Writer/Director Kevin Smith on Filmmaking: You Must Have a 'Reasonable Amount of Unreasonability'
Independent film would probably not have become what it is today without people like Kevin Smith. Whether they actually made things worse for the rest of us because of their success is up for debate, but there is no doubt Smith is one of those few filmmakers in Hollywood who makes exactly the kinds of movies he wants to make (not too dissimilar from Andrei Tarkovsky). In this interview below from Gavin Michael Booth’s How Many Days Project, Kevin Smith talks about what it takes to be a filmmaker, the current state of distribution, and what brought him to make Clerks.
Keep in mind this is Kevin Smith, so there is plenty of NSFW language:
Learning to compromise and work with other people is an important part of filmmaking. Unless you are the one throwing down tons of money to make a project and paying everyone well, there is a good chance people may be working for less than they’re worth, or even for free. That is just a fact of independent filmmaking. Not all of us can be like Tarkovsky, so you’re going to be making compromises on the production and about what’s actually possible with the money, time, and equipment you have. Once a movie is done, there will probably be more compromises, from post-production to distribution. I know personally I’ve had many projects where I’ve had to cut things on the day of shooting or shoot something completely different because an actor isn’t available. Many of these things are daily occurrences, and learning to work through them is important.
Being a filmmaker is certainly not easy, and really, if you’ve ever heard someone say it is, they’re lying. Independent film has a tough road ahead, especially as we figure out how to monetize what we’re doing. If no one is making money from independent films (or at least not going into massive debt while making them), all we’ll be left with is monster Hollywood movies to entertain us.
What do you think about Kevin Smith’s ideas on filmmaking and what it takes to make movies? Has his career inspired you to make movies?