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CNM Ingenuity Offers Props and Film Resources to Growing Film Industry

CNM Ingenuity Offers Props and Film Resources to Growing Film Industry
These metal spheres have been featured in popular TV shows and movies like Roswell, Tremors and Maze Runner: Scorch Trials.

Jan 23, 2019

On the outside, the brick building at 1008 Coal Avenue near I-25 looks like a non-descript warehouse. But inside, it houses a growing collection of film props and spaces that might remind you of scenes from your favorite movies and TV shows.

Since 2016, the building at 1008 Coal has become a storage facility for virtually everything that could be used as a film or TV prop. From chairs to clocks to clothes to the most unique bird cages, the prop warehouse has it all.  The Props and Film Resources effort is a CNM Ingenuity initiative designed to bring together industry and learning opportunities.

Props and Film Resources receives its inventory from various sources, including CNM’s repurposing of old and unused furniture and equipment, and from film productions like Sicario, Lone Ranger, Girlfriend Experience and more that donate hundreds of items.

The initiative began as a creative way to utilize classroom equipment that was being replaced during improvement projects. By maintaining a strong relationship with local film studios and production companies, the Props and Film Resources team is cultivating a sustainable source of prop inventory for rent while contributing to the growing film industry in the state. Props are also used by CNM’s Film Technician and Theatre students for class projects.

As the film industry has continued to grow and evolve in New Mexico, the demand for affordable props and spaces has increased at a rapid pace.

“We just crunched quite a few numbers and we’ve doubled the operation,” said Evelyn Dow, Space Solutions and Property Management Director. “In the first year, we rented approximately 600 items, the next year we rented 1,200 items. This year, for half the year, we have already rented 1,200 items.”

Dow says there aren’t many prop centers in New Mexico, which provided CNM Ingenuity an opportunity to support the film industry while also creating a new source of revenue.

Television series being filmed in the area are a major clientele. Mark Duran, CNM’s Film Resources Manager, said that because of government incentives that favor TV series, the initiative has seen an upsurge in rentals for longer periods of time.

“We are getting a lot of episodic TV rentals and those usually end up being for longer periods than a feature film,” Duran said. “We are renting stuff for months or even the entire run of show.” Popular TV series that have been supported through this effort include Better Call Saul, Roswell and Longmire.

In addition to the prop rental initiative’s business success, Props and Film Resources also contributes to the education of many CNM Film Technician students. It has become a hub for students who want to learn about set decorating and the logistics of professional prop renting etiquette.

CNM Film Tech students learn the ins and outs of prop and set management.
CNM Film Tech students learn the ins and outs of prop and set management.

“We are involving students on the ground level,” said Dow. “We’ve got students not only using props but learning about prop management.”

Zachary Tubb, Space Solutions Technician for Props and Film Resources, is one example of how CNM students can gain access to the industry. Tubb was finishing his associates degree when he decided to apply for an open student employee position with Props and Film Resources. Now, he’s a key player in its operation.

“I’m not just doing the prop house (job) but also doing the Space Solutions side and production locations as well. So, I’m learning different sections of CNM Ingenuity at the same time while growing in the film industry,” Tubb said.

Dow said that they expect more growth with Props and Film Resources, as the film industry continues to grow in New Mexico.

“I think we are well positioned (within the film industry),” said Dow.

In addition to serving as a display and storage facility for prop inventory, the building at 1008 Coal also provides back office space for film production companies and business incubation. For example, OptiPulse Inc. and Telemetry Insight currently occupy space there, and diverse theme offices are available for short or long term rental.  Call (505)224-FILM (3456) for details.

For more information about Props and Film Resources, or to arrange a tour, please send an email to propsandfilm@cnm.edu or call (505)224-ITEM (4836).