PEOPLE: Hey there, everyone. I'm Patrizia DiLucchio, your host, and on
behalf of PEOPLE Magazine, I'd like to welcome you all here tonight.
PEOPLE: You know who Kevin Smith is!
Or you wouldn't be here...
PEOPLE: I wanna mention that he has one of the koolest websites I've seen in
weeks! And I'm gonna give the URL: http://www.viewaskew.com
Kevin Smith: C'mon, c'mon - make with the questions.
PEOPLE: John Pierson (whom we had on a few months back) told us you made
"Chasing Amy" for $250,000, far more than you spent on "Mallrats."
Do you have more creative freedom with a budget under seven figures?
Kevin: Wait, wait, wait - you mean far less, right??
PEOPLE: Yep--far less.
Kevin: Absolutey. With a low budget, that fear of box office performance is
You don't have to worry about how much the flick's going to make.
PEOPLE: When you wrote Chasing Amy, did you know that
it was amovie that
you'd direct yourself?
Kevin: God, that wasn't very enlightening on my behalf, was it?
PEOPLE: Not really. We want the War & Peace version of the answer...
Kevin: I wish there was one.
Sometimes, one word covers it.
This was one of those times.
PEOPLE: How do you balance screenwriting with directing? As a
screenwriter, your name's been linked with some big budget pictures
(Superman.) Do you enjoy writing for other people or is it strictly
a way to finance yr own projects?
Kevin: I'd say it's a little of both.
The money's great, writing for others,
but you have to give up a certain amount of integrity
Writing and directing for myself
is where I buy that integrity back.
When battling for your soul, the balance is quite easily struck.
PEOPLE: Well, lesbians have certainly been in the
news lately, though obviously your film was in the can long before
"Ellen" and Ellen both came out. What do you make of the Ellen
Kevin: IT's a shame that in 1997 it's even a controversy.
In an ideal society, this "controversy" wouldn't even exist.
I'm glad she's doing it; I just wish it wasn't so damn newsworthy.
PEOPLE: Why did you use the world of comics -- both the artists and the fans
-- as a backdrop for "Chasing Amy"?
Kevin: It really come fom being a big comic fan, and growing weary of having
constantly explaning my hobby.
People think because you're not twelve, that you shouldn't be reading
comics. they don't
respect the medium as the true art form that it is.
One of the only truly purely American art forms.
Showing people working, playing, and dealing in the field of
four-color images is my way of trying to validate
an interest. I guess it's kind of self-seving.
PEOPLE: I'd have to say that comics are one of the few art forms that
understand the meaning of icons...
PEOPLE: Kevin, the rumor on the Net is that you were working on a script for
the new SUPERMAN franchise. And then...something happened. Nobody
seems to know what it was. Can you tell us, please?
Kevin: One could either be witty or honest.
Let's go for the latter.
I wrote two drafts
of a script for Warner Bros., they seemed to love.
Then Tim Burton was hired and everything went south.
Now granted, a director is allowed to do whatever he wants with a
project he's signed onto.
Tim Burton was hired for his vision. I guess he sees Superman a lot
quirkier than I.
I wish him the best, but if Superman winds up wearing all black with
shears for appendages,
don't blame me.
PEOPLE: Superman's quirkiness is his normalacy...
He's an emmigrant for goodness sake!
PEOPLE: Were you surprised at the critical reaction to "Mallrats?" It got
dissed big time by the critics. Were they being fair?
Kevin: I don't think so.
Mallrats bore the brunt of being the film that followed Clerks.
As such, it was measured against our first effort.
Had Mallrats come first, I don't think you would have seen so much
But for some resaon, the critics thought Clerks was Shakespeare
and Mallrats didn't live up to it.
If you ask me, they're the same movie.
It's that one's a little smarter than the other.
But in the end it all works out, because they love the new one.
PEOPLE: Along those same lines, would you be interested in being involved in
a big-budget film (bigger than "Mallrats," for sure) or do you find
that you're comfortable making lower-budget, smaller-scale films?
Kevin: Far more cozy in the low budget arena.
More money carries the burden of higher expectations, and in the
(visually), I'm a very flat, simple fimmaker, with zero visual style.
Helen Keller could probably fashion more visulaly intersting film
Being that's the case,
my flicks just don't require a lote of money, because they're all
And in film (visualy), talk is cheap.
PEOPLE: In that case, tho, why not just write novels?
Kevin: Pays better in film.
And you get to meet more interesting people.
And becasue it's more fun and not so damn solitary.
Plus, in books, a lot of descriptive pasages are required. I'm more
of a dialog man.
PEOPLE: What's a better way to learn film making...college, a night-shift at
the local 7/11, or a job with Roger Corman?
Kevin: all of the above, and none of them.
There is no right or best way. It's as varied as the success stories
you hear about.
For me, it was the credit card, no budge route. For John Singleton,
it was tthe
There's a million other routes.
(far too many to list here). But no one is more valid or better than
But I will say this: Fuck film school!
It's a big waster of money.
Everything you need to know you can learn from books.
or actual practice.
