That's how set dressers sometime refer to themselves. It's how I got into the film business.
I was working for Starving Students moving furniture. I wasn't a student at the time and neither were most of my co-workers.
One of my friends' mom who was working on a movie, called Scenes from a Class Struggle in Beverly Hills, asked if I wanted to do pretty much the same thing but for the film she was on.
I was just filling in for a few days which turned into a couple of months. I was 20 years old at the time and after that one job ended I assumed that was it for my time in Hollywood. A few weeks later the decorator on the movie called me up to work on a mini-series, Family of Spies.
26 years later and I am still moving furniture for the movies.
Actually, set dressing involves a lot more than just slinging chairs and hauling couches.
A lot more. In fact, the whole jack-of-all trades theme has much to do with the nature of being a set dressing lifer. I Googled "set dressing" the other day and the results were interesting.
Set dressers arrange objects on a film set before shooting. They work under the direction of a leadman, a set decorator and a production designer. Set dressers place furniture, hang pictures, and put out decorative items.
I ran across this nugget from Filmskills, under their "Set Dressing Module"
ABOUT THIS MODULE
Most constructed sets are empty rooms, void of life and character. Set decorators bring in everything from rugs and drapes to items on surfaces, artwork on the walls, and anything the actors do not touch. The quality of the set dressing not only adds to the visual impact of the frame, but to the characters themselves.
This module takes you inside the set decorating process, on a tour of a Hollywood prop house, and gives you dozens of tips and techniques for dressing your set, whether it's on a sound stage or a real location.
The "experts" include a set decorator, a friend actually and we were both on the Executive Board with Set Decorator's Society of America, but also a few Production Designers, an Art Director and a Construction Coordinator. All important to the Art Department, but none of them from what I could tell have the hands-on experience to really be of much value to teaching and informing what "set dressing" really entails.
And to that end, I have decided to write a series of tutorials on "set dressing" .
I've learned a thing or two over the years and well this is how I answered a Facebook comment the other day, perhaps a bit too pompously but ....
- Producer(Name withheld to protect the innocent) What are your qualifications?
- Jon Danniells set decorator, leadperson, set dresser, over 25 years of experience, have worked in most every medium, including IMAX 3-D, (that was eye opening to say the least0, have worked internationally and can provide recommendations and referrals from several Academy Award winners, was fired by King-of-the-world James Cameron and hired back the next day(not an unusual thing on Cameron pics). Are you hiring?
- Producer: Dammit. I'm looking for a Craft Service assistant.
- Jon Danniells I'm pretty good around the kitchen and am willing to learn
I used to wonder by which method, I'd make the most money.
And in the next of this Set Dressing, Earn While You Learn, Tutorial, we'll see.