Posted: July 13, 2018
Can you imagine being responsible for anything that an actor touches in a TV show like Mr. Mercedes? Everything from guns, food, watches, cell phones, animals, pictures and cars? For Rob Kyker that is just another day at work as he’s the prop master on the show. I got the chance to talk to him a bit about his work on Mr. Mercedes second season that premiers on August 22nd. Here is what he had to say.
Lilja: You work with props. Can you tell me a bit about what that means?
Rob Kyker: Anything that an actor touches can be considered a "Prop". guns, food, watches, cell phones, as well as animals, pictures, cars and anything else I might be asked to provide.
Lilja: Can you tell me more specific what your role is in filming Mr. Mercedes?
Rob Kyker: On Mr. Mercedes, I was involved in all of the above mention items, in addition to those, I spent lots of hours locating the old vinyl albums that were scripted for Hodges's record collection. I am also responsible for submitting clearance requests for getting permission to show those albums artwork shown on camera. I also spent lots of money on ice cream during season one! :-) oh yeah, any food or drinks that an actor might eat or drink are also my responsibility.
Lilja: I guess your work starts prior to the filming itself. How much in advance did you start working on season 2 of Mr. Mercedes?
Rob Kyker: I started prepping for season 2 in mid-December 2017. We went to camera the beginning of February.
Lilja: I guess you must have a lot of imagination on how things should look since not everything can be described in the script.
Rob Kyker: I do get to propose many options for each prop that is in the script. I also will suggest lots of ideas that are not scripted. Working with Jack Bender for as long as I have allows me to get pretty creative. He usually likes my ideas.
Lilja: Did you read the book as well as the script?
Rob Kyker: I read, Mr. Mercedes. I did not read the 2nd and 3rd book because I knew that we were going to venture off from them.
Lilja: What was your biggest challenge with Mr. Mercedes?
Rob Kyker: Jack likes to come up with new ideas that weren't in the script, and he was almost always directing. So, getting time with him to discuss what he had in mind for upcoming scenes was my biggest challenge on this project.
Lilja: What happens to all the props when the show is over? Do you store it all for upcoming projects or do you sell it/throw it away?
Rob Kyker: Iconic props are stored, expensive props are deemed as, "assets" and get returned to the studio. we like to donate all the other stuff to charity or local theater, so that nothing goes to waste.
Lilja: I guess you must know a little about most stuff since you are dealing with a lot of different settings and situations while setting up a set?
Rob Kyker: I learned a lot about what a Coma patient lives with, and I now know my way around a brain surgery.
Lilja: Are you always on the lookout for stuff that you can use in a movie or a TV show? Like when you’re out doing some private shopping.
Rob Kyker: Not really. I will say to my wife or kids while out shopping, "that would make a cool prop" occasionally.
Lilja: Do you scan sites like IMDB.com for mistakes fans have discovered on projects that you've been involved with?
Rob Kyker: I really don't. I was much more aware of that while working on ”Lost" those fans were fanatical! I will tell you that what most viewers don't understand about continuity is this, we might do 20 takes of a master, then do 10 more takes on each piece of coverage. The actors will never do the same thing exactly the same, and the editors will pick and choose the best performances or takes over continuity every time. So, most times that you see a "Mistake" it wasn't BC we weren't paying attention, there are just some factors that are out of our control.
Lilja: Are you a fan of Stephen King?
Rob Kyker: I am a Huge fan of the guy!! He is just way cooler than you can imagine! I have not read many of his books, BC I do not like to be scared or startled.
Lilja: Have you been involved with other Stephen King productions?
Rob Kyker: This is my first time working with Stephen King.
Lilja: Is there another Stephen King book that you'd like to get involved with?
Rob Kyker: Stay tuned!!!! I think we have something in the works! :-)