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Article and Photos Below by Tonight at Dawn (Kimberly Cecchini); What is Kevin Smith Thinking? conversation at MFF14.
Kevin Smith speaking in front of Montclair audience. MFF14
So what is Kevin Smith thinking? This Jersey boy is happy to tell you. He’ll even tell you that he had gastrointestinal issues on his red eye flight from Los Angeles. He also will tell you he find out upon arrival that Tina Fey had been sitting behind him the whole flight. Fortunately, his fans were eager to hear about it all at the Montclair Art Museum.
Kevin Smith walked on the stage wearing one of his signature blue and orange hockey jerseys emblazoned with his logo, “Fatman”. Ticket holders, many of whom displayed an allegiance to Smith’s own interests by wearing comic book and hockey apparel, were excited to hear his tales about filmmaking, podcasting and everything in between. Fittingly, the Executive who welcomed Smith’s Comic Book Man to AMC, joined him on stage as his interviewer. It was also a good match because Joel Stillerman allowed Smith to take over the conversation as his wont to do, quipping that Kevin had done his job for him.
Kevin Smith laughing with AMC executive, Joel Stillerman, in front of Montclair audience. MFF14
“A Reasonable Amount of Unreason-ability”
The drive to the festival on Sunday harkened Smith back to the days of commuting from the infamous Quik Stop to the apartment he shared with his girlfriend in Montclair. At the time, he sunk all of his money from his convenience store shift work and the after hours to tell his first story in Clerks. It was a gamble more than an investment, but he likened this first filmmaking experience to his brother’s coming out story; it just “felt right”.
Although earning success as a filmmaker was a long shot, Smith said he held onto “…a reasonable amount of unreason-ability”. He was particularly encouraged to continue his film from the middle of New Jersey after seeing a piece in the Village Voice on another independent film, Slacker, from what he thought at the time, was made in “nowhere, Texas”. Yet, unreason-ability surfaced on October 3rd, 1993.
Smith had earned an opportunity to show his film at a small festival. He was demoralized when he knew ninety percent of the ten people that were in the audience. He was also excited and “…overwhelmed by how…filthy it was” after seeing the first ten minutes on the big screen. He woke up the next day feeling what it was like to lose all the money he had.
Anyone coming of age in the nineties knows that was not the end of Clerks. After receiving three calls that day, he was on his way to making a deal with Miramax and learning that an unknown guy at the screening was the ticket for it to become a cult classic.
Humans Need 3 Things; Food, F——, and to Be Heard
As an eternal storyteller, podcasts are his new love. Kevin grew up listening to Howard Stern and essentially his Smodcast emulates the Stern show at its core; a record of friends conversing about everything and anything. Smith is particularly taken by the newer medium because it currently boasts a freedom that Stern never has fully had; nobody to charge you and nobody to limit your content. In fact, he is so spellbound by podcasts he gave the Montclair audience a homework assignment; record a podcast within the next year.
Kevin Smith is the Only One Who Can Make a Third Clerks
Part of what has driven Smith to take his storytelling to the podcast is because he does not feel he can fully express himself in film anymore. For one, he does not feel he has the creative freedom he once had as making “…studio deals prices (you) out of anything original…” Still, he is not going to stay away from the camera, and, yes, he will make Clerks III. Soon.
In the meantime, Smith cast his daughter and her friend in small roles as clerks in his upcoming horror flick, Tusk. Before it’s release, Smith announced at the Festival, that he will shoot a short film based on an indirect spin-off of these clerks. He’s making “Yoga Hosers” to spend more time with his fourteen-year-old daughter and because, well, it features clerks.
“You Are the Real Winner”
The Q & A period was opened by a pre-teen boy who told Kevin Smith he was his hero. Kevin modestly deflected the statement by telling the kid he was the “real winner” for beating the biological odds to exist (in a more graphic manner not to be posted here) that elicited laughter from the audience. The young man nervously laughed, “I’m very intimidated right now.” He asked his questions and Smith wrapped up the show with a few more stories. With Kevin Smith, there’s always another story to be shared.
Kevin Smith Takes a Photo with his young, “winning” fan at MFF14.
Kevin Smith at MFF14.