It doesn’t get better than the prop department on a film set. My experience with these types of production workers is always a fun experience.
People that work in props can take a stressful position and make it silly, which makes the day go by much faster. Props Department always attracts very quirky people. They love to get their hands dirty yet are also magically meticulous at sometimes. The head of the prop team is the Prop Masters, who controls all aspects of the property department. They oversee everything from getting the job for their team, maintenance of their equipment (their props), and keeping the requirements of the production within the budget needed.
Something For Every Script
Think of a prop master as a sound mixer with different toys.
The rest of the prop team is more hands on during the day of production, actually bringing the props in and out of scenes and getting everything “record ready”.
Working with props I pretty complex and on the spot sometimes… Production could have planned dinner scene’s at a fancy restaurant (which will make them be responsible for tablecloth‘s and thousands of plates cups and silverware). Then, they may switch everything on them and move to a basketball court . Their job is always new every day because the scene always changes.
The Prop Truck
One of the greatest things about the prop department is their truck! They have to have an unlimited supply of stuff! You never know what the director is going to ask for. They are responsible for scouring over the scripts making sure anything needed is available on the day.
It takes loads of time to analyze the script to make sure that you have everything. It can get tricky, because sometimes the script will be very literal and tell you what is the scene. Other times, it will give the description of a location and it will be up to them to make sure that they thought about everything before hand. You never want to have the director yo where is that thing?!
This sound team has to work with the prop department on a regular basis. Sometimes, props make noises, like plates and silverware. We work with the prop department to please silencing materials on the bottoms of plates and cups to make sure that we don’t hear them when they’re being put down in the scene.
When I record sound in a scene with a lot of background artists eating dinner, there are a lot of extraneous noises that the sound crew will have to prepare for. The plates and glass clicking, the waiting staff walking around, and even the air conditioner and freezing units cause many issues for us as sound professionals.
Having a Good Rapport
The Props Department is easy to get along with. Work with them, rather than against them because they are part of the same team. You want them to have your back on these complex scenes. One less thing for Sound to worry about, and one big IOU to props!