Kevin Smith blazed through most of the big talking points for podcaster’s, writers, film makers and dreamers of all sorts during his July 30, 2014 talk in the Bryant Park Reading Room. He spent very little time promoting he and Jason Mewes’ latest fare, Jay & Silent Bob’s Blueprints for Destroying Everything. (“If cum jokes aren’t your thing, then stay away from this! But it’s a great toilet read!”)
He pushed, if you don’t see people like you reflected in the media, that it’s for you to put yourself out there. That first effort will be the hardest. “They tell you that it’s a journey of a thousand miles, but they don’t tell you is how much harder the first step is than every other one…” Be authentic- make something that has resonance for you- that’s how to measure success. He spent so much time encouraging burgeoning artists to get up their own podcasts (the only medium without gatekeepers, for the time being anyway) that I wanted to ask him if he had watched Exit Through the Gift Shop. (If you haven’t seen it yet, then go out and remedy that now!)
What I found more inspirational than the inspirational bits, though, was his honesty. He admitted that his “real life” ended when he turned 23 and “made it” with Clerks. He couldn’t make Clerks now because he no longer knows what it’s like to have to punch in at minimum wage- that accounts for the difference between Clerks and Clerks 2. He couldn’t make a movie like Chasing Amy because he’s been happily married for years and any attempts to capture that angst would “feel inauthentic.” This admission showed more authentic acknowledgment of all of us stiffs working away to make ends meet than all of those other, more typical words encouragement.