Midnight movies to Kickstarter: John Waters & selling films


Trailer for Pink Flamingos (1972)

These are notes for further reading based on my Kingston University film class today about John Waters’ career and its lessons for independent filmmaking.

John Waters

Trailer for Pink Flamingos – (Embedded video above. Based on hype around midnight matinees with no actual footage of film)

BBC News feature  on John Waters’ battles with taste and Hollywood censorship (Nov 2013)

Free Thinking Interview  (Radio 3) - covering his inspiration & start in Baltimore, funding for Pink Flamingos, the inspiration of Boom! and Hollywood misfires (Cry Baby)

Dodging the Censors & the Draft – Blog post about the R3 programme

(clip from Mondo Trasho (1969): 2 minute catalogue of insults)

Robert Maier’s website -  worked with Waters on many of his early films has some fascinating insights into the world of the Dreamlanders. Special pick:

The censored race riot scene in Hairspray

Johnny Depp on escaping teen Hollywood on Crybaby with Waters (LA Times 1990)

Books: Shock Value – A Tasteful book about Bad Taste (1981 reprinted 2005) – Excellent on the making, funding and marketing of the early films.

Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters (1983, 2003) – Chapter 9. Original Baltimore magazine article researching into what happened to the Buddy Deane Show dancers (the basis of the 1988 film Hairspray)

Role Models (2010) – Waters’ list of inspiration figures has a particularly good chapter on Outsider Porn & amateur porn filmmaker Bobby Garcia. Interesting to see who actually made money out of his work.

Pink Flamingos and Other Filth (1988, 2005) – screenplays for Pink Flamingos, Desperate Living and the unmade sequel Flamingos Forever. Waters’ trademark combination of high brow but also observational prose with a trash aethestic.

Making money from independent film/video:

Smosh wiki listing -  Concise history of the website from 2005 beginning to the most subscribed You Tube Channel in 2013.

Smosh – How it came secure ¢30 million dollar investment this year

Kickstarter and independent film – note one of the projects is Manson Family-themed.

Blair Witch Project and Napoleon Dynamite – why are these 2 of the most profitable films ever made? – post from Movienomics (2013) covers merchandising as well as distribution

Legend of the Witch lives on - (2009) Good BBC News Online post on making of and influence of Blair Witch Project

Making money out of YouTube (2011 Fast Company feature on how indy video makers are expanding their horizons. Interesting to see how far that’s already changing)

About Samira Ahmed

Journalist. Writer. Broadcaster.
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