conducted on September 15, 1998
Even if you're just a casual fan of Kevin Smith's films, chances are you're as
curious about Scott Mosier as I was. Apart from producing, he's played small
but amusing roles in each of the three Jersey Trilogy installments (in
addition to appearing in other View Askew films) and even shared an executive
producer credit with Smith on Good Will Hunting.
As Jay is Silent Bob's sidekick on screen, it would seem that Scott Mosier is
Kevin Smith's sidekick in reality.
But to what extent is he involved in the navigation of the entity that is View
Askew? And does he have ambitions and interests beyond the realm of Kevin
In the following Interview Askew, the seemingly press-shy Mosier speaks
candidly about his hopes for the future, experiences thus far and whatever
else came up . . .
MM: You met Kevin Smith at Vancouver Film School. Do you specifically recall
the first time you met?
MM: Are there any particular genres you're striving to produce that you
haven't touched yet?
SM: I'd be curious to do some suspense
stuff. I've been watching The Thing lately--the John Carpenter movie. That
classical horror stuff. Not this new high-schoolers-running-around.
SM: There was an orientation day. On that March 8th, I believe it was, 1992.
Everybody had broken up with your class, which is about 24, 25 kids per class.
You stay with that one class the whole time. I remember later on when we
talked about it he thought I was an asshole. I had just got back from L.A., so
I was kind of tan, and I got up and said I'd been working for a producer. I
think he thought I was some kind of pretty boy, Beverly Hills, 90210. I just
remember he got up and he was wearing his trenchcoat and all this stuff and I
thought he was a real loudmouth kind of jerk. I was like, "Who is this fucking
guy?" Because he fancied himself pretty funny. Very funny people, initially,
it's like sometimes you don't think they're funny. That was my take on him. I
can't even remember if he said anything funny or not. As the class went on, we
were in documentary class and got divided up into groups. For whatever reason
we ended up in the same group. We were talking about--God, I can't
remember--but during that conversation we sort of hit it off and went to
lunch. And that was it.
MM: Did you leave school at the same time?
SM: No, no, no. I stayed. He left about halfway through and I stayed for the
last four months. I finished up. Dave and I stayed behind and finished.
MM: Was there a plan for you to hook up with him at a later date or had that
even been discussed?
SM: He wanted to leave because he wanted to put the money into his movie. And
he had a script that he wanted to write. He'd mentioned something about it,
but nothing concrete as far as Clerks went. So, he left in the middle. I knew
he was gonna go home and write, but when he was gonna get it done and
everything I really didn't know. The idea was, we agreed that we would help
each other out. I was staying for the purpose of learning more, so when I did
come to New Jersey I would know a little bit more about editing and some of
the basics. Basically, what he missed out on was just more work. On short
films and stuff like that. More experience. I stuck it out, but he finished
the draft right around the time that I graduated. We were supposed to start in
January of '93, but there was a big flood. The big noreaster flooded his
parents' house, so we ended up waiting. I came out in March.
MM: How long had you been working in L.A. before you left?
SM: Well, I was going to school. I went to U.C.L.A. for about a year, maybe,
and I worked for a producer named David Permut, who did Dragnet. I think when
I was there--because I was only there for a couple months, because I didn't
like it--he did 29th Street with Danny Aiello and Anthony LaPaglia. I'm
surprised if anyone remembers it. Mostly I was just going to school, but it
was a lot of theory and I got really bored, so I decided to go up to Vancouver
because it's a tech school. All it would do is teach you the hands on stuff.
MM: Where are you from originally?
SM: I was born in Washington State. Just over the bridge from Portland.
Because of my dad's job, I moved around a lot. When I was five, we moved down
to a suburb of Los Angeles and when I was 10 we moved up to Vancouver, British
Columbia. When I was 18 I left, went back to school down in California.
MM: Clerks and Chasing Amy were made independently and then sold, while
Mallrats was made for Gramercy and Dogma for Miramax. How did your
responsibilities vary as a producer in those situations?
SM: It doesn't really change that much. Clerks is a completely separate
experience because nobody knew who we were. Even on Chasing Amy, where it was
investors, there was still a certain amount of responsibility. On Clerks, we
were really just responsible to ourselves. We didn't have to answer to
anybody. We could just get up and shoot when we wanted to. On the studio
stuff, the difference is they come by to visit and there's more politics
involved. There's some strategy involved. You can't just concentrate on
physically making the films, getting the most out of the day and all the rest
of that. You end up having to deal with studio politics and the money people.
