Depp, Sinatra & Others Star in DIYer’s Theater
Who would've thought to bring all of these greats together? Paul Snyder, an artist, who furnished his theater with a homemade cast of characters.
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A handmade Captain Jack Sparrow serves as the ticket taker in Paul Snyder’s home theater.
Slideshow
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March 05, 2010 by Rachel Cericola

Paul Snyder didn’t just create a home theater in his spare bedroom. He turned it into a production. This artist/DIYer wanted the goodies that come with having a theater room, but certainly didn’t sacrifice any of the details.

“As a visual artist, I usually have a detailed vision in my mind before I dive into any project,” says Paul. “This one was no exception.” With that frame of mind, Paul set out to create an “over-the-top theater” with rich fabrics, carved moldings, and tons of other details throughout.

Yes—some of those details include life-sized reproductions of a few very famous characters. In the ticket window, there’s Johnny Depp, circa his Jack Sparrow years. In the projection booth, there’s a swinging Frank Sinatra. He also has a recording studio, which features Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Darth Vader, Arnold Schwarzenegger (as The Terminator), and even a Han Solo frozen in carbonite.

These aren’t pieces that Paul found at estate sales or on eBay. He actually built them by hand. It takes a lot of patience and skill, as well as resources. For the Jack Sparrow, Paul purchased a mold of Depp’s face on eBay. “I’ve always been a fan of the actor Johnny Depp as he has never been afraid to take chances and do what he wants creatively, regardless of what other deem appropriate,” says Paul. “And Jack Sparrow really epitomizes that carefree attitude that I like.”

So from there, Paul painted the face and added features, such as eyelashes, dreadlocks and facial hair. He also had to build the box office area about 8 inches out from the wall, to accommodate for his new friend. For a little depth, Paul added velvet curtains. He also used a large poster frame and a gold painted shower drain, which worked perfectly as the window’s “speaker.”

Paul loves all aspects of film production. He isn’t just a fan by night, but has spent many of his days working behind the scenes. Over the past decade, he’s worked with several independent film companies, doing everything from music to storyboards to set work. This has really helped him to become an aficionado of details. It’s probably also honed his shopping skills when it comes to finding some of those little pieces at a bargain.

Around the room, Paul installed fabric to give a rich, old-world texture to his walls. Much of his materials were recycled or found at local discount stores. “The theater has everything from suede cloth to rich embroidered silk panels,” he says. Also, a lot of the moldings were prefab pieces that he picked up at Lowe’s. Of course, he also added in plenty of metallic gold paint and spray sealer to give it his own artistic touch.

Paul has had his hand in everything in the room—even the 110-inch screen. However, this wasn’t just another way to put his stamp on things, but also allowed Paul to have a bit of trial and error. “I had originally built my own anamorphic lens,” he says. “Because of this, I needed to build a 12-foot diagonal 2.37:1 screen, which nearly covered the entire wall.” Once it was finished, though, Paul wasn’t really happy with the image results. Instead, he went back to 16:9 and chopped the screen down to 110 inches.

One other cool addition is Paul’s built-in Blu-ray storage system, which was once just a simple in-wall ironing board. Who likes to iron anyway? Not Paul. Instead, he removed the board and installed shelves and gold molding. Over the years, he has definitely outgrown the space, but it’s still a nice spot to stash a few extra discs.

Like most DIYers, Paul knows he has a hard time saying “when.” Not that he isn’t up for the challenge of creating something new, especially for his room. “I am a very spontaneous person. When inspiration strikes I don’t waste a second diving into a project,” he says. “I’ll work night and day trying to bring my ideas to life.”

For a quick tour of Paul’s theater, check out the images in our slideshow.

Quick Hits
Location: Oklahoma City, Okla.
Year Completed: 2008
Room Size: 12 x 11 feet
Length of Project: 3 months
Total Cost: $10,000

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.

Equipment List
Atlantic Technology 450 THX Speakers (4)
Energy 300-watt Subwoofer
Irwin Commercial Theater Seats (12)
Optoma HD70 DLP Projector
Panasonic DMP-BD60 Blu-ray Player
Paradigm CC-350 center speaker
Paradigm 300-watt Subwoofer
Pioneer Elite VSX-91T Receiver
DIY 110-inch Screen


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