Props & Set Dressing

Set dressing and props are important details that help set the tone and contribute to the authenticity of a film. A 1950's diner set will require stools, vintage bottles and a jukebox that represent the era. Mod wallpaper prints and the correct shade of avocado green for appliances will signal the '70's. The people responsible for finding or fabricating these items and making sure they're on the set, ready for action, are the set decorator and property master.
The set decorator reports to the film's art director, who in turn reports to the production designer, and is responsible for finding furniture and objects that accessorize a set, are appropriate to the period and add to the "look" of the film. The prop master takes care of anything that an actor can pick up and hold in his or her hand, often referred to as "hero" props. Very often, items they're after can be found by scouring flea markets, prop houses and retail stores, although a little ingenuity and handcrafting is sometimes required to produce props that sell the story. Often, the prop master works with the special effects crew to rig props for an effect that is important to the storyline.

Columbia Pictures prop departments, 1936.

The living room in STUART LITTLE invokes the warmth of the Little family.