You know, they're concerned about language, so you argue and you talk and
MM: In the case of Mallrats, you shared credit with two other producers, James
Jacks and Sean Daniel. What was that experience like?
SM: Well, when the movie started Gramercy and Universal were less concerned
with having me than they were with having Kevin. At the time, for Kevin, it
was easy for them to watch Clerks and see what they want. What they're paying
for. With me, it's sort of like, "What are we paying for? He's done one movie
that cost 27 thousand dollars and that's not the business we're in." It was
basically because Kevin made it part of the deal that I would come
along--that's how I got on board. It was like these other two guys are the
guys that were getting it made. At first I was very open to the idea because I
wasn't experienced. I didn't know what to do with six million dollars and the
actors and all that stuff. Also, I didn't know how to play the studio. But as
it went on, you start to get more experience. I didn't really like working
with other people. You know what it is, at a certain point it became too
much--like any patting on the head--which became very annoying to me. Their
idea was like, "So, you're learning, you're learning." It was just creepy.
They were sort of trying to take on like father figure [roles]. I was like,
"I've got a Dad. You're not even that bright." One of them was never even
there and the other was there on and off. Mostly, what I did learn from them
is how I didn't want to do things. How I wanted to do things. So, it was
valuable. It was a good experience.
MM: Were there other producers involved in Dogma?
SM: Nope. It was me and there's a co-producer, but she's basically the line
producer. She was the line producer on Mallrats, so she came back on Dogma.
But it's just me and her.
MM: What's the budget at this point?
SM: It's probably up to about seven million. Usually, as it goes, the budget
goes up and down and up and down, depending on each stage that you go through.
Everybody watches it and decides, "Let's put more money into it." Or, "Let's
put more money into this or that." Right now it's about seven. I imagine it
will go up. Everybody seems really excited about the movie and I'm sure
they'll dump more money into post-production when the time comes. For the
score and all the rest of it.
MM: What percentage of the budget was consumed by the cast?
SM: Minimal. Very minimal. They basically worked for scale plus 10, which
works out to a couple grand per week. Basically like SAG scale. It's not that
much money at all. Even when you work in the perks--to see the number that it
ended up costing to have that cast--it's nothing.
MM: There have been rumors for a couple months now that Miramax is supposedly
getting shit from Disney because of the subject matter. Is there any truth to
SM: I don't think there's any truth to it now. Whether it happens eventually,
I don't know. There's a lot of rumors flying around about a movie that isn't
even done. There was one moment where Ben [Affleck] said some things in the
press and there was that week or two where there was stories about it, but it
eventually went nowhere because it was founded in nothing. There's no movie
for people to reference. There's no movie to show Disney for them to be mad
about. Perhaps there is a fear down the road of something happening. Right
now, even when that whole situation happened, I didn't hear from anybody. I
was out of the loop like everybody else, just reading it in the paper.
MM: If Disney does say something to Miramax at some point, is Miramax still
able to release it regardless or whether it's with their blessings or not or .
. . ?
SM: Well, I don't know the exact details of the Miramax deal. As far as their
relationship, we tend to stay out of it. Our position is, whatever is gonna
happen is gonna happen. We're concerned with what sort of distribution it will
get, wherever that is, whatever the best place is for that. We'll see what
MM: There's Something About Mary was a very un-PC movie that ended up being
perhaps the biggest hit of the summer. Do you find any reassurance in that?
SM: I did not see it, so I don't really know what the un-PC elements of it
are. Being un-PC depends what you're doing. If you're just grossing people
out, or being slightly rude, or a little sexist or a little whatever--all
you're doing is making people huff and puff a bit. The difference being that
if you're making a movie which could possibly offend the religious groups it's
something that's much more direct. That movie would never be a point of
reference for us, as far as Dogma goes. We're dealing with a completely
separate group of people. If we have to deal with them at all, once again. I
fear now that we're building it up too much. Not that we're building it up,
but that other people are building it up--the controversy--where it's like the
movie won't really deliver on that level. It's not a two and a half hour movie
about pokes at the church. That's not what it is at all. I hope the
controversy goes away. And we'll see how controversial it is when it comes
MM: The draft of the script I read was the earlier draft that's been
circulating for a few years. I thought that it might push buttons because many
of the points the characters were making were sentiments I often agreed with.
I think that's what makes the religious entities panic--when someone puts
something out there that might make people think. With The Last Temptation of
Christ, some people might have seen that and thought, "Well, maybe . . ."
