Kevin Smith Kevin Smith is a prime example of the kind of person in my industry that I aspire to be like. His humor is intelligent, but he walks the fine line between funny and outright offensive. I admire him for his ability to tell a story using people, instead of effects and a huge budget. Kevin's first movie, Clerks, had a budget of around $27, 000 (Kevin Smith). The entire film was black and white, and the only effect that had on the movie was to further highlight how obscenely drab these Quik Stop clerks' daily lives were. Despite the tiny budget, Kevin showed off his sense of humor and told an involving story using barely anything but the characters.
This movie was the birthplace of Jay and his hetero-life-mate Silent Bob, who are now well known after their appearances in several of Kevin's other movies. This film ended up getting into the Sundance Film Festival, and tickets for it sold out before the festival started. There were people outside scalping tickets. This was the cast and crew's first inkling that the movie might just make it.
(Brian O'Holloran) The film was bought by Gramercy after the festival. Mallrats was Smith's second film, they went back to Gramercy for this one, and were offered a budget of 6 million dollars. Kevin actually fought against this size budget because he saw no need for that much, 'Why? It's just a little picture about kids running around the mall. Let's not spend that much money on it in case it doesn't really pan out' (Kevin Smith) Luckily for them it did pan out and Kevin put out his second semi-successful movie. One reason this movie did as well as it did is perhaps, Smith said, because they actually tried to reach a larger variety of people with Mallrats. Even though they had a hard R rating and could have cursed up a proverbial storm, Kevin cut down on much of the unnecessary vulgar language.
(Kevin Smith) By doing this he made the film more acceptable to a general audience. Another step taking in that direction was Jay's reduced number of drug related tag lines. This is not to say, however, that Smith dum bed down the movie for the general public, as 'Trish the Dish' a 15 yr old high school senior and author of 'Bore-gas, A study of the 90's male sexual prowess', will tell you. (Renee Humphrey) Although the movie did only fair in the theatres, Kevin had his customary cult following (Renee Humphrey) Chasing Amy was the movie that really got Kevin accepted by a wider audience. Up until this point he had made farcical comedies with crude language, drug related humor, and lots of innuendo. Chasing Amy brought Kevin to a more mainstream audience, and also served to dispel the complaint about how he wrote women into his scripts.
Though women in his movies never complained about it, 'No. Male, female, Kevin's just being funny. That's how I always saw it.' (Renee Humphrey) More recently, and most successfully, came Dogma. Dogma's script was written before Clerk's actually, but Kevin knew it would be impossible to do with less than a few million dollars budget. He felt that it would be an insult to the script to try and do it for less. (Brian O'Holloran) Dogma had a budget of around 7 million, and because of Kevin's reputation and general amiability, he had a cast including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Chris Rock, Salma Hayek, George Carlin, and of course Jason Mewes.
According to an interview with Scott Mosier all of these well known actors worked for merely a few thousand dollars a week just for the opportunity and to appear in this film. Dogma was the topic for much religious debate and fire from many religious groups. This is not because it is an insult towards the church, but because it is a farcical comedy with Kevin Smith's own twist on the biblical stories of Jesus and his apostles. Kevin Smith is an amazing director, he is great with people, and is not afraid to put his ideas, thoughts, and opinions on screen, despite what other may say or think. He has artistic integrity, a larger budget does not mean that he will sell his creative control to the film studio. I hope to someday have a following as strong and dedicated as his.
I also hope to be able to put out movies that will evoke as strong a reaction as his, regardless of whether that reaction is positive or negative. Works Cited Mallrats: Director's Commentary. Dir. Kevin Smith Perf. Jason Mewes.
Gramercy 1995 McCarthy, Mike. 'An Interview with Brian O'Holloran.' Interview Askew. 2 Feb 1998. View Askew Productions.
15 Jan 2005. McCarthy, Mike. 'An Interview Askew with Renee Humphrey.' Interview Askew. 24 June 1998.
View Askew Productions. 15 Jan 2005.