Why Your Production Needs A Prop Master

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Prop Master

A prop master, formally known as a Property Master, is responsible for the procurement, production, maintenance and inventory of all props that are used within the production. The prop is in charge of ensuring that all props are available and within the budgetary requirements for any given production. They also make sure that the props are suited to the production style, era, and overall design of the production. They are an asset to every production and their importance begins in the pre-production phase

Preproduction Responsibilities

When the production is in the preproduction phase, the prop master will speak to the production designers and art directors to see what props are needed for the production. The prop master can also review the script for more information if they would like. Once it has been decided what props are needed, the prop master may then get the advice of production buyers or specialized advisors who may have access to relevant information and are more knowledgeable on the particular period pieces that might be needed for the production at hand.

Once the props have been decided according to the style and budget of the prop master will draw up a list of the desired props as well as where they will be sourced, e.g. bought, created, or rented and from which vendors. Multiple pieces of the same prop are often required in case one breaks, or the production requires more than one for intricate scenes – this is also kept track of in the inventory list.   

Once the props have been sourced, the prop master will create a schedule alongside various other crew members who will also work with the props.  

During Production

While production is in progress the props master will be busy coordinating with various other teams about the transportation and storage of props to and from the set. During shooting, the prop master will be concerned with prop continuity between the shoots e.g. ensuring that the same time is shown on a clock between takes, or that the actors are wearing the correct jewelry in the correct places.

Post Production

When the shooting is done, and the props are no longer needed, the prop master is responsible for the safe disposal, selling, and returning the various props.

How to Find the Best Suited Person

There is no specific qualification for a prop master, although they may have a degree in some form of the fine arts. A prop master also needs to have many years’ experience in the field often working in various positions within the prop team before they become a lead prop master. A good prop master will have worked on many different feature films in many different genres as well as in various positions on prop teams.

What a Prop Master Needs

A prop master needs to have an imagination, eye for detail and a strong work ethic. They work long hours on sets and need to make sure they get the props that are needed for each scene shot. They also need to have a good general knowledge about time periods and cultures as they are responsible for sourcing the correct props for the shoots. Prop masters should also have good people skills as part of their job requires working with various other teams and departments. They also need to be able to think on their feet, for example what were to happen if a prop gets damaged, should they fix it or get a new one?  

As you can see the importance of a prop master is evident in the value that they add to your production at various points throughout the process of creating a feature film, documentary, commercial, corporate video etc. While​​​​ pre-production is a very important phase, in any production, having a prop master throughout the entire production process will carry your vision to polished perfection.

At The Michael Group we offer services in media production and public relations. We have over three decades of experience and can assist you in any necessary area within a production cycle. Give us a call today to take your production to the next level.


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