What does a Prop Master do?
The prop master is responsible for the prop department. The prop master can sometimes be confused with the set dresser who manages decorating the set with items and furnishings that appear in the action's background. A prop is an item that can be handled or manipulated by the talent in a scene, such as a gun, glass, phone, computer, food, etc.
During pre-production, they work closely with the director, production designer, and set decorators to determine what type of props are required in each scene. They start by breaking down the script. Next, they think of ways to enhance the storytelling with suitable prop selection and then create a properties list.
After they receive approvals, the prop master determines what they need to purchase or rent. They create a budget for their department and submit it for approval from the line producer. Once the budget is approved, they hire a team and schedule purchases.
Prop masters are in charge of storing, transporting, and prepping the props for each shoot day. Although they are responsible for doling out props as needed or replenishing an item that an actor eats, drinks, etc., they are also responsible for maintaining continuity from take to take.
Prop masters are also charged with setting up certain items in video village, such as the director's chairs, tents, and heaters.
During 'wrap,' they return all rented props and sell or discard everything else.
On smaller productions, this position is usually combined with the set dresser position.
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