Books on Film

Austin filmmakers and the books they love

Books on Film

Clay Liford

Filmmaking book: Probably the most influential book I've ever read regarding the filmmaking process, in terms of the sheer joy of creation it imparts, must be John Waters' Shock Value. It's basically a history of the making of Pink Flamingos, but also serves as a guide to all the things Waters was obsessed with at the time. It's also a great primer on how to lead a good and virtuous life. And yes, he does talk, in great detail, about Divine eating dog poop (and the aftermath).

Influential book: I'd love to shine a light on two not super well-known coming-of-age books that I always go back to whenever I want to experience really honest teen dialogue and situations. Especially since most of my films to date have had a major high school component. The first is Joe Meno's amazing love letter to high school wannabe punks, Hairstyles of the Damned. The other is a comic book called Unlovable, by ex-Texan Esther Pearl Watson, and it's apparently based on some girl's actual high school diary that Watson found in a gas station bathroom and decided to illustrate.

Dream adaptation: So, my favorite science fiction book is Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination. It's basically a loose adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo ... IN SPACE! This is sorta like Interview With the Vampire (except it's actually good) in that they've been trying to make this into a movie for like a hundred years. I'm using this platform to officially toss my hat in the ring. I think Ridley Scott still owns the rights, but whatever. I'll just be sitting here, waiting by my phone. Any minute now ....


Clay Liford's most recent film is Slash, which had its world premiere at this year's SXSW Film Festival.

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