How to Become a Prop Maker?

5 minute read
How to Become a Prop Maker?

Remember ‘Bagwati’ from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara or the famous ‘black telephone’ from Hera Pheri? These props became show-stealers by becoming more popular than the movie itself! Do you know people spend days searching and creating the perfect props to be used in movies and shows? Prop Makers are responsible for creating fake jewellery to weapons used in the movies. But what does it take to become a Prop Maker? How much do they earn? Find answers to these questions in this complete career guide on Prop Maker!

Who are Prop Makers?

Prop Makers work in feature film properties departments, producing props that aren’t bought in or rented. These include ‘stunt’ props which are duplicates of other props made of soft or non-hazardous materials and specialized moving or lighting items. They design and build required props using a range of materials, methods, and tools. 

Credits: ArtsJobsOnline

Also Read: How to Become a Tour Manager?

How to Become a Prop Maker?

Do you know Rajiv Goil, who is one of the partners of RS Windlass, had made props used in the famous series Game of Thrones? Prop makers are in demand all over the world. With academic knowledge and hands-on experience, you will be ready to take on the world of prop makers.

Attain Educational Qualifications

While no formal degrees are required, prop makers may find it easier to find work if they have fine art or design degrees. We have mentioned how a degree in these fields can help you boost your career as a prop designer.

Fine Arts: Fine Arts degrees are frequently offered by undergraduate/postgraduate colleges with well-developed arts programs. These programs emphasize the practice of certain creative forms such as animation, graphic design, and cinema. These programs can help you build up your skillset to become a successful prop maker. Popular fine arts courses are Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters of Fine Arts.

Fashion Designing: Other than Fine Arts, you can also apply for fashion designing courses. Some of the famous courses in Fashion Designing are BDes Fashion and Textile, BDes Fashion Design, and BSc Fashion Designing. On the journey of these courses, you will learn various aspects of designing, textiles, CAD, pattern making, etc., that will help you while designing your props.

Get Firearms License

All prop makers should have a fireman’s license.To carry props from suppliers to rehearsal locations and sets, they’ll need a complete license. Proper training allows them to work safely with firearms and other weapons while teaching their talents to actors and stunt professionals.

Assist People to Learn More

Prop makers often work in a props department for several years as an internship/apprenticeship after graduating. The next step to becoming a professional prop maker is to get hands-on experience as an intern/assistant before working independently. The following are some of the most popular entry-level prop positions:

  • Standby props
  • Dressing props
  • Props storeman
  • Assistant prop master

Also Read: How to Become a Cinematographer?

Top 10 Universities for Design and Arts Courses Abroad

Studying abroad opens you to a multicultural environment, learns new languages, and understands the world. There is not any specific course on prop making. You can pursue courses related to art and design that will help you expand your knowledge on prop making:

  1. Colby-Sawyer College, USANorthern Arizona University, USA
  2. Tampere University of Applied Science, Finland 
  3. OCAD University, Canada
  4. Paris College of Arts
  5. University of Gothenburg, Sweden 
  6. Lund University
  7. Aquinas College, USA 
  8. Accademia di Belle Arti Aldo Gali- IED Network, Italy 
  9. University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  10. School of the Museum of Fine Arts, USA

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Skills Required

Being a Prop Master is not an easy job. Producers prefer candidates with experience, relevant background and education. However, the right skill and attitude can set you apart from other candidates. 

  • Research- Props masters must be prepared to meet the needs of any product they are engaged in. They should be comfortable learning from knot tying to pistol handling to understanding what is considered forbidden in prison.
  • Organization-Hundreds of props might be used in film production, and the props master must be prepared to maintain all of them (and their backups) organized and ready for each day of filming.
  • Leadership-A props master is in charge of a crew of several other props roles; therefore, they must be comfortable delivering directions and maintaining good spirit on long days.
  • Certification– One of the unusual requirements for being a props master is firearms training and certification. Any props person in the union is required to do this. Many movies have scenes with a gun or other weapon, and someone on set must know how to keep everyone safe.

Roles and Responsibilities

Before the shoot, Prop makers are responsible for designs and preliminary concepts. Prop makers play an essential role in the overall production.

Make a list of the props you’ll need for the show: The props master goes over the screenplay and sits down in production meetings with various personnel, such as the art director, technical director, stage manager, set designer, set decorator, set dressers, and costume designers.

Assembling all the appropriate props: If a film is set in a particular historical period or region, the props master will need to know what the props, from guns to vehicles to tents, would look like in that period or location.

Gather all props while staying under the budget: The props master is in charge of ensuring that all props arrive onset; for larger-budget films, a crew of prop makers is employed, while on smaller-budget films, the props master is responsible for manufacturing, renting, or purchasing all props. They also locate animal suppliers for any animal performing in the play and backup props if something breaks on stage.

To ensure safety, keep a close eye on the props you’re using: When all of the props are ready to go on set, the props master supervises all prop usage to ensure that none of them is broken. They ensure that hand props (any props handled by actors) are used safely, and that set props (part of the set) hold up during takes. 

Maintaining tracks of all props: The props master also maintains track of all items and backup objects onset, generally stored in labelled containers to ensure that nothing goes missing and that everything is ready for each scene.

Are you ready to take up a career as a prop maker? Find a suitable course and get started with your application. Our Leverage Edu experts are here to help you out with the application process!

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