The Austin Chronicle

Books on Film

Austin filmmakers and the books they love

June 17, 2016, Screens

Owen Egerton

Filmmaking book: There are many, but by far my favorite book on filmmaking was written by fellow Austinite writer/director/stuntman Gary Kent. His memoir Shadows & Light: Journey With Outlaws in Revolutionary Hollywood follows his career as a stuntman and actor, making Hollywood's more risky and stranger films. The book chronicles the change of guard, as independent filmmakers in the Sixties and Seventies redefined Hollywood and gave us a golden age of American film. He also has some brilliant adventures and misadventures including a brush with the Manson family, run-ins with Hells Angels, and late nights hanging out with Chet Baker.

Influential book: As a filmmaker and novelist, I'm always returning to Hitchcock/Truffaut. Director François Truffaut's book-length interview with the master of suspense is an amazing examination of all of Hitchcock's films and a fantastic discussion of techniques of narrative structure. A wonderful book both for fans of Hitchcock, but also anyone interested in what makes a story tick, tick, boom!

Favorite adaptation: I love Stanley Kubrick and co-writer Diane Johnson's film adaptation of The Shining. It is radically different from Stephen King's excellent novel, which is why I consider it a great adaptation. The novel relies on idea and story. The film is all image and tone. A great novel must be reinvented to become a great film. Simply filming the book almost always fails. Instead the book must be digested and transformed. The Shining the film and The Shining the novel are two different beasts, as they should be. But both are terrifying and fill me with a most delightful dread.

Owen Egerton is an established author, comedic performer, and now makes his feature film debut with Follow, which premiered at last year's Fantastic Fest.

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