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Assistant Set Decorator

Take charge of acquiring props and arranging film sets.

What does an Assistant Set Decorator do?

Though shooting every scene of a movie in a blank room would cut down like crazy on production costs, it wouldn’t make for a very entertaining film. In order to entice, educate, and enthrall audiences, Directors and Set Decorators create scenes using specific objects that complement the movie’s plot and characters.

The Assistant Set Decorator is part of the team that finds and sets up each piece of a scene. They work as the second set of hands for the Set Decorator, doing things like arranging for props to be delivered and ensuring that everything is in place before filming starts.

Props include pretty much anything you can think of in a movie scene. The flowers on the table, the beer in the fridge, even the dog sitting in the corner are all the responsibility of the set decoration team. At the beginning of production, a long list of needed items is created. This list includes everything that needs to be found, made, or rented to make the movie go.

As Assistant Set Decorator, you help find pieces – calling stores, bidding online, or arranging for extra work, like upholstery, to be done on certain pieces. You might need to research specifics if you’re working on a period film, or get permission to use a copyright-protected brand name.

Once everything is found, it needs to be arranged. The Assistant Set Decorator helps create the detailed list of pieces that belong to each scene, and determine where exactly they will sit on the set. During production, you follow these instructions to the letter, setting up each day before filming and then breaking down the set at night when everything is done.