Whether you are directing a play, a film, or a music video, you know how important props are. In today’s culture people are used to high definition special effects and film props that look like the real thing; even if that real thing is a giant alien spaceship, that may or may not actually be real… I’ll have to ask the aliens when I see them next. Anyway, props are important, and if there is one thing that catches people’s eyes it is stacks of money. Big fake stacks of money. (Because let’s face it, we’re not using our whole budget as a prop.) Money is eye catching, and whoever hold the stack must be an important figure.
How to Make Prop Money
If your making a film, or directing a play and you need fake money stacks here are some tips on how to make some real (fake) moolah for yourself!
- First thing to note: It is ILLEGAL to make COLOR copies of U.S. dollar bills! However, you can photocopy real currency in black and white! Change the sizing to make sure the final product is either 150% larger or 75% smaller, as federal regulations also stipulate this! Decide if you want a smaller or large look and then print how many you will need. Depending on if the backsides will be seen, you can choose to copy that as well, but for most fake money stacks it won’t be necessary.
- Cut the bills out and adhesive the sides together if you are doing backsides as well. After that band the money together to prevent it from scattering and you’re good to go!
- Additionally, you could scan the bills into your computer in black and white, then use a coloring application to add a green hue to the overall bill. This wouldn’t count as scanning in color, and adding only a slight hue will help give the allure of real bills, without having them actually be real.
Props are important, and depending on the scale of your production you may want to consider purchasing fake money from retailers. (Spend real money… on fake money! That’s never a sentence I thought to write out before) However, depending on the scale, how much you need, and how up close it’s going to be in frame, you may consider at least getting a few detailed bills from a reputable prop store.
For theatre productions, the audience should be far enough from the action that the above mentioned ‘homemade’ money should be more than sufficient. If you are filming, however, and you want a good shot of the money, placing a few good quality ‘purchased’ bills atop the homemade ones can also give the illusion of more money over all.
In the end how you make your fake money stacks depends on what kind of production you are directing or designing for. Try out a home-style method to see if it could work for you, but keep in mind supplementing the mass of bills with some high quality fakes. Good props can make or break a production, depending on the level of realism you’re going for, consider your options, and try not to… break the bank.