A Bronco in the Film Industry

The story of Cal Poly Pomona alumni’s journey


A film on a theatre screen, a show on your home television, or a play on stage, they all entertain and suspend your disbelief to make the unreal seem real if just for a few hours. For over three years Alfonso Ramirez has helped bring entertainment to life through props and set designs as an assistant and head prop master on films, commercials, and tv shows.

The job not only entails a knowledge and ability to network or communicate with some of the largest prop houses owned by Warner Bros., Universal Studios, and Sony Pictures, but also creating new props and sets. It’s all an essential part of bringing a director’s vision off the page and into a visual medium.

Ramirez always seemed to have aspirations for the bright lights of show business, “This whole being in the tv, film, and theatre business has always been in the back of my head.” After graduating from a Cal Poly school with a degree in theatre he found the business as highly competitive as one would imagine.

After waiting tables for eight years he decided that being in the film industry was truly what he wanted to do. He had to leave the steady paying job behind. “I have to quit, I have to cut all my safety nets and jump straight headfirst into it,” Ramirez said on his thought process of committing.

The beginning of Ramirez’s work was in theatre. The usual natural progression is eventually working with a theatre director that also directs film. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen for him so he did production assistant work to get a foot in the door. Being a PA is not a glamorous or creative job. It mostly consists of making sure things on a film set are running smoothly. Through making his interests known a production designer asked him to do prop work on a short film. From there he got to work on Hallmark movies and eventually bigger products as a freelancer.

Prop design isn’t always as flashy as it may seem. It’s those little details that the audience isn’t looking for that can truly create a scene. “If you’re watching a movie and a prop doesn’t immediately grab your attention, that means we’re actually doing our job,” Ramirez said. “The prop is there to help or accentuate the performance.”

Alfonso Ramirez has stayed diligent and has many interesting projects under his belt and on the way, even branching out to directing some short films and plays of his own. As for advice Ramirez would give on starting out in show business he said, “A lot of people think of the glamour of Hollywood, I think the glamour comes in being proud of what you do.”