The top image is the Holiday Card I received from Kevin Smith’s Production Company in 1997.
In 1997 I created Jay & Silent Bob action figures for director, Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma). Actually they were Bluntman & Chronic action figures. I had a meeting with Kevin in Red Bank, NJ but his flight was delayed getting back to NJ from LA. I waited. He never showed. Feeling guilty, Kevin called me up and rescheduled another meeting with me, this time he would be buying me dinner to make up for the first failed meeting. It’s the least he could do, right?
So on the day that we agreed upon, I headed back to Red Bank. We met at his comic book store, Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash–the original location. All the regulars from the View Askewniverse were there, Jay, Walt Flanigan, Steve-Dave…
Kevin was estatic with the figures, which eventually made it into Kevin’s MTV Spot and on the Clerks 10th Anniversary DVD.
We went out for Mexican, Kevin drove. We talked about his script for Superman which he just handed in at the time but which Tim Burton (the then attached director) didn’t like.
At dinner, he discussed the possibility of whether or not the company I was working for at the time (which my father owned), would want to make View Askew action figures as well as possibly creating the visual effects for his upcoming film, Dogma. Kevin explained how he would much rather prefer having an effects company on the East coast so he wouldn’t have to travel out to California.
He sent me a script of Dogma, but the gig never came to fruition, which I blame my father for. He didn’t have the vision or see the possibility of where it would have taken his company. Now his company is gone.
Years went by, I had a son and then was immediately divorced and life went to shit fast. Kevin and I no longer were keeping in touch. The last conversation I had with Kevin was while he was in the Philly area shooting Jersey Girl, which didn’t turn out too well for him.
Today he has a TV series for fanboys and he pops up in every documentary on Star Wars or superheroes but as a filmmaker he hasn’t seem to have grown like Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, who also arrived on the scene at the same time as Smith.
Today, with everyone having access to DSLR video cameras and digital editing, many people are making movies whether they have the talent or not. On one hand it is an awesome time to be an indie filmmaker. On the other hand you have more competition than ever before. Trying to be seen amongst the millions of videos out there is an art on its own.
The other day I saw a girl wearing a shirt which read, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
The filmmakers who have talent can’t bitch if they aren’t working hard for it. And when I see the talentless working hard, at the very least I have to hand it to them for doing the work and completing it.
It’s been 17 years since I had that dinner with Kevin. I am still working hard. Whether I have talent or not is not for me to say. Filmmaking is a craft that I absolutely love. The meeting with Kevin led me to a small role in a film he produced. It was called Big Helium Dog, directed by Brian Lynch. It never was released so I am sure the film was shit. But I drove out to Red Bank for the day to have my head shaved and act like an angry cancer patient. No matter what set I have ever been on, it has always been a lot of sitting around and waiting. The Big Helium Dog was no different. But when you love doing something, even sitting around and waiting brings you joy.
This blog is a bit all over the place. It is a bit of my life history and a bit of stream of consciousness. So take whatever you want from it. All I know is I am looking forward to more films, more people to make them with and more fun.