fake diplomas used as hollywood props in movies and tv shows

Props can help sell a scene and give a movie credibility!

In movies and TV shows, it’s so often the “little things” like film props that really make a scene. Think about Dorthy's ruby slippers, the beloved volleyball named 'Wilson' in 'Cast Away' or fake money and cigarettes from a gangster piece. Sometimes props feel like an intriguing part of the story, and sometimes they are nothing more than art hanging on a wall in the background. Yet that "art" can sometimes tell a bigger picture.

Let's say your watching a movie. All of a sudden, here comes an important scene: In a dimly-lit room, a mature man is seen silently and reverently hanging a diploma on the wall. He's taking the time to make sure it's hung perfectly even. He stands back for a moment, admiring the document without saying a word.

Immediately, as an audience we recognizes how much this man obviously admires this diploma but why? Is the diploma his own? Has he finally completed a degree that he couldn’t get earlier in life, perhaps due to illness, poverty, or personal problems? … Or does the diploma belong to his daughter and he's a proud dad?

The proud dad concept is what the director was going for in the 2005 comedy movie Herbie Fully Loaded. The dad played by Michael Keaton, was proud of his daughter, who, in the previous scene, had just graduated from college. Like most real diplomas, obtaining one is a major accomplishment, and the actor Keaton playing a proud father, did a great job of playing the proud father of a graduate in his performance.

Why the diploma prop helped sell that scene and many others?

If the diploma on the wall looked too fake, would the audience watching it, believe the moment was real? This is when directors debating diploma props have to decide between using cheap pieces of paper and placing them in a frame or hiring a professional print shop to create studding diploma props that are highly detailed and easily passable as legitimate.

Diploma Props Play a Crucial Role

Sure, sometimes such props like these are nothing more than background pieces. Consider the 1999 Comedy hit "Office Space" where the soft spoken Milton, is trying to prevent his coworkers from taking his favorite red stapler.

diploma used a background set piece on the movie office space 1999

The camera doesn't focus on the diplomas on his office wall behind him and they certainty aren't a principal part of the story. Yet, we are supposed to believe we're inside an actual office where Milton works. Since an actual office would likely have diplomas on the wall, these well-positioned diploma props bring a sense of authenticity to the moment.

Milton's office is a just one example of where a diploma prop doesn't have to be a perfect replication of real diplomas. As long as the props achieve many of the characteristics found on actual diplomas like a school name and degree and dates for graduation, they can be seen as authentic enough. Even if even from a distance, the audience is going to find the props in this case do enough to help sell the scene.

Other times, props like diplomas are more than just on-set decoration. They’re a vital, integral way of capturing the audience’s imagination and building a sense of place and time…

A leading supplier of diploma props for movies and tv shows shows

If you’re like most casual viewers (and not a director or set designer yourself), you probably haven’t stopped to think about the above. Not due to a lack of curiosity or insight, but due to the fact that the prop was doing its job: You felt so immersed in the story that it felt “real” to you. It's why props that look too fake can kill a scene. Imagine a bank heist scene with Monopoly money or a diploma that looked unbelievable phony? It makes selling the reality of the moment more difficult.

You weren’t thinking about how the scene was constructed, because you were looking into another world that felt completely believable to you—This is the magic of Hollywood. Now that you’re intrigued, however, we’ll save you some Googling and fill you in on the answer: No, actors and directors don’t bring their own diplomas on set with them. And no, Hollywood doesn’t have a seedy diploma black market. Instead, set designers purchase the best fake college diplomas (customized with the school names of their choice) from sites like this one.

If you take a look around BuyaFakeDiploma.com today and compare samples of our work in galleries, you’ll notice that it’s almost impossible to distinguish our “fake” diplomas from real ones. (And yes, in case you’re wondering, this industry is completely legal because the changes we do make allow us to abide by regulations.)

Most customers purchase items from a site like ours because they lost a diploma, need to replace a diploma or simply want to pull a joke on a fiend. In the case of schools purchasing diploma services, those documents are for graduating students. Another big market for us though is the prop market, and yes, we have done custom documents for films and shows.

Never See Diplomas in Movies The Same Again

Next time you watch a movie or a TV show, why not watch it a second time over and see how many diploma props you can spot? Think about how they affect the scenes they’re featured in: How a man sitting in a psychiatrist's office would just look like a man in an anonymous room talking to another man about his childhood without the diplomas (kind of weird, right?)… Or how a woman sitting in an empty white room tells us nothing, but if she’s sitting in a white room with medical diplomas, it’s clear that she’s in a doctor’s office. If you ever plan to tackle any creative projects yourself—whether it’s film making, writing, or even designing infographics for a business—understanding how these seemingly small details can be used to convey meaning is essential.