What Does a Set Buyer Do in Film

What Does a Set Buyer Do in Film?

A film production includes a lot of working parts, and people that come together to produce the elaborate sets, and scenes, that we have come to know and love. The production of a movie actually requires a mix of professionals that work to define the scenes that are required, professionals that create the artistic elements of the set, and those who put the set and all of the important dressings and props together to make it appear just how the producer or the director want. Set buyers are poised with many of these tasks, but exactly what does a set buyer do in film and how?

What Does a Set Buyer Do?

Set buyers have an important role in helping to secure the set dressings and props that are required for various scenes that will take place throughout the filming of a movie or video.

Generally, set buyers are responsible for identifying the various needs of the set, including props and dressings as well as any individual elements required for each scene, and they then consult with other departments including production design and props to establish the set needs.

Once the set buyer has determined what’s necessary for the set, they will buy, rent, or otherwise commission the various props and set dressings that are needed to create the sets for each of the scenes of the film.

An Understanding

Set buyers do a lot of shopping, but it’s about more than just shopping around for what they like or what they want. They have to understand period items, history, and background details about the films they’re purchasing set decorations and other items for.

This way the can find items that will be used to appropriately adorn the set in a way that will have it appear most closely to the desired appearance for the film.

Lots of Shopping

Set buyers are constantly on the lookout for items that they need to create the set. From shopping online to running around the local town wherever the set is being built.

The set buyer is busy finding all of the basic items as well as the intricate items that are required to establish each set across each scene. 

Where they go

Set buyers have been known to shop at furniture stores, hardware stores, thrift stores, online stores, and a wide mix of just about any other style or type of store you can imagine. You might find the set buyer in a lighting store one day, and at an antiques store the next.

It’s not uncommon for them to shop yard sales and Facebook Marketplace as well as various other outside the box shopping options in order to achieve the necessary purchase of all the different set dressings and items required to create the set.

After Production

When production wraps, the set buyer is also responsible for selling off the various items, or for making sure that they get returned if they were rented. Set buyers sometimes have a role in the final auctioning or delivering of various set items.

Whether it means giving pieces away to the cast or crew, selling the items, returning items, or simply making sure that they make it to the trash.

When it comes to answering the common question, what does a set buyer do in film, the answer is – they shop, they curate, and they organize a lot of different elements and items to put together a perfect set for every scene. 

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