SM: When you look at The Last Temptation of Christ, it's not like usually
anybody goes to see it. The controversy is over what they're being told it
represents. The kind of people it's gonna piss off, they're just gonna be
pissed off because there's no real convincing them. A lot of these people
protest a movie they wouldn't even take the time to go see and form their own
opinion. Do you really think you can convince them? To go there and be like,
"You don't understand. Go see the movie." They're not gonna go. They didn't
feel like forming their own opinion to begin with.
MM: On a smaller scale, I guess the potential for controversy is something
you've already dealt with in the case of Chasing Amy, where Alyssa ending up
with a man could've been controversial.
SM: Ultimately, it was like nothing really happened. A lot of preparation was
taken. A lot of people were like, "You should be ready for this. You should be
ready for that." We were just like, "Look, just put the movie out. The movie
will speak for itself." And the critics and everything lends credibility to
what you're doing. Once it's regarded as a really good movie, I think the
controversy fades away. The film also sort of backed up its own arguments. All
the questions people would've asked were answered as the film went along. It
says the things it needed to say. It explained the logic. I think Dogma does
the exact same thing. It's just a question of the people who are gonna get up
in arms about it going out and seeing it.
MM: As far as your long-term career goes, do you intend to move into other
realms, such as writing and directing?
SM: I don't really have a plan per say. I'm taking things as they come. Just
sort of taking it easy. As opportunities come up, I either take them or I
don't. It's something that's in the back of my mind. There are things I want
to do. I would be curious to direct someday, but I'm not, you know, killing
myself trying to get there. Some day at some point in time an opportunity will
come along and it'll just make sense. I don't have any plans at this point.
MM: Did you write any scripts in film school?
SM: I wrote a couple short films. I wouldn't say that I'm a writer. I mean,
Kevin has this long history of writing since he was a child. I really don't
have that interest. I started writing a lot later in life. I do it here and
there when I have time but usually I'm much too busy to dedicate the time I
would need. At some point, I'm sure the time will come.
MM: Because you also appear in Kevin's films, as well as in other films you've
produced with View Askew, you've developed quite a fan base as an actor. How
serious are you about acting?
SM: There are times when I would be interested in doing something bigger just
to experience it--and as a challenge, to see how I'd do--but on the whole I'm
much more comfortable behind the camera. I do these day parts because they're
fun. I just jump in and do it. It started out more out of necessity than
anything. Now it's sort of become something that people expect. I have fun
doing it, but I actually find it kind of boring. I do it for a day and I'm
like, "Man, I couldn't imagine doing this for a three month shoot." It would
drive me crazy, to sit around. I'm much more interested in what's going on
behind the scenes.
MM: Have you joined SAG [the Screen Actors Guild] yet?
SM: Yeah. I had to join. Walter, Bryan and I all joined SAG on Chasing Amy.
MM: It's commonly said that Kevin took Good Will Hunting to Miramax, but you
also have an executive producer credit. What was your involvement?
SM: Basically, we took it together. I guess you could say that the history of
what Kevin did is the history of what I did. I read the script with Kevin and
we called Miramax, brought it to them and got it set up. After that, we just
got the executive producer credit.
MM: I understand Malcolm Ingram is making a new film, Taillights Fade. Will
you be involved with that?
SM: No. Kevin's executive producing, but I took the summer off. They're done
shooting already, I know that.
MM: Did you produce Big Helium Dog and/or Vulgar?
SM: No. Those are both, once again, executive producer. Vulgar is produced by
Monica Hampton and Big Helium Dog is produced by Richard Primila.
MM: Was your involvement different with A Better Place and Drawing Flies?
SM: It was all pretty much the same. We were reading the scripts. I tend to do
all the shit with going over the budgets. I go out to the shoot and sort of
watch what's happening, offer some advice. You get calls. Sometimes it's up to
us to make some financial decisions and what not. If things are going well,
then I just leave them alone. When there are problems that need my attention,
I'll go in there. Or when they want us to come out. Mostly, we just try to get
the money together and leave them the opportunity to do it on their own, make
some of their own mistakes.
MM: Are Drawing Flies and A Better Place still being shopped or has that been
retired for now?
SM: It's something we haven't talked about for a while. I'm sure they're
looking into it. With Drawing Flies, they've moved on to their second feature.
