If Stanley Kubrick’s art director for Eyes Wide Shut can make the English countryside look like a New Jersey highway with one well-placed roadsign, you can do worse than steal the trick. Signage is a great way to convince an audience of the authenticity of inauthentic locations.
(The sign is a sly homage to Chief Joseph, who was captured by U.S. cavalry 40 miles from Canada.)
Stealing road signs is all kinds of illegal, so you’re gonna have to build your own. First, you need to know what they look like. Peter Kaminski has assembled several resources already: http://peterkaminski.com/archives/000451.html (dead link?)
Next, you need materials. This can be easier than you think. Remember, the trick is to make it look like a real sign, not actually make a real sign. Joel used green spray paint and white tape.
Other signs don’t have to follow a set parttern. Here’s one Joel made for the Sheriff’s Office:
And most fun are props made from a character’s point of view. Here’s the sandwich board for Eric’s protest:
Photos courtesy Foxhall Films