What is a Properties Master
Category: Movie Job Descriptions
The job of the Properties Master (Prop Master) is to purchase, acquire, and in some cases have constructed, any moveable item seen on camera in a movie production. This is an artistic position and they work closely with the art director and break down the script to see what sort of items will be needed in a particular filmed sequence.
They are also in charge of the maintenance, tracking and security of these items. When working with the art director they have to make sure that props fit the story of the script, whether the story is anything from a period piece or a futuristic science fiction film.
While the wardrobe department may deal with the clothes and actor may be wearing, it the accessories that are the responsibility of the prop master. A good example could be a watch, a pair of sunglasses, or even a type of cigarette.
Any action in a film the entails the movement of an object such as a character eating food off a plate, picking up a book, moving a box, even animals etc, all fall under the domain of the Prop Master. They also work with the script supervisor to ensure the exact prop will be accurately used in that filmed scene.
When the scene is finished or when an actor leaves set the prop master will collect these items from the actor, but not after taking a photograph of the actor wearing these items to keep the continuity continuous through the film.
Most Prop Master will also have various items, which they have procured, that have the feel to the production. Sometimes a director will ask for something different then is actually called for, for the aesthetic of a particular scene. This is where the Prop Master shines; by giving the director, different items and options that he feels will work well in a scene.
Good Prop Masters are known to continue to have a working relationship with the director and the producers.