In the same way that set design became an important factor in the production of Return to Sender, prop design became pretty integral as well.
I think, for the most part, the set design played hand in hand with props, in the sense that the sets helped solidify character traits. There was a whole other level though that, again, was entirely new to me.
One of the props was a huge factor in the film, and it took a while to get it exactly right. There is a box in this film, and it plays a pretty big role. My initial idea was to make it look like a package that had traveled the world, but I could never get it to look right, and it never looked good on camera.
The box that we ended up utilizing in the film fell into my lap after Valentine’s Day. I received a gift in that box, and after a bit of thinking, we realized that it would provide the best look on camera. This box ended up changing some of the wording with the script. It worked with the overall theme I was going for though, so I think it was a beneficial change.
This box will be used in promotional materials, so I feel comfortable sharing a picture of it here. This is the final design for the box which was used in the film.
The other element of prop design that came into play was with our detective characters. We spent a good deal of time trying to figure out if it was necessary to get holsters and weapons for our detectives, but when we examined the script and where the detectives would be positioned, this was deemed unnecessary.
Overall, we ended up going with a sort of clip on badge. We designed the actual badges ourselves. They were placed inside of plastic lanyard style holders. We used the head shots we received from our actors as the pictures on the badge. We figured they would be small enough to be passable.
I’m pretty happy with how they turned out for what the roles in this film were. If the roles were on screen for longer and in more than just a sitting position, then we probably would have gone more in depth.
As with my post about set design, I think my experience with props in this project will push me in the direction to pay more attention to these details in future productions. It’s about time really. I should be paying attention to things like this.