'Film Crew Files': Sara Riney

Sara Riney is set decor buyer for the film industry. (Photo credit: RobinHenson.com)

Sara Riney works in the film industry as a set decoration buyer, meaning she acquires lighting, rugs, electronics, and furniture to the specifications of a crew’s set decorator. That can include period furniture and vintage materials. If the set’s outside, it can mean dumpsters, car parts, electric power poles, or anything needed to set a realistic exterior scene. 

“It’s kind of a wild goose chase every single day, but that’s the fun part of it,” she said.

Wrangling a hectic schedule, no day is ever the same for Riney, and she’s a master of flexibility around the many twists and turns of filmmaking. However, Riney loves the job because of the fascinating characters she encounters.

“For example, there may be a very special tool that is only available from some certain guy that happens to hoard that tool. And then you get to meet him and look in his warehouse, and see all kinds of interesting things that he has in there,” said Riney.

However, sometimes the set needs something a little stranger: “If a director decides that they want a baby grand piano that’s painted with tiger stripes, well, that’s not something you’re going to find, and that’s something we have to get made.”

Riney is an Atlanta resident living in Grant Park. As an Atlanta film industry worker for the last eleven years, it’s no surprise she’s worked on the set of one of Atlanta’s best-known episodic productions, “The Walking Dead.” She considers it one of her favorite set projects she’s helped create. Another highlight for Riney was the sequel to “Coming to America,” starring Eddie Murphy. 

According to Riney, Atlanta’s community of creatives is one of the film industry’s best resources here. “There’s been a creative squad here for quite a while that has done all kinds of theater, haunted houses, pop-up events – all kinds of campy, fun, wacky, comedic, interesting people,” she said.

“I’d like to think that a lot of my friends who were doing those things for years ended up in the film industry so that they could have health insurance and a full-time job, and I think that that has been a huge boon here.”