Producer Buyer (Unscripted TV)

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What does a production buyer do?

Production buyers shop for a living. They work on big budget programmes that require a lot of props, such as entertainment shows and quizzes. Props can vary in size, from large pieces of furniture like sofas for a chat show to retro toys for quiz shows or fake plants for set dressing. They manage the budget and organise the purchase or hire, transportation and delivery to location, storage, packaging and returns of props.

Production buyers work closely with the production designer and art director and often become set decorators too, where they have more of an input into the dressing of a set to create a believable environment. They also liaise with the director and producer to ensure what they provide works with the requirements of the whole production.

Production buyers are usually freelance unless attached to large art departments.

What’s a production buyer good at?

  • Shopping: build up a network of suppliers, specialist contacts and prop houses, including companies and individuals who can create and make props to order, organise hire and return of props, storage
  • Resourcefulness: have a determination to find, source and acquire unusual items, using the most cost-effective solutions
  • Art and design history: have a passion for design and a knowledge of its history, be aware of the latest developments in production design, including technology and materials
  • Communication: understand what the production requires and why, and share thoughts and ideas clearly
  • Knowledge of production: understand studio and location requirements and challenges, as well as health and safety compliance

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