By Benjamin Gummery.
Kevin Smith is arguably best known for his film career as a writer/director; especially for his debut film Clerks but also Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl, Clerks II, Zac and Miri Make a Porno, Cop Out and Red State.
However, in recent years he has also became known in the podcast arena; appearing in several highly-rated weekly podcasts distributed by his own ‘Smodcast Internet Radio‘ Network. Smith was already well known for his public appearances and Q&A’s; some of which have been filmed and released. It therefore seemed like a logical step forward when he started his first show ‘Smodcast’ with friend and producer Scott Mosier in 2007. This led to other successful shows such as ‘Hollywood Babble-On’, ‘Jay & Silent Bob Get Old’ and ‘Fatman on Batman’.
However, last year things went full circle for Smith. On episode 259 of SModcast Smith & Mosier talked about a Gumtree advert from the UK where a home-owner was offering a living situation free of charge; but only if the lodger agreed to dress as a walrus. Smith proposed this would be a good story for a horror film and asked listeners to tweet #WalrusYes of they agreed. The response was overwhelming and led to Smith pursuing the idea for real with the film ‘Tusk’. Filming began in Late 2013 and the film is set for release September 27th 2014 in the US; starring Michael Parks, Justin Long, Hayley Joel Osment & Genesis Rodriguez. This is believed to be the first time a film has been based on a podcast.
Smith’s connection with fans and in-particular his sharing of tales from his own exploits as an independent film-maker as well as his advocacy of pod-casting has inspired many to try their own hand at film-making, podcasting and other endeavours.
Scottish student film-maker Christopher Downie created a series of ‘fan-film’ videos based around the life and works of Smith as re-told in his Q&A’s, podcasts, commentary tracks & books. These started off as shorts produced for YouTube until the Indie GoGo funded short feature ‘Get Greedo’; which has led to these videos being displayed on Kevin Smith’s own YouTube Channel. The film-maker is currently working on a feature-length Bio-pic of Kevin Smith called ‘Shooting Clerks’ due for release in 2015 based around the making of ‘Clerks’ and the project is endorsed by Smith himself.
Elsewhere, Scott Holden; who is a long-time fan of Smith, was inspired after reading Smith’s book ‘Tough Shit’ to try his hand at pod-casting with a friend, leading to the successful chat-cast ‘ThatMan on Fatman‘. Within the first few episodes the show attracted a good range of guests including cast members from Smith’s films as well other fans & podcasts. The show has a growing following with-in the fan community.. Following on from this success and his fandom of Smith he launched his own fan podcast ‘
Available on iTunes & Sticher @ThatmanOnFatman
All this goes to show how powerful and inspiring this kind ‘fandom’ can be and just how far it can lead if pursued. In the age of the Internet it is possible for anyone to earn some kind of following; whatever the subject matter. Creativity begets creativity and risk begets risk.
Smith has already announced his next film project ‘Yoga Hosers’ which is also based on a podcast episode. A spin-off from the Tusk; the film is being described a ‘female comic-book/action hero movie’ and will star Johnny Depp alongside his daughter Lily-Rose & Smith’s daughter Harley-Quinn in the lead roles. The main cast from Tusk will also return. Filming is set to begin in late 2014.
If you have or know of a fan-film, podcast or similar project you would like featured on the blog please get in-touch.
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