Everyone knows that props can make a film spectacular. What would Star Wars be without the lightsaber? What would Lord of the Rings be without the ring? What would Harry Potter be without his wand? Film props can advance a storyline or be the center of a plot. Looking for and choosing the best movie props on set is one of the most important parts of making a movie.
One prop that cannot be overlooked is prop money or “Hollywood film money.” Prop money is solely designed for film and made to look like real money. It has no real value. In fact, Hollywood film money cannot be used to make any type of purchase. Use of prop money outside a film set may be punishable by fines of up to $250,000 and up to 20 years in state prison.
It may seem silly to buy fake money that looks real instead of just using real money for your set. However, there are laws that prohibit certain uses of both real and fake money. For example, if at some point during your film one of your characters has to burn money, you must use prop money. It is a crime to burn or mutilate legitimate currency for any reason. There are also certain laws that define the size and design limits of what the prop money needs to look like.
If you have any questions about whether or not what you are doing with money in your movie or show is in violation of any laws, it is safe to just go with prop money. Make sure you are going to a reputable prop house that has knowledge about the laws of money prop designs. Prop houses are the only place you should be going for Hollywood film money because they have produced almost 270 types and 2,000 sub-types of movie money between 1970 and 2000. Do not trust anyone else to provide you with the prop money and make sure you dispose of the money in the correct way once you are finished filming.
Money might not be the most important part of your film. Maybe your main character pays for his love interest’s food with it or maybe it’s involved in one of the most iconic scenes in your film. Whatever purpose it has in your film, make sure to have the best fake money you can find.