A new organization – the Property Masters Guild – has been formed “to provide professional continuing educational opportunities, cultivate future generations of property masters, and foster greater collaboration amongst property masters and the craft.”
Joshua Meltzer, whose many credits include Dexter, Will & Grace and 2 Broke Girls, is the guild’s first president. With 78 founding members, the guild was started by Meltzer and three other veteran prop masters — Gregg Bilson, Hope Parrish and Chris Call — who first met to discuss the formation of the group in 2017.
The new nonprofit professional association is not a labor union, however. For collective bargaining purposes, prop masters are covered by IATSE Prop Local 44, and the newly launched guild says that it “believes strongly in the union’s authority and leadership.”
“The Property Masters Guild has long been a dream for many of us in the craft,” Meltzer said. “The property master is arguably one of the most important people on a film set. I have no idea why it has taken so long, but I am honored to be part of the first organization dedicated to elevating our craft and educating the industry and the public on the essential contributions and varied skills property masters possess.”
The guild said that its mission is to:
• Raise awareness of the craft of property master to those both within and outside the entertainment industry.
• Educate its members so they can maintain the highest quality of standards within the craft.
• Cultivate, inspire, and train future generations of property masters, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds.
• Foster a greater collaboration amongst property masters and our craft.
“For far too long, the property master has gone unrecognized in film and television,” said Call, a founding board member whose latest credits include Mr. Mayor and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. “Props are the objects of life, we all have them, cherish them and use them to help express who we are. In film, it is the property master, working with creators, the director and the actors that help define their character through their possession. On set, it is the property master who maintains the integrity of the artistic design created by the art department. When the camera is about to roll and the director or an actor is struck with an idea to help tell the story – it is the property master they turn to who pulls the rabbit out of the hat.”
The guild’s first awards program is tentatively set for May. Membership in the guild is open to individuals who are active prop masters in the film, television and commercials industries. The guild’s website can be viewed at propertymastersguild.org.
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