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People, by nature, have some interesting things to say. Here are some of my things. Some about acting. All about living ...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Kevin Smith was Monday night's guest lecturer for the AFS/UT Masters class I'm taking, and it might have been the most hilarious few hours I've spent in a long time.

Clerks Kevin Smith.

Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl, Clerks II Kevin Smith.

Kevin. Fucking. Smith.

(Seriously, I think that's his middle name.)

Kevin was self-deprecating, and kind of cavalier about the studio system, but he was obviously comfortable in his own skin (speaking in front of an unusually large class), and through his stories and anecdotes showed he's deceptively savvy about the business side of the Biz. And he was a forerunner in the use of the Internet for leading his films.

He said he admired Ang Lee, and what he termed "isolation flicks" -- every movie is different -- Brokeback Mountain; The Ice Storm; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and so on. And he, like most comic book fans, is pissed about The Hulk.

Complaints about Smith's movies generally center around the content -- profanity and sexual jokes. If you see his films, saw his presentation at the Independent Spirit Awards, or hear him speak, I think you realize this is not just part of shtik -- it's part of who he is. Unlike Eddie Murphey or George Carlin, who arguably used content for shock value, Smith is being himself, making movies that interest him, then his friends, if anyone else likes it, "everyone else is gravy." Not that I'm saying he's just that; people reductionism sucks.

I really like how he talked about his relationships. With his wife, his friends, his parents. I'm really into hearing about people's soft spots lately.

And we got to see a bit of Clerks II, which doesn't come out until August.

Soundbites or other things that stuck with me (WARNING: May contain poopy words):
  • (On changing a film based on test screenings and focus groups) "It's a risky proposition when you take a movie out of the filmmaker's hands and start listening to the audience."
  • (On where he gets his ideas for films) "I just take shit from my life and kind of try to make it more entertaining."
  • On dialog, he said he used conversations from life as his starting point, then throws them out, dresses them up, removes the monotone, and so on.
  • (Reading a death threat he received for Dogma) "You Jews [Smith's not Jewish] better invest all the money you stole from us and invest in flak jackets, because we're coming after you with shotguns. [Signed] 'Your Brothers in Christ'."
  • (On accusations he's going "back to the well" with Clerks II) "There's nothing that says you can't draw fresh water when you go back to the fucking well."
  • (On his public spat with Disney) "And, ultimately, I got to call Eisner a prison rapist. So it all worked out in the end."
  • In a fight between Magneto and Darth Vader, Magneto would win. And if Magneto had been on the Millenium Falcon rather than Obi Wan Kenobi, "That would have been a totally different movie."
I was seriously sleep deprived from a 4-day botched software production issue, so my social filters were a bit off. Turns out that's not good when listening to Kevin Smith.

I can't stop swearing.

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