- Create objects for use in films, TV programmes and the theatre
- You'll need model-making skills & the ability to follow instructions
- You could move into set design, production design or stage management
As a prop maker, you could work for a film studio, TV production company, theatre or touring theatre company. You'll make anything from fake jewellery to replica weapons or moving models. You'll work with materials like metal, wood and textiles.
- Discuss what props are needed
- Interpret plans from rough sketches to detailed designs
- Carry out historical research to make authentic-looking items
- Experiment with different materials to create effects like ageing
- Use power tools
- Hire, buy or repair props
You could work in a workshop or backstage at a theatre, or film or TV set, and working conditions may be cramped and dusty.
To be a prop maker, you'll need knowledge of building and construction, thoroughness and attention to detail, knowledge of maths, the ability to work well with others, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools, the ability to work on your own, and sensitivity and understanding.
You could take a foundation degree or degree in prop making, scenic arts, production arts, or art and design.
You can also do a college course to get some necessary skills, such as a Level 2 Diploma in Art and Design, Level 2 Certificate in Carpentry, Level 3 Certificate in Creative Craft, or Level 3 Diploma in 3D Design and Crafts.
You could also do a props technician advanced apprenticeship.
You can start out 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.
Voluntary work for student productions, festivals, and amateur theatre is a great way to get experience and make contact with people working in the industry, which will help when applying for jobs.
Direct application is possible if you've trained in related areas like graphic design, furniture making or model-making.
Creative talent and model-making skills are often more important than formal qualifications.
With experience, you could move into set design, production design or stage management.