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Low Budget Hell Making Underground Movies with John Waters Paperback – August 19, 2011


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Paperback, August 19, 2011
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Full Page Publishing (August 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983770808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983770800
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Maier is a writer/producer/production manager who worked for fifteen years with John Waters on Female Trouble, Desperate Living, Polyester, Hairspray, and Crybaby, as well as a dozen other low-budget movie-makers in New York and Baltimore.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
Really interesting read even if you haven't seen the movies.
filmfan
Maier manages to impart the reader with a plethora of knowledge about the mechanics of movie-making without interrupting the narrative of his personal experience.
Joshua P. OConner
I received my book this morning, and read it all in one day.
Happycustomer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Having dabbled in the filmmaking community with some short amateur films (both behind the scenes and in front), the process of movie making has always been of interest to me. With advances in technology and easier access to equipment, it has become much more conventional to see people putting together their own projects. But I'm awed by the commitment, energy, expense, and sheer scrappiness that fledging artists needed to make independent films in days gone by. Perhaps one of the more unlikely success stories was that of John Waters. In Baltimore, with a renegade band of misfits including the divine Divine, Waters started out as a gross-out counterculture visionary but transformed himself into a mainstream success. But it wasn't an easy road. One of the people in the trenches with Waters and crew was Robert Maier, and this is his story as only he can tell it. It features many celebrities and known personalities in key roles, but this is about the journey that Maier chose to undertake.

The book starts with an introduction to John Waters and charts the tumultuous days of shooting the films "Female Trouble," "Desperate Living," and "Polyester." With each film, the budget got bigger and Maier's role expanded. There are a lot of harrowing and hysterical details about doing what needed to be done, at any cost of humiliation! Sometimes gross, sometimes excruciatingly unpleasant, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny--this is a real insider's peek behind the magic of movie making. The book also details the periods between these films as Maier engaged in studio politics, hung out with Andy Warhol's crowd, and took part in non-Waters films that shared some of the same production issues, if not more.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By cliffnotes on August 29, 2011
I just re-read this book and it was even better the second time around.

An incredible retrospective and entertaining look at the behind the scenes trials and tribulations behind the seminal work of John Waters from the film maker responsible for much of the camera work in many Waters Cult Classics as well as his own path breaking film: Love Letter to Edie [VHS] (1975). Also contained in this thoroughly enjoyable work is the authors amazing insight into the world of pop art integration in film making as well as just plain funny experiences making the transition from student film making to professional production. Highly recommended and a damn good read, especially for those interested in film making and broadcasting as a career choice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alan K. Sumrall on May 26, 2012
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Low Budget Hell succinctly tells the personal experiences of the author in the low budget film industy in the 70's and 80's. Mainly but not totally, under John Waters, he recalls events and how they affected him and the many people who sacrificed and worked their heart out trying to create films under crushing pressures and often incredibly unreasonable demands of often clearly sociopathic people intent on only their own visions and needs. Maier writes in a very smooth, pleasing style, like he is talking to a friend over a cup of coffee. He also creates the imagery that puts you comfortably there by his shoulder as he works in interesting situations with some people that are as good as gold, others that are flawed and damaged and yet fighting to stay relevant, and others that are near demonic in their nature. As in life, some of the situations are humorous and you often find yourself chuckling when you feel you shouldn't be, after all it is reality. What is described in low budget hell was intense, deadly serious, incredibly hard, sometimes passionate, and in some cases pathetic, especially in those cases where individuals would place themselves in positions of physical and mental abuse for the "artistic" vision or financial greed of people that really didn't give a damn for them but would use any means to get to their personal interpretation of "the top". The book also shows the many very good people that contributed and sacrificed much just to be a part of the "film industry"; a few succeeded, some failed, and many just got by until they found themselves kicked or pushed out.Read more ›
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jack McMichael Martin on September 9, 2011
This book is a note from the underground with perfect pitch: its language is uncannily faithful to its time and place. On one level, it is about people and an art form "on the edge," in a penniless state of wonder, of emerging, of "making it" - or trying to - and of paying the bills. But it is also, for me, a parable of human labor - all the way from Adam, on to the present... but especially of labor in America in the late twentieth century, with its edge of desperation, its closing factories and constricted hopes - described from within, with utter fidelity. Though it's subtitled "making underground movies with John Waters," it isn't Waters' book, so much as it is Maier's. The focus is not on what appears on the screen, so much as on the reality of what lies behind, and beneath it, in "the shadows" (in every sense) of the production. Bob Maier was Waters' apprentice, assistant, and friend, who worked his way through every stage in the process to become production manager. It was a toilsome way... It is his story, and, at once, that of all the invisible work everywhere that holds up the visible; and because of this, it now belongs to all of us, and to the life of our country.
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