I'm Pat Higgins. I've spent the last decade writing and directing low-budget horror movies for the international market, and you can check out a full video of my latest live show "Werewolves, Cheerleaders & Chainsaws" over at http://www.jinx.co.uk . It's full of advice about filmmaking, but it's also a bit NSFW because, hey, micro-budget horror. Gore, nudity and somewhat military language pretty much go with the territory.
In this photo, I'm holding up a copy of Chris Jones' brilliant book The Guerilla Film Makers Movie Blueprint. This is not my original copy. There are a few ways that you can tell.
First of all, the one I'm holding is the reprint. It hasn't got that fizzing bomb on the cover, like my original copy had.
Second of all, the one I'm holding has been laminated. It therefore isn't covered in *stuff*.
Stuff like fake blood. My original copy is pretty much soaked in fake blood. Soaked from lying around on the set of the movie TrashHouse in 2004, where the production manager Nick Dunkley referred to it as the 'blue bible' and used it to solve more or less every problem that came up. He also used it to mop up the occasional spill. Mostly blood, sometimes ectoplasm.
Stuff like gravy. The Guerilla Filmmaker's Movie Blueprint was the first book I ever read that acknowledged the importance of food on a movie set. The first book that really seemed to understand that any crew is comprised of individuals, and that each of those individuals must be properly fed or the whole goddamn thing falls apart. I suspect that there are hundreds of potentially fantastic indie movies that withered and died on the vine because their fledgling producers never fully understood that a crew without full tummies will mutiny. This book has a proper catering blueprint, and made me pay attention to something I'd probably otherwise have overlooked.
Stuff like coffee. Those endless nights trying to sort out the legal ramifications of running a limited company, we had the blue bible for company. Company that we spilled our coffee over, granted, but company nonetheless.
Stuff like wallpaper paste. We built sets on those early movies. We used the 'anatomy of a set build' from the book as a sanity check. The book never left the set, but was very rarely wiped down either.
Stuff like water. My original copy was lying on the floor of the bathroom when we shot the opening murder for my movie KillerKiller in 2006. The prolonged exposure to water meant that all the gravy and blood and coffee and wallpaper paste that was smeared all over the paper all blended together. The book itself kind of expanded; it swelled up and began to smell kind of funky.
So, no, the book I'm holding is not my original copy of The Guerilla Film Makers Movie Blueprint. My original copy saved me thousands of pounds, endless heartache and enabled me to maintain a career in low-budget horror films for over a decade. This one is just a laminated copy from a local college, bearing none of the battle scars of half-a-dozen splatter shoots.
But if I was absolutely forced to choose, I know which copy I'd be happier to lick.