Back in 2016, Mark “Lucky” Duran was working for the Albuquerque Film Office and came across one of CNM’s storage facilities that housed old desks, chairs, and other unused items. An idea immediately came to mind. Movies and TV shows constantly need to rent office equipment that appears on set so he approached the college about renting these old items.
Fast forward to today, and Lucky’s idea has grown into a full-scale rental business called the CNM Ingenuity Props and Film Resources House. Lucky now runs the Prop House and it’s provided props and production space to dozens of mainstream shows and films including “Better Call Saul” and “12 Strong.” It’s also helped over 275 CNM film students gain real-world experience and brings in income for the college.
“Back when I saw that CNM had multiples of so many old items like chairs and desks I realized that this could be a great resource because multiples are in high demand for productions and usually hard to come by,” Lucky says.
Along with classroom furniture and office equipment, the prop house is home to hundreds of specialty props. They range from old west decor to the makings of a mad scientist’s lab.
In his role, Lucky manages all prop requests and coordinates production space for TV and movie crews.
“The nursing and science labs are always in high demand since productions can’t film in hospitals,” Lucky says. “We also rent out office space for productions quite often, so they have a ‘home base’ for meetings and equipment.”
Professional productions aren’t the only ones utilizing these resources. Students in the CNM Film Technician program can rent any of the props free of charge.
When students rent from the prop house, they go through the same process as professional productions.
“Students have to tag the props they want, fill out a form, and provide a certificate of insurance,” Lucky explains. “This helps prepare them for real world productions.”
CNM Ingenuity also provides workforce training courses on-demand for the film industry. Accounting professionals have taught introductory and intermediate accounting courses specialized for the film industry, and 10 cohorts of students have completed production assistant training.
And film industry demand for items at the Prop House has continually increased.
“We work with security, physical plant, and instructors at the college all the time,” Lucky says. “They always help us meet the needs of our clients.”
Since opening in 2017, the Props and Resources House has become crucial to the New Mexico film industry.
“We’re truly filling a void,” Lucky says. “We’re the first stop crews make when they’re filming here, and that’s a great feeling.”