John Wilson (filmmaker)

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John Wilson
Birth nameJohn Michael Wilson
Born (1986-10-07) October 7, 1986 (age 35)
New York City, U.S.
  • Documentary
  • television
Alma materBinghamton University
Years active2008–present

John Wilson is an American documentary filmmaker. He created How To with John Wilson, an American comedy television docuseries on HBO.[1][2][3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Wilson was born in Astoria, Queens, and grew up on Long Island. He became interested in film as a teenager when his father gave him a movie camera. Wilson cites Les Blank, George Kuchar and Bruce Brown as influences.[1]

Shortly after graduating from high school, Wilson completed a feature film called Jingle Berry.[5] Wilson added the reference to Jingle Berry to his own Wikipedia page in a season 2 episode of How To.[6]

While attending Binghamton University, Wilson made a short documentary, Looner, about a balloon fetish community.[7][8] At Binghamton, Wilson joined an a cappella singing group, the Binghamton Crosbys.[9]


In 2008, after graduating from college, Wilson worked for a private investigator. He has said this experience influenced his focus on the people and places of everyday life.[7]

In 2015, Wilson was asked to go on tour with David Byrne to make an original film about his performance.[10] Titled Temporary Color,[11] the film has been called a "true crime concert doc about David Byrne and a pair of violent criminals". The next year, Vimeo asked Wilson to make a documentary about the Sundance Film Festival. These works caught the attention of comedian and writer Nathan Fielder, and the two eventually started collaborating after meeting in 2018.[2]

In October 2020, How To with John Wilson premiered on HBO.[2] The show is executive produced by Fielder, Michael Koman and Clark Reinking.[12] On December 9, 2020, HBO ordered a second season, which premiered in 2021.[13]


  1. ^ a b Sepinwall, Alan (October 22, 2020). "'How to With John Wilson': Where Digression Meets Delight". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Pemberton, Nathan Taylor (October 23, 2020). "John Wilson Reveals the Absurd Poetry of New York". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  3. ^ "'How to With John Wilson' Is the Year's Best Nature Documentary". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  4. ^ Rizov, Vadim. "John Wilson". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  5. ^ Zinoman, Jason (December 17, 2021). "The Most Adventurous Comedy Right Now Is Also the Most Real". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  6. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (November 24, 2021). "HBO's 'How To With John Wilson' Season 2: TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 2, 2022. His own story is situated more clearly, whether it's introducing viewers to his embarrassing first film Jingle Berry — mentioned now on his Wikipedia page in an edit we watch him make — and his history with a cappella, which leads to a twist I wouldn’t dare spoil.
  7. ^ a b How to With John Wilson, retrieved November 24, 2020
  8. ^ Twenty Five New Faces of Independent Film: John Wilson, retrieved November 28, 2020
  9. ^ Desta, Yohana (December 3, 2021). "How To With John Wilson's Shocking NXIVM Connection Was Years in the Making". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  10. ^ "John Wilson". Talkhouse.
  11. ^ "Temporary Color" – via IMDb.
  12. ^ Otterson, Joe (August 12, 2019). "Nathan Fielder Sets HBO Overall Deal, Docu-Series and Comedy Pilot (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  13. ^ Porter, Rick. "'How To With John Wilson' Renewed for Second Season on HBO". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 9, 2020.

External links[edit]