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Prop Department Roles

(in film & televison)

A Property Master, also known as a props master, is a key member of the film production team responsible for managing and overseeing all aspects related to props. Their main role is to procure, create, organize, and maintain the various props needed for a film or TV show. The property master identifies the props required based on the script and works with the production designer, director, and DOP to understand their vision. That info is then passed along to their team, which will begin sourcing, organizing and prepping all the props for approvals and camera.

A Props Buyer is a member of the film production team who is specifically responsible for procuring and acquiring the props needed for a production. They work closely with the property master to fulfill the prop requirements of the project. Additionally, they will assist with budgeting, clearences, and making sure all props are ready and available for the shooting schedule. They are the right hand person to the props master and are extremely important to the success of a film.

Key On-Set Props ensures that all required props are present and in their designated places before filming begins. They collaborate with the prop master & prop buyer to set up the props according to the script, director's instructions, and continuity requirements. During filming, the key on-set props person ensures that props are positioned correctly and consistently in each shot. They work closely with the director of photography, camera operators, and actors to make adjustments as needed. After each take, they reset the props to their original positions or make any necessary changes for subsequent shots.

Prop Builder also known as a prop fabricator or prop maker, is a skilled craftsperson who specializes in creating and constructing props for film, television, theater, or other forms of entertainment. Their role involves bringing the creative visions of the production team to life by crafting custom-made props.

What is a prop?

In film and television, a prop refers to any object, item, or piece of equipment that is used or handled by actors during a production. Props play a crucial role in enhancing the visual storytelling, creating a realistic environment, and conveying information about characters, settings, or plot elements. Here are some key aspects of props in film and television:

  1. Functionality: Props can serve a functional purpose within the story. They can be tools, weapons, vehicles, or any object that characters interact with to advance the narrative. For example, a detective might use a magnifying glass as a prop to examine clues or a scientist might use scientific equipment to conduct experiments

  2. Characterization: Props can reveal important aspects of a character's personality, occupation, or backstory. For instance, a musician's instrument, a detective's badge, or a chef's cooking utensils can convey specific traits or professions and provide visual cues to the audience about who the character is.

  3. Historical Accuracy: In period or historical productions, props play a vital role in recreating the time period or setting. Authentic props that match the era are used to enhance the realism and accuracy of the production, contributing to the overall historical authenticity.

  4. Narrative Significance: Props can be integral to the plot and storytelling. They may act as plot devices, carry symbolic meaning, or serve as crucial elements in key scenes. A prop like a key, a letter, or a photograph may hold pivotal importance in unlocking a mystery or revealing a crucial piece of information.

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