What is a Prop Master?
A Prop Master is part of a team of people who run the property department, which is responsible for making, storing and transporting the props used on a TV or film production.
What is the job?
The role of Prop Master usually begins a few weeks before shooting begins. As a team, or individually, they will work with Production Designers, Set Decorators, and Art Directors to decide which props are needed for each scene of a production. They will work through the location, genre, period and culture of the film to decide on the right props to use.
Following this, the Prop Master will carry out research and create a properties list which will detail the props that are to be hired, and the props that are to be created. For the properties that are going to be hired, the Prop Master will make a note of the locations of these props. Additionally, Prop Masters are also responsible for recruiting Carpenters, Artists and Prop Makers when props need to be made for a production.
During principal photography, the Prop Master, with the help of the Assistant Prop Master, will direct the department crew in staging props and distributing them to the cast. For continuity, the Prop Master will take photos of each scene and the item’s placement. These photos are also kept to maintain inventory records and quickly identify which props have been used in each production.
After shooting is finished, the Prop Master is responsible for ensuring that all hired props are returned, and for props that have been made by the production team, they will organise the sale or safe disposal of them.
- Good organisation
- Good communication skills
- Ability to work across departments with different team members
- Able to move heavy items (physical skills)
- Ability to understand and take direction from the Director
- Ability to work to deadlines and work under pressure
Salary & Working Hours
In terms of working hours, a Prop Master, can expect to work standard office hours for the majority of the time. But when a production is in the pre-production stage then additional work may be required.
The salary of a Prop Master is usually around £20,000 per year, but this will vary depending on the size of the production you are working on.
How To Become a Prop Master
The majority of people who take on the role as Prop Master have worked their way up from Standby Props, Dressing Props, Props Storemen, or Assistant Props Maker. The role of Prop Master is quite a senior role as it involves a lot of responsibility, and experience is normally necessary.
Another route to become a Prop Master is through gaining a degree or equivalent professional experience. Formal education in film and television production can be highly useful when it comes to this role.
Where Can It Take You?
The role of Prop Master is a senior role, and therefore in terms of career progression, this may be limited. However, for a Prop Master advancement may be through the opportunity to work on bigger productions that entail larger budgets and more responsibility.
Become a Prop Master
If you are ready for the next step in your career, why not take a look at the latest Prop Master vacancies on our jobs board? You can view our latest vacancies here.