From Barrybados to Hollywood: Props maker overcomes mental health struggles to work on blockbusters

A costume and prop maker, who has worked on major Hollywood productions, said his work has helped him cope with anxiety and depression.

Noel Taylor, from Barry, is a designer who makes costumes and props as a full-time job. 

His creativity stems from childhood when he started making toys out of materials from around the house. 

“I used to make spaceships and things out of cardboard that you couldn’t necessarily buy in the shops or we couldn’t afford at the time.”

He then moved on to model kits and making things out of wood and eventually studied model making and visual effects at university.

Noel currently makes props, costumes, theatrical armour and toys.

While speaking to ITV Wales arts programme Backstage, Noel explained how he got into the industry:

“I’ve always wanted to do it but I’ve never really known quite how.

“I went to the Comic Con in Cardiff and I made myself a ‘Nightmare On Elm Street’ Freddy glove… 

“And then people saw this and thought ‘Could you make me this? Could you do that for me?’

“So eventually I thought ‘I kind of want to do this more and more’.”

Noel also revealed his struggles with his mental health and how his work has helped him:

“I suffered for many years with depression and anxiety and I think that the making helped me focus. It helped me with an outlet to focus my mind.

“It was a therapy and it still is.

“Even though I am coming out on the other end of some very dark times, making work helped me so I don’t want to let go of it.”

Noel is currently working on major Hollywood films and television series.

Noel’s passion has also led him to work on major Hollywood productions. He told Backstage: 

“I’ve worked on a few things for some major TV shows and that’s ongoing, and some quite big Hollywood films.

“Working on big productions is fantastic. It’s great.

“I do get this imposter syndrome where I’m like: ‘Am I good enough to be doing this?’ But I’ve always had that.”

In addition to his film and TV work, Noel designs cosplay outfits and attends conventions or Comic Cons showcasing his work.

Cosplay is the practice of dressing up as a character from a film, book or video game.

Noel attended Comic Con in Cardiff so Robert Englund could sign his Freddy Krueger glove.

Some of Noel’s previous cosplay work includes a Freddy Krueger hand and ‘Fluffy’, an alien. He has even created animatronic models.

He tries to use recycled materials for the majority of his creations - this helps with saving money as well as being better for the environment. 

  • Find out more about Noel on Backstage: Tuesday, 15 November at 11:05pm or catch up afterwards here.