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Reel Opportunities

Production Buyer

Also known as: Props Buyer, Buyer

What is a Production Buyer?
What does a Production Buyer do?

Production Buyers shop for the props and set dec needed for a production. 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 minimize 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

  • Organizing

    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

  • Knowledge of period furniture and architecture:

    Have an interest in the creative side of set decorating

Who does a Production Buyer work with?

On large productions, a Production Buyer has an Assistant, an Assistant Buyer or Petty Cash Buyer, who helps with research, sourcing items, managing a petty cash float and listing all expenditures per set.

How do I become a Production Buyer?

There is no set route to being a buyer, but it’s helpful to have a background in art. Consider becoming an art trainee first and working your way up to working on a big budget feature film from there. This will help you make the contacts and build up the industry knowledge to get work in the art department of a film or TV drama.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.