Prop business pauses during pandemic

When film and television production shut down here in Georgia due to the coronavirus pandemic, it had a major impact on the many businesses that support that industry.  That includes a unique prop house that moved across the country to set up shop in the Hollywood of the South.

From big, bubbling beakers to small evidence samples, Metro Atlanta’s Technical Props Inc. is the place where science meets fiction.  

Don Kaeding created the eye-popping prop house more than 25 years ago, after spending a few years playing football for the U.S. Air Force and then taking a job as a set dresser on the hit show “Dallas.”

“Back then, there were two different crews — TV and movie, motion picture,” says Kaeding. “And the motion picture guys had a lot better sets, more time, cooler, bigger things, and more money!”

Eventually, Kaeding did work on movies — big ones like Jurassic Park and Batman.  In the mid-1990s, he created Technical Props Inc., renting out the scientific and laboratory props needed to make those big-budget blockbusters. “They had great salvage yards back in L.A. back in the day,” he says. Places you could get things, cool things, shapes.  Certain directors like shapes, like Michael Bay.”

But as the blockbuster industry left Hollywood for the Hollywood of the South, Kaeding and his wife realized Georgia needed to be on their minds, too.

“We went to one of the decorators’ meetings here in Atlanta, and we found out half of California was already over here,” says Geraldine Kaeding.

So the couple packed up their entire business and moved to Atlanta, taking over a 26,000-square-foot warehouse in East Point. But just days before officially opening, cameras around the world stopped rolling.

“A couple of days before COVID hit, we got the shut down,” says Geraldine.

No productions meant no need for props, leaving the Kaedings in a kind of waiting game; they’ve spent the past few months getting the warehouse ready for the day the film industry starts back up.  

The Kaedings say right now, they’re ready to welcome in film professionals, stocking up their prop house with sanitizer, gloves, and masks.

For more information on Technical Props Inc., click over to the company’s Facebook page here.  And click the video player for a peek inside this unique piece of Georgia’s film industry.