What does a production buyer do?
Production buyers shop for the props. They work closely with set decorators to source, for example, barbed wire, machetes, telephone kiosks and hotel luggage trollies; anything that’s needed for the action and look of a set. They mark up (make notes on) the script and make a list of all the props needed. After this list has been checked with the set decorator, they go to prop houses and book them.
The buyers then write a detailed schedule of the props, working out dates and durations of hire to minimise costs, and confirming collection and return dates with the props master. They produce weekly budgets for the production accountant so that all spending can be closely monitored.
They are also responsible for the art department petty cash, which must be carefully monitored and reconciled at the end of each production. Production buyers usually work on a freelance basis.
What’s a production buyer good at?
- Knowledge of prop houses: have a wide network of useful contacts with prop houses, suppliers and specialist manufacturers
- Knowledge of period furniture and architecture: have an interest in the creative side of set decorating
- Organising: schedule and manage a budget and keep track of the detail of many different sets at the same time
- Resourcefulness: find cost-effective solutions
- Communication: work closely with the set decorator, props master, accountant and props houses