The meat. The goods. Why did Kevin Smith get my writing? In Part 1 of this post I tried to explain how a creative person was crushed by the system that he’d been a part of for twenty years. He made all the movies and the sequels and had gotten to work with the stars, but at the end of all of it, he wasn’t playing the game he wanted to play.
Over the course of the next few years, Kevin Smith would encounter more setbacks on his way to finding his path(all documented on Smodcast and other podcasts he does). He would work with Bruce Willis and find out what an asshole he is in real life. He would make a studio movie that he didn’t write(Cop Out). But during all of this he had a plan.
He was going Indie again! At some point in this timeline, he had written Red State. He made Cop Out so he could learn to film action sequences(most of his previous movies don’t have a lot of gun play). He attracted great actors to the script and put together a budget. Here is the kicker. He was going to make Red State WITHOUT a studio. He was going back to his roots and was going to raise money on his own and completely control the distribution and marketing of the film.
Why would he do this? Because Kevin Smith was tired of making movies for twenty million dollars with equal or greater marketing budgets that were using a completely ineffective and outdated marketing model. He wanted more control and less bullshit so he could do what he does. Make movies his fans want to see.
One of the new ways to reach his audience is via Smodcast. His podcasts are a modern medium for reaching his audience on a weekly basis and keeping them(me, us) involved with his world. Many creative projects spun off of the original such as Tell ‘Em Steve Dave which I won’t get into now because I will bore you with my Walt Flanagan love, but that led to an AMC series. He’s killed it. Crushed it. Whatever. He’s winning!
Fast-forward a few years and Red State is in the can and ready to be released. Kevin Smith decided to premiere Red State in NYC at Radio City Music Hall in March 2011. My wife having very limited exposure or understanding of this whole Kevin Smith thing I was going through was all on board and we were off to NYC to catch the movie and a live Q&A with the cast and Kevin Smith. John Goodman and Melissa Leo not to mention Michael Parks and a host of other talented actors were part of the cast. Read the blurb on the poster. Quentin Tarantino! The film was great and Kevin owed no one but a few investors who he had direct relationships with. Distribution went through Netflix and other outlets(years before The Interview did the same) and paid back the investors in short order and in no time the film was profitable!
Like Smodcast Kevin was again pioneering the new world of digital releases and the indie mentality. So again why did this make my write?
My wife bought me a Kevin Smith signed copy of the Red State movie poster for my birthday that year. In the email, she sent(maybe to Walt) she addressed Kevin and said that she was thankful to him for getting me writing again. I still have that piece of paper that was sent back with the poster and it is a reminder that there was a long stretch when I didn’t write.
So why did Kevin Smith get me writing?
I don’t know. Maybe because Kevin Smith is constantly ‘writing’ a story for all of us whether it be on Smodcast or in his movies or TV shows or his many public Q&A’s. But somewhere in the depth of his creative reinvention between 2008 and 2011 there is a Smodcast that I haven’t tracked down yet but in it, he implores the audience to grab a keyboard and create(I am paraphrasing big time) to get out there and make something and take the technology that exists to bypass the naysayers and the gatekeepers. That is when I began forming my own plan to publish my first of many novels. I don’t know how many others he’s empowered along the way to own their dreams, but I am certainly one.
Thank you, Kevin Smith.