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John Waters and Film School Experiences

John Waters and Film School Experiences

Yes indeed Mr. John Waters was at USC film school over the weekend.  He was kind enough to plug my new novel, “From the Grave: The Prayer.”

Then again he spoke about me and my novel with LA Weekly.

“They talked to John about horror films and (director) William Castle, and they understand John from the point of horror films. It was the first article that I read where they understood the influence of these horror film directors on John’s work and were able to articulate those influences.

JW: Terry Castle just put out her father’s book, From the Grave: The Prayer, and you have to sign a life insurance policy when you sign the book. It is so great — it just came out.”

Well, I have undying affection for Mr. Waters, not just because he plugged my new novel or was responsible for bringing me back “From the Grave,”  but because he is a true gentleman!  He has grace and class and that twinkle in his eye.  I love that twinkle.

But it got me thinking about some of my visits to films schools.  And I had to laugh as I remembered one experience.  I would like to share it with you all today.

My film Strait Jacket was was being previewed  for a film school that shall remain nameless.  At the end of the film, I was there to answer questions from the young and enthusiastic film students.

One gentleman raised his hand, “Mr. Castle,” he began, “In the scene when Ms. Crawford exits the train, home from years in the insane asylum,  you used fog to envelope the bottom half of the shot.  Was this because you were hinting at Ms. Crawford’s ‘clouded’ sense of reality?”

I remember taking a big puff on my cigar. (You used to be able to spoke anywhere!) I let the smoke circulate the classroom.  I was then ready to answer.

“You are a bright young film student,” I began.  “You have a promising career ahead of you. And you are absolutely correct.  Indeed I used the fog to suggest the inner turmoil in Joan’s character’s soul.  I wanted to make sure the audience understood how tormented she was and how she questioned reality.  Fog seemed like a great way to suggest such inner demons.”

The young man was pleased with his question and even more pleased with my response. So was I!

I will tell you now why I was so pleased.  I hope you won’t think ill of me.  I used fog because I didn’t have enough money in the budget for an entire train shot. I had to hide the bottom half of the scene.

I liked the young film students reason more.

Like I always say, “Desperation breeds Inspiration.”  Now go out and produce your own film.

WC

1 Comment

  1. John Waters is great. I really enjoy his appearances on with another one of my favorites, Craig Ferguson.

    I was re-reading “Step Right Up” and read John’s wonderful words in the introduction!

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