Film and home improvement – what could these two seemingly different business have to do with each other? Apparently, in Georgia they have a lot in common.
A few years ago, Pinewood Studios was added to Georgia’s studio family and with it came The Home Depot Studio Store. Upon initial glance, these industries don’t seem to have anything to do with each other. But closer introspection reveals that set-building is as crucial to Hollywood as its actors, scripts, and any other key component that make a movie come to life on screen. With this in mind, we can see how these two different businesses can form a symbiotic relationship that results in a very beneficial outcome.
These week Reel Focus explores just how beneficial of a relationship this is by learning more about how The Home Depot is helping the film industry grow in Georgia, one wood plank at a time.
Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for our readers. For starters, what is The Home Depot Studio Store and how is it different from regular stores?
The Home Depot Studio Store is unique in that it’s located on the grounds of Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayetteville and was built to serve set builders and construction crews who work on movie and television production sets in the Atlanta area. Even though the store has the Home Depot sign on the outside, the inside looks more like a fulfillment center than a traditional store. It is 4,500 square feet with just 2,300 square feet of dedicated sales floor. The store carries about 2,500 different items, and lumber and other construction-related materials are the biggest sellers.
Is the location at Pinewood Studios Atlanta the only store of its kind?
While we do have another store that is exclusively for the Pro customer (contractors, commercial business, etc.) the Studio Store is the only store we’ve opened to exclusively serve customers in the television and film production industry.
Do you all supply product only for set-building or, are you also involved in the labor of set-building?
We only supply product for set-building. We do not build sets.
This seems like a great concept for The Home Depot. Is there plans to expand this concept and how important do you think such a diversion from norm is this for The Home Depot in terms of new business development?
Here in Georgia, we love our growing film industry and to show how much we love and appreciate it, this month is dedicated to the people who make it possible: our film vendors. For this blog post, we salute RJR Props who has been a staple in Atlanta’s film community for about a decade now. Rich Rappaport founded the company with the intention of using his extensive background experience to provide filmmakers with accurate props for their films. RJR props has grown to become one of the largest prop providers in the metro Atlanta area.
Thank you Rich for joining us this week. Rich, tell our readers what RJR Props is and what it means to Atlanta’s growing film community.
RJR Props is the ultimate source for amazing Props. Nothing boring here! We provide props for Television, Film, Music Videos, Conventions, shows and private events. Where do you go when you need a full size commercial airplane interior to film? Or a real Airport TSA Security area? Call RJR Props. We also have working Elevator Props, Computer Rooms, Hospital & Medical Gear, High-Tech Security props. Working bomb disposal robot, Exotic Electronics, A Bank set with Vault, Safe Deposit Boxes, working ATMs and money. We have the most realistic legal Prop Money in the USA. Our money has been featured in dozens of feature films & TV shows, and it has been seen in over than 1000 music videos by the top artists. We have a Vintage Computer collection with over 5000 pcs. Huge Weapons collections from medieval to flame throwers. A huge collection of News Cameras & Studio Cameras dating back from 1940 to present! RJR Props is now recognized as one of the top Props Suppliers of non-furniture props. And our website has been recognized as one of the best for Props: rjrprops.com.
Your background is in medical, avionics, engineering, military and computers – in essence nothing related to the creative field. What made you want to transition to the more creative world of film?
Having a wide background actually makes perfect sense. In this industry, we need to be experts in many fields. Having a medical background means that we can make sure we provide the right medical props. The Engineering helps us design the props. Military helps with our Military props including our Huey Helicopter, yes we have a Huey available! And computers has been my speciality since the dawning of computer age. I have 26 yrs experience in all of these fields, plus we have a talented crew with even more diverse skills, making it an essential part of our abilities.
But I can’t take credit for transitioning into Film. It wasn’t me. It was a blessing from our Creator.We were in the industrial computer business doing electronic design & repair for many years. We started getting requests from the film industry to rent Mainframe Computers. But we never considered it. One day a wonderful man named Bob Shelley walked in the door. Bob is a world famous Special Effects master in Film & TV. He asked for a rare item that we had. We had that rare item, along with thousands of other rare pieces that we accumulated over the years. Bob was amazed with our “collection” and thankful that we were able to provide the piece. He recommended us for a number of other projects. I thank G-d every day for all our blessings, I thank G-d for sending Bob, and I thank Bob regularly! I know it sounds a bit odd, but I really am very thankful!
Do you provide customized prop options for clients?
Yes, we do provide customized props. We help design a wide variety of amazing props from Computers to Exotic Electronics. In the upcoming feature film “Sully” starring Tom Hanks which was directed by Clint Eastwood, we were asked to design the cockpit electronics for Captain Sully’s Plane. We collaborated with the Set Dec and Lead Man to come up with an amazing cockpit set. A few months ago we were commissioned to do custom designed prop money for fashion designer Alex Wang, for his 10th anniversary bash in NYC, which was topped of with a huge money drop. It was great seeing Lady Gaga, Nikki Minaj and others throwing our money around! Recently, a famous actress directed her first feature film. We were commissioned to make a unique one of a kind piece for her desk in her LA office. In feature films, the Director, Set Decorator or Prop Master usually decides what a piece will look like. However, many times we are asked to create it. We were asked to provide a variety of props for Madam Secretary, Chicago PD and other shows recently. We have built a trust with them, and they often give us artist license do prop designs as we see fit. Other times we collaborate together, but always it looks absolutely exceptional.
Where do you see your company 5-10 years from now as the film industry continues to boom?
Where do I see us in 5-10 years? Older! But seriously, we are getting better and better every day. We continue to bring diverse experienced people to make our company stronger and better every day. We are adding more amazing Props and focusing on the areas that we are asked to grow. We can’t predict the future. It’s all in G-d’s hands. Please G-d, in 5-10 years we can see an even better future, more diversified Props House, new engineering capabilities, and specialization in playback. In a nutshell, we will be able to make every production look even better. But we all have to do our part also.
The Film industry brings $6 BILLION a year to Georgia. It gives jobs to tens of thousands of good people, and revenue to other companies like: restaurants, dry cleaners, etc. But our industry is based on with how we vote: the politicians that control the taxes. If we vote for politicians who will continue low taxes and incentives, the industry will be safe. Jobs will be safe. However, if we vote for the wrong politicians who want to raise taxes and kill incentives, the industry will pack up and leave. The film industry is here for 1 reason: Money. It costs less to film here. Some politicians like to raise taxes, and some realize that lower taxes attract businesses and the film industry. We all need to vote for the right politicians. Together, we can all help make this industry amazing! I hope this gave some great insight into the film industry! Call RJR for your next production at (404) 349-7600 or check us out at rjrprops.com We look forward to helping you in your next Film, TV show, Commercial or Music Video!