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To become a prop master, you should typically begin by working within the art department on a production at an entry level. While it is possible to begin this kind of work without an educational background in film or television, it can be helpful to have an understanding of production as well as the physical arts such as sculpting or machining. Once you find your way into the art department of a production, you can begin learning the realities of working on a film or television set or in a theatrical production. You should then indicate your interest in working in the props department of future productions to help you become a prop master.
The prop master, or property master, on a production is responsible for overseeing the prop department and working with other members of the art department. Props typically include anything seen on screen or on stage that is not an actor, worn by an actor, or background. In general, there are no strict educational requirements to become a prop master, though you may find it helpful to have a background in entertainment productions. Since prop masters can work in film, television, or theater, you can have a background in any of these types of productions and still find opportunities to gain art department experience.
Once you have the general education or understanding of basic production elements, you can begin working your way up to become a prop master. You should typically look for productions in need of entry-level workers in the art department, though you can get experience starting as a production assistant or even an intern. Getting into the art department, however, is vital to gaining the experience you need to become a prop master. Even if you are working in set design or assisting with costuming, you can still be making contacts within the industry to help you gain work on future productions.
You can then begin working your way up to specifically become a prop master. Within the art department, you should indicate your interest in props and try to get into the prop department of a production. You may need to assist with machining props, finding furniture and household items to help dress sets, and other initial duties that can help you gain experience and establish contacts with other prop masters and production managers. With enough experience, then you can become a prop master on a production by finding productions in need of a prop master and demonstrating your experience.
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