Perhaps with that coming out, there will be a newfound interest. It's also a
film that stars Jason Lee, so there's all these elements. Down the road, it
might find a distributor if Jason becomes 10 times more popular than he is
now. With A Better Place, once again, I think people will be curious to see
what they do next. If Vinnie does something else and that does well then
suddenly the interest in the first film pops up. Especially for a video
market. When actors become popular, you see all these video movies pop up. All
these really awful million dollar movies show up in the video store because
they want to put out anything with their name on it. Hopefully, as they go on,
those films will find distribution and have their audience. It's something to
MM: How much say do you have in determining which films View Askew produces
apart from Kevin's?
SM: We sort of do it together. They're presented to us and we talk about
whether we're gonna do it or not. It's a fairly painless process. We know the
people, going in. Usually we had an idea of what we were gonna be reading
before it even got there. The scripts were all very like the people.
MM: Kevin's scripts weren't all written in the order in which the films have
been made. Do you give input insofar as deciding what order they're made in?
SM: Not really. His creative process, as far as writing goes, is up to him.
His inspiration or what's on his mind at any given moment is what's on his
mind. It really doesn't have anything to do with me. When and what he does is
something I completely leave up to him. I don't pressure him. He had written
Clerks and Dogma was always on his mind, but then he started to write a couple
scripts in between and then Chasing Amy was something he pounded out very
quickly. The inspiration comes and he just does it. Some scripts take longer
than others, but I don't really get involved. I just wait until he's done.
MM: To what extent do you give input on casting?
SM: My input's always along the way. My opinion is available at all times. I
usually wait 'til I'm asked. If he really wants to do something and my opinion
is on the fence about it, sometimes it's better for me to just keep quiet. Let
him make the decision and let things happen. Sometimes I can't understand
everything he's doing. I mean, he'll always have a better insight to the
movies than I will because he wrote them. We all carry our own personal
baggage. Everyone who's read the script can understand--they see different
people. When they read it, they cast it in their mind. We all do that shit.
Ultimately, I do it, too. And then you sit down with him and sometimes he has
different ideas. I'm like, "All right, go and do that." I'll just sort of nod.
"Let me kick it around because at this moment it doesn't fit." I wait and
allow it to take shape. 99 percent of the time it ends up making sense because
he does have that insight.
MM: Is there a certain aspect of the whole process--be it on the set or
before--that you're most likely to disagree about?
SM: Oh, where we have issues?
MM: Yeah. Is there a certain area, having done four films together, where you
butt heads the most?
SM: You know, we don't butt heads that much. Being in my position, he is still
the writer/director and at the end of the day I will always defer to what he
wants. It still has to remain one person's vision. It's a collaborative effort
on any given movie, but ultimately all ideas or thoughts--as far as actors,
sets or anything--still have to be pasted into his vision. You can throw ideas
out, but he has to take them. If he puts them into his vision and it fits,
then it stays. But it still has to fit in. If we disagree, it doesn't really
become butting heads. My job is to keep throwing out ideas, being somebody to
bounce something off of. I don't sit there and edit in my head what I'm gonna
say to him because I want them all to be winners. You've got one chance to do
all this stuff. You might as well throw out as many ideas as possible because
sometimes your idea triggers his idea.
Probably in the editing process, it exists more than anywhere else because
it's just the two of us. It's the one time during the whole process where
literally 90 percent of it comes down to just me and him in a room. That's
probably the process where we butt heads the most, but it's hard to even call
it butting heads.
MM: Have you seen any films, doing the festival circuit and so forth, where
you wished you had the time to produce the person's next film?
SM: Sometimes, yeah. A lot of times, also, I just can't wait to see their next
movie. I never get consumed with producing someone's next film. Like Todd
Solondz, who did Welcome to the Dollhouse. I'm very curious to see his next
film, but I never sat there and said I'd love to work with him. I don't know
what I would lend to that. To his vision. He did something great--what the
hell am I supposed to do? If I'm not gonna bring anything to the plate,
there's no point for me. When I watch a film and think it's really good, I
just wait for their next movie. I never really feel like going in and
MM: Do you receive a lot of offers to produce for companies outside of View
SM: It's slowly beginning to pick up. I don't live in L.A., so I think a lot
of people don't bother. Also, with Dogma, it takes me up to another level and
I think the offers will increase. So far, no one's gonna give me a job based
on Mallrats because it's a failure in one sense. My other two movies were so
low budget that I think a lot of people are just wondering how this will do,
with its mixture of stars, money and all the rest of that shit. This is the
movie that's gonna change them.
MM: What's your goal? Do you hope to do some producing apart from View Askew
on the side, or do you hope to part ways with View Askew at some point, or ... ?
