Set buyer


Set buyers analyse the script in order to identify the set dressing and the props needed for all individual scenes. They also consult with the production designer and the prop and set making team. Set buyers buy, rent or commission the making of the props. Set buyers make sure sets are authentic and believable.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to set buyer:

set decoration buyer
production buyer
assistant production buyer
property buyer

Minimum qualifications

Bachelor’s degree is generally required to work as set buyer. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Set buyer is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Set buyer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to set buyer.

costume buyer
miniature set designer
location manager
assistant video and motion picture director

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of set buyer. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of set buyer with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

stage director
production designer
director of photography
lighting director
post-production supervisor

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of set buyer.

Film production process: The various development stages of making a film, such as scriptwriting, financing, shooting, editing, and distribution.
Room aesthetics: Assessment of how different pieces of a visual design can ultimately fit together to create the intended interior and visual environment.
Cinematography: The science of recording light and electromagnetic radiation in order to create a motion picture. The recording can happen electronically with an image sensor or chemically on light sensitive materials such as film stock.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of set buyer.

Identify suppliers: Determine potential suppliers for further negotiation. Take into consideration aspects such as product quality, sustainability, local sourcing, seasonality and coverage of the area. Evaluate the likelihood of obtaining beneficial contracts and agreements with them.
Manage budgets: Plan, monitor and report on the budget.
Purchase props: Buy the required props for a performance.
Maintain relationship with suppliers: Build a lasting and meaningful relationship with suppliers and service providers in order to establish a positive, profitable and enduring collaboration, co-operation and contract negotiation.
Analyse a script: Break down a script by analysing the dramaturgy, form, themes and structure of a script. Conduct relevant research if necessary.
Identify props: Determine the props needed for each scene by reading and analysing the script. Make a detailed list of them.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of set buyer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Photography: Art and practice of creating aesthetically appealing images by recording light or electromagnetic radiation.
Film studies: The theoretical, historical, and critical approaches to films. This includes the narrative, artistic, cultural, economic, and political implications of cinema.
Lighting techniques: The characteristics of techniques used to create atmospheres and effects on camera or on stage; the equipment required and appropriate setup to use.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of set buyer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Provide customized upholstery: Install custom upholstery, according to the customer’s individual requests and preferences.
Adapt sets: Adapt and move set pieces during rehearsals and live performances.
Change over props: Set, remove, or move props on a stage during a changeover.
Adapt props: Adapt existing props for use in a specific production.
Acquire antique items: Purchase antique items such as pottery, furniture and memorabilia, in order to resell them.
Define set building methods: Decide on how the set will be built and document the conclusions.
Work with prop makers: Consult with prop makers about the props being used.
Coordinate purchasing activities: Coordinate and manage procurement and renting processes including purchasing, renting, planning, tracking and reporting in a cost efficient way on an organisational level.
Carry out internet research: Execute efficient search on the internet in order to gather relevant information and share it with others.
Manage logistics: Create logistic framework for transporting goods to customers and for receiving returns, execute and follow up the logistics processes and guidelines.
Manage rented goods returns: Organise the return of rented goods to the distributor.
Build miniature props: Build miniature props from a variety of materials, working with the design staff to create the appropriate prop for the production.
Maintain inventory of rented items: Compose and keep up-to-date inventory of all the multimedia items rented to customers.
Build props: Build props from a variety of materials, working with the design staff to create the appropriate prop for the production.
Ensure visual quality of the set: Inspect and amend the scenery and set-dressing to make sure the visual quality is optimal with in constraints of time, budget and manpower.
Check deliveries on receipt: Control that all order details are recorded, that faulty items are reported and returned and that all paperwork is received and processed, according to the purchasing procedures.

ISCO group and title

3323 – Buyers





  1. Set buyer – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022

What do you want to do with this job?

You will be brought to the forum page

Requires a business account

Requires a business account

Thinking about your next career move?

Answer a few questions about your jobs and education, and we’ll give you suggestions about your best possible career move. It’s completely free!