By Mollee D. Harper, Senior Editor
Georgia Entertainment News caught up with Rich Reams, a 50-year entertainment industry professional and set decorator who serves as CEO of Atlanta-based GA Prop Source, LLC. Reams manages the 55,000 sq ft Hollywood-styled prop rental house and serves the Atlanta film community, renting furniture, lighting, rugs, décor and hand props for film, television, commercials and events produced in Georgia.
During our time together, Reams shares highlights of his lifelong journey in the entertainment industry, including his move from LA to Atlanta four years ago, and his interesting work providing props for film and television. Since opening, Ga. Prop Source has provided props and set dressing for almost every single film and TV show filmed in Atlanta.
GA Prop Source is located at 2160 Hills Avenue NW in Atlanta, Georgia. They have an expansive inventory of props ranging from antiques to modern styles, used in the filming of movie and television productions. GA Prop Source offers a wide variety of both props and set dressing to fill all set demands including: lighting, chairs/seating, sofas, beds, bedding, linen, fancy accessories, knick knacks, kitchen/glassware, garden/plants, books, electronics, appliances, and everything outdoors. In addition to their expansive inventory of props, GA Prop Source also offers a fully-furnished production facility with stage and storage areas for local filming.
Reams offered, “When I was nine years old, I went to our hometown movie theatre every weekend. When I was about 10, I approached the owner and told her I wanted to work there. She handed me a broom, and I started working in the industry, sweeping theatres. At 15, I was managing the drive-in theatre. By 17, a large multiplex came to our small town of Richardson, Texas. The hometown theatre shut down, and I went into business with my first theatre, showing classics from the 20s and 30s.”
“The 1967 film, Bonnie and Clyde, was a turning point for me. My father, the best mechanic in town, was called down to fix the car on that set. It turned out to be the debut movie for both Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway who played the title characters. I was invited to watch the filming on that movie set, met both Warren and Faye, and got to experience how films were made.”
“After college, I packed my bags and moved to California and attended design school and film school for a few years each. At film school, I art directed a few student films and met a director there. I went on to do a lot of projects with him.”
Reams continued, “That led me to work as a set decorator for 30 years. I was even nominated for an Emmy award for War and Remembrance, the biggest miniseries epic ever made on TV with over 30 hours of film.”
“I had a friend move to Atlanta to be part of the growing entertainment industry in Georgia. She called me and told me that Atlanta didn’t have any prop houses here yet. I closed everything down and moved to Atlanta in September 2013. We opened our doors in the spring of 2014,” he said.
Reams added, “There are probably 50 or more prop houses in LA including a lot of specialty prop houses. In Georgia, there are a couple of specialty prop houses like those who specialize in electronics or medical equipment. Myself and CAPS (Central Atlanta Props) are the only two real prop houses in Atlanta.”
“GA Prop Source offers a 55,000 sq ft prop house and facility with well over a million items in inventory spanning all eras and styles. We have about seven full time employees and some day laborers that help out.”
He continued, “The most unique thing about our shop is how clean and organized it is. We have everything organized by departments to make it easy for set decorators, event planners and other clients to find what they need.”
“Although the production designers are responsible for the overall look of the set, they work hand in hand with the set decorators. Set decorators and buyers come in to find the set dressing needed to make the set look right. The Set Decorators are some of the most creative people on a film; they have to take an empty room and magically turn it into a living room (both high end and low end) or a post office, or a clothing store or any of the endless possibilities that might come up in a script. They create their boards finding specific items that might be called for, and then they get approval from the designer, the producers and director, and come back and rent from us.”
Reams said, “We do have a catalog department and people who want to buy can look through our catalogs versus walking through 100 stores to find the same things we offer through our purchasing department.”
“When you are doing permanent sets, a show may purchase the furniture and decorations. So while we primarily rent, we do also sell items for permanent sets.”
“Right now, we are doing a big push to get more involved with party and event planners. We have some beautiful decorations, chandeliers, furniture and more here that are ideal for formal events. We also like working with photographers who need props for their photo shoots.”
Reams shared, “I just bought all of the set dressings and everything off Devious Maids to go into our prop house. We need a lot of the high end designer pieces for an upcoming project we will be working with. We hope to be providing a lot of the furniture and props for the new TV series, Dynasty that will start filming here this summer.”
Reams concluded, “I love Atlanta. The people are really nice. There are a lot less egos here. I am seeing the beginning and birth of an industry. It’s almost like I imagine Hollywood in the 30s. It’s exciting to watch it grow, and to be a part.”
Rich Reams has served as CEO for GA Prop Source, LLC since January 2014, providing props for film and TV productions in both Hollywood and Georgia’s booming entertainment industries. Reams has worked in the entertainment industry for over 50 years. He started his career working in movie theatres, owning his first at age 17. He spent 30 years as a Set Decorator in film and television, and now manages one of the largest prop houses in the industry on both coasts. Reams received his formal education from Woodbury University in the field of interior design and also attended Sherwood Oaks Experimental film school.