The Power of Props

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It’s amazing how these items can enhance the cinematic experience!

An overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of filmmaking is the power of props. And no, I don’t mean the big, obvious, in-your-face props. I mean the small and subtle ones in a scene that everyone doesn’t always notice - the minute and mundane objects that require careful attention detail and serve as forms of symbolism, foreshadowing, recurring motifs, and even representations of a character’s emotions (this always makes for expressive cool visuals). In turn, these types of objects possess so much meaning that they often become iconic. Think of the classics: the floating plastic bag in American Beauty, the wallet in Pulp Fiction, the feather in Forrest Gump, and the countless pieces in various Hitchcock films (feel free to name your favorites in the comments section below).

Utilizing simple, every-day props like this in your own film probably won’t break your budget either, unless you’re using a Titanic diamond or something (probably not the best idea). And it’s amazing how these items can enhance the cinematic experience, enrich the narrative’s layers, add depth to the characters, and give the viewer something to think about long after the credits roll. Plus, I find that most audiences really enjoy seeking these sort of things out in movies (I know I do), and it gives you another reason to watch the film multiple times, possibly picking up something new each go-around.

This video from Noah Yan’s YouTube channel greatly conveys the sentimental importance of props in film. Check it out and get your Hitchcock on.