Pulling The Wool Over Your Audience’s Eyes The Hidden Details In Prop Money For Movies


It’s never been easier to make a beautiful, emotionally gripping film on a budget.

The Internet has offered countless filmmakers opportunities to crowdfund their dream and see it finally come true. There are plenty of useful materials, equipment and resources to help fine tune a complicated process and take the mystery out of filmmaking. You can even go a step further and create something good enough to be shown at film festivals. When you need to craft items solely designed for film you’re more than aware of the need to balance quality and money. Hollywood movie money is a staple of countless indie films and big budget extravaganzas alike.

It’s time to embrace the art of the prop and why you need to brush up on prop money for movies.

Did You Know?

Film has been around for decades. Its evolution is a fascinating thread of history to unravel, particularly when it comes to the props that pull the wool over our eyes. Prop houses have produced almost 270 types and 2,000 sub-types of prop money for movies between 1970 and 2000. Films that require burning money for any reason must use prop money, because burning legitimate currency is considered a crime under 18 USC 333. When it comes to play money that looks real, you are more than covered on your way to crafting a film that feels right.

The State Of Filmmaking Today

As touched on above, the state of filmmaking today is an interesting one. Gone are the days of expensive budgets and industry connections requiring a film to be seen to completion. Now you can buy a decent camera, brush up on your Photoshop skills and gather up some props to create a sleeper hit that gets people talking. In fact, some of the most critically acclaimed films released these past few years were made on relatively small budgets! Hollywood film money is a staple any budding movie maker should be familiar with, even if you plan on creating a sci-fi adventure or supernatural thriller.

Digital Printing Tips

Whether you’re printing prop money for movies or greeting cards for the crew, you need to know your printing specs. It’ll mean the difference between a high quality product and a laughable result. Digital copies of prop money must have a resolution of 72 DPI or more. Short for ‘dots per inch’, this determines just how much color and detail can be crammed into one little area. Ever seen a blurry, low-quality image online that immediately has you searching for something better? It’s the same result, except this time you have your entire movie’s quality at stake.

Common Filmmaking Pitfalls

What else should you know before crafting prop money for movies? Pay close attention to American law so you don’t end up stepping on anybody’s toes. According to the Counterfeit Detection Act of 1992, reproduced bills must qualify under one of two qualities. Either they are less than 75% or more than 150% the size of a real bill (only if these bills are replicas of real tender). They also can be one-sided. The United States Code does permit the reproduction of black and white currency, as long as it meets the aforementioned prop money size requirements.

Crafting Prop Money For Movies

It’s time for a refresher. What have you learned? Creating prop money for movies isn’t as simple as just picking up Monopoly money and calling it a day. You need to put all the effort possible toward replicating the look and feel of a real dollar while still adhering to American law. This means using a high DPI count to create a crisp image and fool the eye into thinking it’s real. It also means keeping the bill a different size or having it be one-sided. Just like fine-tuning a script or upgrading your mic stand, these small efforts really add up in the end.

Prop money for TV shows or prop money for movies…either way, you’re putting in the effort needed to make your film stand out.

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