Ben Krakowsky -- Property Master for Lucifer
Ever wonder how they choose all the props on Lucifer? Which ones are made, and which ones are bought? Well, I spoke to Ben, props master for Lucifer (seasons 1&2, and 3's bonus episodes), and here's what he had to say ...
As a prop master, what exactly was your job at Lucifer?
I get the script, read through it and pull out all the props that we'll need for an episode. Sometimes those are listed and obvious and sometimes that list comes from experience. I attend many meetings to refine what it is we need. I'll shop online while my buyer looks locally for what we need for the episode. If it's something we need to build I'll often turn to the art department for a design and work with a builder to turn those drawings into reality.
What was your favourite prop?
It's hard to pick a favourite. I am proud of the all the memorabilia we put together for the Weaponizer episode, but most of it never made the final cut. We even 3D scanned the actors and made action figures for them. The box was full of all sorts of things like "Body Bags to Punching Bags: Getting fit with Weaponizer" DVD. With Tom, there's a bit of playful humour that comes up when they block the scenes, so if we can provide props that can help any improvised humor arise, or help an actor get into character, that's important too. I have the Body Bags Jean Jacket hanging in my closet at home. The goat head from season one was awesome too. A very talented builder put that together for us. That's the episode where I have a bit of a cameo on the Satanism website. My least favourite prop was that damn champagne flute that Ella glued together. Lucifer comments that there's a special area in Hell for people doing that, and guess who had to do it! Our builder delivered a plastic version that just didn't look good, so I was up very late the night before literally breaking champagne glasses until one broke the way I liked, then trying to figure out how all the pieces glued back together.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I think it has to be the learning. Each show and each episode has something new, and often that gives me the chance to do some research. I've learned about different civilizations, different medical procedures, and with Lucifer, lots of torture techniques.
How does choosing props work, from script to screen?
This varies. Sometimes simple things are easy, sometimes they are a challenge. Sometimes complex designs and builds are approved right away. Everyone has an opinion on what they want, and we send emails and have show and tells to bring the opinions of the director, writer, prop master and producers all on the same page.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to get into your career?
Start small and learn as you go. Every day and every show is different, so there's really no way to ever master being a prop master. If you're interested, volunteer on short films and ask questions.
How long did you work on Lucifer?
All of season one and two, and technically those standalone episodes from three.
Do you have any behind-the-scenes stories to share?
The first thing that comes to mind is dealing with some of the sex toys we've had to deal with. For the scene where Maze moves in with Chloe, we had to run all the possible toys through the legal department to see what we could and couldn't see on TV. Those were off emails. We couldn't show a vibrating butterfly or Hitachi magic wand, but the clitoral pump and anal beads were ok. On set, Scarlett asked Lauren what the purple clitoral pump was, and she covered quickly, that it was a perfume sprayer. The edible sextoy episode was interesting one too. I've attached a photo of my amazon shopping cart for one episode.
What is a little known fact/background on any of the props?
The keen eye would notice that Azrael's blade changes from 205 to 208. It was designed and made to spec, but it seemed too big to be a dagger and too small to be a sword and the paint had a chemical reaction with the rubber and never cured properly. We had a different builder make the next blades and they are a thing of beauty. In episode 215 we ran into an issue with the plaque with the ribbon cutting scissors are removed from. The outline of the scissors looked a lot like a cock and balls. Seeing as it's Lucifer, we ran with it, thinking this could be an opportunity for some improv from Tom but the director disagreed. In my opinion anything done to try and make it look less phallic, only had the opposite effect.
Love Lucifer? Swoon for Supernatural? You're in the right place -- Changing Channels is a page dedicated to all things Lucifer and Supernatural. There are daily and monthly contests, in addition to a gallery for artists to "hang" their art! Find out more here: About Changing Channels.
Ben Krakowsky interview comments
"Everything Ben said is absolutely true. I'm a Krakowsky fan." ~ Steve Geaghan
"Great interview, I smiled at the BTS anecdote.. Interesting to see how props are made or both. It seems like a very rewarding job. Thank you for sharing this." ~ @Alexia666