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So you wanna make an indie film....

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Prop Fabrication
by Joe Lemieux

If you want to fabricate props on a limited budget, you should take inspiration from a "Drive-In Horrorshow" character called the Dumpster Diver: you must get dirty.


The Dumpster Diver is ready.

First, the filmmakers tell me what kind of prop they need, and I draw several rough sketches, throwing in some ideas of my own.


Rough Sketch of Dirt Monster.

When the filmmakers agree upon a design, I figure out how to build the prop with as low a cost as possible.


Dirt Monster in the flesh.


The poster for the Dirt Monster.

So how do I find or make low cost props? A lot of ways - you need to be creative:
Recycle. Save stuff that looks interesting - you never know what you will need.
Trash. It sounds gross but people throw out great things: TVs, electronics, furniture, etc. As long as it is sanitary, grab it from the curb.
Junk yards. Lots of cheap goodies.
Thirft shops. Almost every town has a second-hand store. These places can be gold mines.
Yard sales. Selection can be very random but everything is usually very cheap.
Craigslist. Lots of people give things away for free, or almost free.
Harware and Art Supply stores. These places have a huge selection, and you can find almost anything you want. The downside is the price - you can quickly eat up a budget.

I collect all sorts of items - anything that I think I might need for some future prop. My landlord isn't too happy with collection of stuff in his cellar (it looks like inside of Jawa Sandcrawler) but the variety of items has come in very handy.

So heat up your glue gun, clean off your paint brushes, and get working.


Hard at work making props.

Remember, props have to look good on screen - not in real life. I created an ancient book for "Veil of Blood" that illustrates this premise (I directed "Veil of Blood", and DIHS director Michael Neel edited it). I started with a thick book, modified the cover with glue and paint., and dyed the edges of the pages to make them look old. On the inside, we only needed to see a few pages, so a handful of fake pages were made.

There was no need to make hundreds, since they would never be in the film. In real life, the book looks somewhat fake, but on camera it looks real. Movie magic at work.




An ancient book from "Veil of Blood".

I also created a magic amulet for "Veil of Blood". I used styrofoam, paint, and sculpting tools to create something that looked heavy and ancient. Again, in real life it doesn't look quite right (it is too light, for one thing), but on camera it works.


The magic amulet from "Veil of Blood".

I usaully keep an open mind when creating these props, and have a lot fun with it too. With some creativity and free thinking, so can you.

Joe Lemieux
Joe directed, co-wrote, and created props and special fx for "Veil of Blood", an independent splatter comedy. In addition to his prop work on "Drive-In Horrorshow", he appears in the film as Zombie Frank, Tall Pale Man, Space Bandit, and others.

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What they are saying about the Drive-In Horrorshow....

"10 out of 10"
- From Infernal Dreams

"Drive-In Horrorshow delivers a visual feast of blood splatter and clever storytelling."
- From Fangoria

"Drive-In Horrorshow takes the anthology and juices it fully with five unique stories that range from clever comedy to dark body horror."
- From Deadly Doll's House of Horror Nonsense

"A well made anthology of short films."
- Zombie Movie Database

"Highly recommended for those who want to confront the monsters under the bed of their childhood. And as always find them scary."
- From I 400 Calci (translated from Italian)

"The general tone of this film struck me, because I've seen real passion for the genre."
- From Ulteriorit Precedente (translated from Italian)

"This is a high recommend from me, very entertaining and obviously done by filmmakers who love the genre. Long live the horror anthology!"
- From McBastard's Mausoleum

"Drive in Horror Show is–WITHOUT A DOUBT–the greatest horror anthology since George Romero's Creepshow"
- From Planet Fury

"I can't stop singing its praises."
- From Rogue Cinema

"If you like horror anthologies pick this one up, there's something for everyone here."
- From Deadly Indie Drive-In

"Every now and then a movie will come out that knocks you socks off and with its originality, creativity and magnetic appeal- well Drive in HorrorShow is that flick."
- From Angry Princess

"With a solid lineup of 5 stories that range from the serious to seriously goofy, Drive-In Horrorshow is the perfect film for a Friday night. Or any night for that matter."
- From Planet of Terror

"A tasty little anthology in the vein of Creepshow or Trick 'r Treat, Drive-In Horrorshow is a nifty treat of a film, well worth checking out." 
- From Radiation-Scarred Reviews

"A cut above the rest and slice of incredible independent filmmaking." 
- From Horrornews.net

"One of the most entertaining horror anthologies I have seen in a while."
- From KillingBoxx

"The horror world is a fickle beast but Drive-In Horror Show manages to walk the lines of the subgenres without missing a beat. It's appeal reaches to horror fans of all types."
-Bill Fulkerson from Outside The Cinema

"Celebrates the long-lost beauty of the drive-in theater and all its bloody glory."
- From Basement Screams

"A slick five tale anthology film that was independently made and a reminder of cool shit we used to see on late night TV when we were kids."
- From Gross Movie Reviews

"A good throw back to the late night creature feature."
- From Cinema Fromage

"Top notch effects that invoke fear and comedy at the same time.  I really really like this movie."
- Podcast at Movie Fan House

"Fantastic." 
-Podcast at Horrorstuff

Other Press:

"The horror! But that's what he seeks."
- The Boston Globe talks with the filmmakers

"What motivated you and Michael Neel to make the transition from candid interviews and political documentaries to ghoulish gore horror?"
- Pamela Torres at Punk Globe interviews DIHS producer Greg Ansin

"Wowzers! That really sounds like some good shit!"
- Arrow In The Head is psyched for the release of DIHS

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