Assistant Production Buyer
- Researching, sourcing and buying props and any parts needed to create props
- Recording the details and costs of the purchased items on a database
- Replacing or sourcing any props needed during shooting
To do this role, you will need to:
- be skilled in computer database software
- have a good eye for colour and detail
- be very organised
- prioritise and make good judgements under pressure
- be a good researcher and able to source required items, even on location
- show initiative
- work alone and as part of a team
- know about relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures
- have a full, clean driving licence and ideally own a car
What does an Assistant Production Buyer do?
Assistant Production Buyers are only employed on bigger budget films. They source and buy all props (which are not hired from Prop Houses) used to dress sets as well as the components used in making props from scratch.
They work for the Production Buyer and Set Decorator but may also be asked to buy items for other departments. They also carry out general running duties such as making teas and coffees.
Assistant Production Buyers start work approximately a month after the Set Decorator, when they begin to research and source items. Much of this work means visiting a variety of specialist shops to find the exact item or the closest thing to it.
They must carefully record each item they buy on a database, showing where it was bought (in case more are needed), how much it cost, any other relevant details and a code number for the set it belongs to. All items are bought with cash so Assistant Production Buyers must manage their own petty cash, logging all receipts and reporting their expenditure to the Production Buyer, who monitors the budgets.
During shooting, Assistant Art Directors and/or Standby Props call upon Assistant Production Buyers if they need a replacement item for a set. It’s important to act quickly so as not to hold up the dressing (decorating) of the set.
After the film has wrapped (shooting is completed), Assistant Production Buyers tie up any loose ends and close the petty cash accounting.
Assistant Production Buyers work on a freelance basis.
Will I need a qualification?
You can study a Fine Arts course to foundation or degree level, however, there is no formal training or qualification for this job.
You will find it valuable to gain hands-on experience of working at junior levels to get a good understanding of how the Art Department works. This will also help you to gain contacts within the various prop houses and suppliers.
What’s the best route in?
You can expect to start at a more junior level, either as a Runner for a film production company or a Floor Runner on a production. You can then move on to working as an Art Department Trainee or Assistant on a number of films before progressing to an Assistant Production Buyer.
You can progress from being an Assistant Production Buyer to eventually becoming a Production Buyer or Set Decorator.