Prop MakerJob Description:
Prop makers create objects for use in films, TV programmes and the theatre.Job Category:
What you will do:
Typically you could:
- meet with production staff to discuss what props are needed
- make detailed plans from ideas and rough sketches
- do historical research to make sure items fit with the time period of the production
- work with a range of materials to create realistic props
- use hand and power tools
- source new props for hire or to buy
- repair existing props
- knowledge of building and construction
- design skills and knowledge
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- knowledge of maths
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
As well as:
To become a Prop Maker, specific subject requirements are not typically mandated. However, it’s essential to have a strong foundation in certain subjects and develop relevant skills that are valuable for this creative and hands-on profession. Here are suggested subjects and skills that can help you prepare for a career as a Prop Maker:
- Art and Design: Art and Design are highly beneficial. They provide a solid foundation in creative skills, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, and design principles, which are essential for creating props.
- Design and Technology (D&T): D&T courses can introduce you to practical skills and tools, which are valuable for crafting props. This subject can teach you about materials, construction techniques, and technical drawing.
- Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills are useful for taking measurements, calculating dimensions, and working on construction projects. Practical math is often involved in prop making.
- Textiles: Textiles can be beneficial if you plan to create fabric-based props, costumes, or soft props.
- Theater Studies or Drama: These subjects can provide valuable insight into the world of theater, including how props are used, their significance in productions, and the collaboration between prop makers and theater professionals.
- Graphic Design: Graphic design skills can be useful for creating visual elements on props, such as signs, labels, or printed graphics.
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You could take a foundation degree or degree in:
- prop making
- scenic arts
- production arts
- art and design
You can do a college course that may give you some of the practical skills needed in this job. In the UK, for example, courses include:
- Diploma in Art and Design
- Certificate in Carpentry
- Certificate in Creative Craft
- Diploma in 3D Design and Crafts
- Diploma in Technical Theatre
You could do a props technician advanced apprenticeship.
The apprenticeship takes 18 to 24 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and off-the-job study.
You could start by working in a theatre as a props assistant or technician. In film and TV you would start as an art department trainee.
Practical experience is usually essential to get an assistant job.
Volunteering for student productions, festivals and amateur theatre is a good way to get experience and make contact with people working in the industry, which could help when looking for jobs.
You may also be able to get into prop making after training in related areas like graphic design, furniture making or model-making.
Your creative talent and model-making skills will often be as important as formal qualifications.
You can create a portfolio of your work to show your range of skills.
Working Hours and Environment:
A typical week consists of 42-44 hours of work. You could be required to work freelance/be self-employed managing your own hours.
You could work in a workshop, at a TV studio, at a film studio or in a theatre. Your working environment may be cramped and dusty.
Career Path & Progression:
With experience, you could move into set design, production design or stage management.
You could become a prop master and run a props department.