which sees the cast snorting more than a little nose powder. So how do they make it?
“You don’t want to use powdered sugar because it gets sticky. You really don’t want to use flour either because if it gets damp at all it just becomes clumpy.” he explained. So instead, they use a B-vitamin compound called inositol. “If you ever snort it,” he added “you might get this familiar feeling. A certain memory, like, ‘Hey, I’ve tasted this in the back of my throat before.’ What I’ve learned since then is that actual cocaine is oftentimes cut with this stuff. If you ever do shitty [cocaine], You might actually be ingesting this stuff without even knowing it.”
He also explained that the harmless fake powder has no effect on the vocal chords and is easily absorbed by the body, so is often used on long-run Broadway productions where it’s important not to damage the actors voices.