The day filmmaker Pat Higgins first saw his own movie on the shelf at Blockbuster was one of the best days of his life.
He calls himself a walking cliche (countless directors, including Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith, have served their time behind the counters of video rentals), but there’s wayyyyy more to Pat’s story than ticking the same boxes as other successful indie filmmakers.
I meet lots of filmmakers and a common thread among them is their experimentation with video cameras from a young age. Pat’s no different – borrowing his parents’ Super 8mm cine camera and pestering them to give him his own 3min reel. If you did the same (I did) you’ll know that stuff was expensive (and there was more cost in the developing).
The idea of a career in filmmaking captured him after he saw the reissue of ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ (with Kirk Douglas). Through school his interest remained high, until he spent a small inheritance on a new camera…when others might have bought a car! This enabled him to spend more of his time experimenting with filmmaking. And then, of course, he went on to study Media studies at university.
With the support of his wife Pippa (she went on to become his regular producer), he began production of ‘Trash House’, a process he says took him to the very edge of budget indie digital production at that stage: buying a DV camcorder and pimping a home computer that was powerful enough to edit…just. And with daily crashes.
As the years progressed and the cost of digital filmmaking fell sharply, so Pat and Pippa have made their money go further. Learn from this experience by attending Pat’s upcoming seminar: ‘Werewolves, Cheerleaders and Chainsaws: Filming Horror with No Bloody Money’.
He’s scheduled to present this talk at the 2013 Horror-on-Sea Film Festival, in Southend (18-20th January, 2013).
Pat’s a lecturer in screenwriting at local colleges as well as a filmmaker. That’s it. He doesn’t make corporate video to fund a hobby in filmmaking. Plenty of filmmakers out there will be keen to hear how he does it.
Check out the DVD covers below for his released films. ‘Trash House’, ‘Killer Killer’, ‘Hell Bride’ and ‘The Devil’s Music’ are Pat’s solo productions. ‘Strippers Vs Werewolves’ he wrote, and ‘Bordello Death Tales’ and ‘Nazi Zombie Death Tales’ are short collections featuring films by regular collaborators Jim Eaves and Al Ronald.
One clear subject in which Pat differs from other filmmakers is in his positive attitude to distributors. Don’t get me wrong, he’s had bad experiences and is still losing out because of bad deals over early movies, but he tends to focus on the positive. And that’s refreshing.
This all fits in with Pat’s ‘Be nice to people’ attitude, and that shows through his whole interview, whether it’s collaborating on production or acting, or with local businesses and so on.