SM: I don't feel like producing other movies just because I feel like I have
something to prove. There are probably people out there who think that I
hitched my wagon to Kevin or whatever. I've come into contact with a couple of
them, but I don't really care. It's really childish. I'm not gonna go do other
stuff [in response to that] because then I'm doing it for those people. I
don't want to do anything with those people. If a project came along and I
really wanted to do it, I'm sure I'd do it. At the same time, I'm sure Kevin
and I will continue to executive produce it. Maybe there's something that I'll
produce, but he'll probably be an executive producer. I don't need to create
my own identity. Maybe there will be some project that I'll want to do that he
doesn't. That would be something that I would do on my own.
MM: Are there any particular genres you're striving to produce that you
haven't touched yet?
SM: Well, I'm a fan of action films, but having done action in a couple films,
especially in Dogma, it's definitely not as exciting as shooting dialogue. I'm
not fueled up to do something like that. I'd be curious to do some suspense
stuff. I've been watching The Thing lately--the John Carpenter movie. That
classical horror stuff. Not this new high-schoolers-running-around. I'm not a
fan of Scream or any of those movies. They're just boring as shit. I'd like to
do stuff that is more horror-oriented. If you see my laserdisc/DVD collection,
it's not like anyone would look through it and be like, "Obviously, he's a fan
of . . ." I'm a fan of movies of all kinds. I'm just all over the place.
MM: That said, do you simply consider yourself to be a film producer, as
opposed to a quote unquote independent film producer?
SM: Yeah. I mean, I guess I have the label of being an indie guy because of my
roots but it makes no difference to me, what's the title or not. In the end, I
just hope that people say I produce good movies, regardless of the budget or
MM: Generally speaking, do you feel that producers have a bad reputation, be
it in the business or in the public eye?
SM: No. I think that their reputation is deserving. For the majority of them.
I'm definitely not gonna join The Producers Guild. I don't really like most of
the producers I've ever met.
MM: I read an interview where a French producer said that he's often felt like
the kid in school who's put in charge of the classroom when the teacher steps
out, because it's his job to say "no, you can't do that" when he often wants
to say "go right ahead." Is that something you can relate to at all?
SM: When he's doing the job?
MM: Yeah. When he's on the set.
SM: Definitely feel like an old man because I'm not the same age as a lot of
these other people and I'm paid to be responsible. On a certain level, being
an actor, being a creative person, you're not really being paid to be
responsible. I am definitely stuck holding the bag a lot. With Mewes, it's
like it's a job. Like running around, being like, "Don't do that! Get off of
that! Why are you late?" I don't like sleeping four hours a night. Sometimes
the responsibility will drag you down. Everyone comes to you. There are
definitely days when I don't want to make decisions. At the end of the day, I
don't want to hang out with all these people that have been driving me crazy
MM: Is there a certain group of people that's the most difficult to deal with,
be it the actors or the studio or whomever?
SM: The job is difficult in that I'm supposed to be the nuts and bolts guy.
You're trying to run a group of highly creative, smart directors and actors.
It can be a pain. It's like butting heads a lot of times. I am not a total
nuts and bolts guy all day long, but I am the guy who's saying, "You need to
do this. I don't care about that--just get in there and do it." You try to
respect their process, but sometimes it's just like, "I need you to go in and
do it. I understand you have a process and all this other stuff, but at this
point in time I can't respect that because I need to get through this." And
the studio's hard. In the end, I tend to take everything very personal, so I
get really caged in, like people are poking things at me. I get real
defensive. Part of my job is also to be the complaint box. I get frustrated.
I'm sure that if you ask them, they'll be like, "God, Mosier's a pain in the
ass." They get frustrated and complain to me. Where am I supposed to put all
of this? I understand why they get that way. There's a lot of pressure.
MM: Do you find that they start using you as a therapist and rant about things
that have nothing to do with your job?
SM: Sometimes yeah, sometimes no. When you're making a movie, everything kind
of blends together. When you're spending 16 hours a day with people, your life
and work blend into one because you have no life outside of your work. You
tend to hear a lot of personal stuff. But at the same time, I do it, too.
Everybody starts to share personal stuff, just because that's who you're
MM: In closing, what are your vices and hobbies apart from film?
SM: I like comics, more for the art because I like to draw. I like to travel.
You know, normal shit. I play video games. I've got a Playstation that I fuck
around with a lot. If I get bored, I go online and shit like that. I work all
day and usually when I get home I just want to sit back and relax and smoke