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PREP IN PRE-PRODUCTION
Yes. Set Decorating and Props are two separate departments, but they are pretty-much married on the set. Each prop will find its way onto one set or another. Not only must the talent be believable but the LOOK of the production must be convincingly believable, as well! There was a time that I was teaching a Production class and the students were setting up the camera, with the desks visibly in the background on the camera. Yes, most schools have limited budgets for these kind of classes if they don't eliminate them all together now. During this time, where we had a camera or two, the students were new to the production arena, and that's why they were there--to learn some production techniques! One day, I just had it! Forget the limiting budget!
Forget that we did not have paint, paintings, furniture, tools, materials on hand, etc. etc. I was prompted to create an assignment named LOCATION! Students were placed in two different groups. Each group created a scene, got the script together, the characters, etc. The RULE in this assignment was, this location had to take place in ONE LOCATION that was not in a classroom nor anything within a school. After this creation, whichever location the scene required, each group had to CREATE THIS NEW LOCATION INSIDE THE CLASSROOM! I then gave instruction and tips on how to collect materials inexpensively, what to do, what to look for, who, what, where, when--you got it! One group did one location that was supposed to be an exercise studio. This was okay, but it did not do the job. The next group LITERALLY turned a portion of our classroom into a LIVING ROOM! It was absolutely put together very well and recorded well on camera. They, of course, received an "A"! Now, if high school students could do this with NO budget, who were new to the production experience and made the scene believable...those with some experience or those who are willing to learn can do phenomenal things, too. Speaking of this...one day I was speaking to a Set Designer who got his introduction to production with the popular TV comedy, "In Living Color". He expressed how their production crew had to come up with all kinds of crazy ideas that had never been created before! Sure enough...we all saw the amazing hysterical designs and sets that visually transformed, exploded or came about in an unexpected way on that cleverly hysterical show! Don't limit yourself... but also, don't end up like Fire Marshall Bill in real life! Be open to creativity and don't limit yourself still, while being safe! In this phase of production, you're working with the Director and Script Supervisor and noting each scene and each prop that needs to be in the production. What is happening on the set? What is happening with a particular prop? Is it to explode and more than one backup is needed? Does a pretty hefty guy sit on that seat or is it a small framed one for Granny? These are factors that determine the weight, strength, design, etc. of the furniture, the picture being set on the wall or thrown across the room... You get my drift, right? Cool.
SET DECORATING & PROPS