How to Become a Prop Master in Film and TV

A fake living room in a production studio

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A prop master is a person responsible for any portable objects on a set. From the books on the bookshelf to the box of cereal in the pantry. If the set calls for a piece of portable property, it is the responsibility of the prop (or property) master to make sure it's there.

A prop masterworks within the art department of a film set. They work closely with the art director or production designer to make sure that all of the portable elements used to dress up a set are accounted for. Once the camera starts to roll, the prop master is there to ensure that props are set up and/or put away as needed as well as protected from damage or in some cases, theft.

Skills & Education

Prop masters usually start their careers working in low-level jobs in the art department. It is essential that a prop master has an understanding of every art department position. An effective prop master will be adept at design as well as extremely detail oriented. An overall sense of proper decorating techniques also comes in quite handy.

Because this position requires a lot of quick thinking, it helps to have an almost Macgyver type quality. Sometimes props get lost or damaged, and a good prop master is the one that never shows his/her panic.

Career Advice

It's a good idea to begin your career in the art department of a television series or film production office. Get to know the current prop master and see if he/she might be looking for an assistant. Be patient, passionate and willing to do just about anything and most prop masters will be happy to teach you the secrets to their success.