PEOPLE: Film school cues you in to the Old Boyz Network, tho, doesn't it?
How useful is that?
Kevin: What network would that be?
If it exists, I've never seen it.
PEOPLE: The secret Hollywood cabal!
PEOPLE: Critics and others have complimented you on the non-exploitive way
you portrayed Alyssa in the film....How were you able to draw such a
well-rounded character? How did your gay friends react to her?
Kevin: Alyssa was kind of easy inasmuch as she's a one-of-the-guys girl.
Basically, it required writing for her like I was writing for any
male character --
just working from the more feminine side.
As for how my gay friends view her, to my face, they're positive, and
I take them at face value.
PEOPLE: You worked with Shannen Dougherty, one of Pop Culture's Hall of Fame
Bad Girls in "Mallrats." Why does Dougherty get so little respect
as an actress?
(That's from someone who watches Beverly Hills 90210)
Kevin: A lot of people seem to confuse her offscreen personality with her
They shouldn't. Shannen is a fine actress.
But at the same time, shes grown up in the public eye.
Hence, every foible associated with youth and growth
has been played out on the cnavas of the media.
And it's easier to belive negative things about people, more so than
Positive gets overshadowed, and then you have shit like "Shannen
You may not like Shannen, but she is a great actress. It'd be nice
if people kept that clear. I did.
PEOPLE: What's a bigger problem to indies: finance for production or access
to distribution channels?
Kevin: I'd have to go with the latter.
Anyone with access to a credit card can shoot a movie.
It doesn't gaurantee anyone will see it.
PEOPLE: A lot has been written about the fact that studio executives and
producers have dominated the Hollywood of the 80's and 90's more than
directors. Do you agree? And if so, why has this happened?
Kevin: I don't think that's a phenomenon distinctly 80s or 90s.
As long as there's been a movie businesss, there have always been
They're not going away anytime soon.
Either you learn to swim, or get out of the pool.
No one forvcs
anyone to work within the studio system.
If you don't want to deal with ececutives, go the indie route.
for the record, it'd be nice if all executives were creative as well.
PEOPLE: Besides lousy stories and poor production, what's the biggest gaffe
indie filmmakers make when trying to peddle their first film? I've
read about "completion bonds" etc. and my head goes into a spin.
Beyond the creative, what business realities must a first-timer
Kevin: Anyting one needs to know about the business aspects of indie film
can be found
in John Pierson's book "Spike, Mike, Slackers, and Dykes."
John is far more eleoquent at anexpanaiton of this than me. He's
more than I'll ever know about the business aspects of indie
PEOPLE: I'm gonna echo Kevin's remark about John Pierson's book.
The publisher, by the way, is Hyperion.
It's a terrific book --and PEOPLE Online had John on as a guest a few
Kevin: Thw same people who published the Clerks/Chasing Amy screenplays. (little plug for me!)
PEOPLE: You should check out the transcript.
PEOPLE: Plugs R Us!
PEOPLE: We're going to ask Kevin two more questions...
and I'm going to appologize if we haven't gotten to yr question
There have been a LOT of questions.
Kevin: Go ahead, ask three.
PEOPLE: Once again, here's the URL of Kevin's website:
You got it!
PEOPLE: Now that you've finished yr New Jersey trilogy, do you think you've
gotten Jersey out of your system, or will you always be rooted in a
Jersey point of view?
Kevin: You can never get Jersey out of your system!
Kevin: or your clothes!
Kevin: or your hair!
Kevin: The Jersey aroma never dies.
I don't think I'd ever leave it behind as subject matter..
They tell you to write what you know.
and belive me, I know about living in Jersey.
Besides, someone's gotta give this state its props.
PEOPLE: So, you finally gave yourself some dialogue as Silent Bob -- who
tells a rather poignant story about a woman he once loved (hence, the
title "Chasing Amy")...Was there an Amy in your life which inspired
Bob's tale? And will Jay and Silent Bob be seen in any other of your
Kevin: Jay and Silent Bob Dominate the next flick, Dogma.
As for Amy, it's kind of between her and I,... and everyone who's
seen the movie.
PEOPLE: Got it. Silent Kevin!!!
PEOPLE: Okay, for our last question.
PEOPLE: It say right in this book--
"Interviewing Great Directors (page 105)"
that we HAVE to ask you about yr cinematic influences.
Who were they?
And movies did you love as a kid?
What did you watch over & over?
Kevin: I think one is influenced by everythuing one has ever seen. Bad
stuff is very influential
PEOPLE: Late night cable movies...
Kevin: for being toe role model of what you NEVER want to make.
The good stuff is what you aspire to, and hope to surpass.
To that, you should watch EVERYTHING. It all makes an impact.
Jaws. I was a big Jaws fan...
all of the John Hughes movies.
Those movies about wars in space or something--I forget what they're
Kevin: It wasn't until I was 21 that I discocvered an array of films
PEOPLE: Planet Battles!
Kevin: starring people I'd nvever heard of.
..and those flicks are the major eason that I'm on People Online
My hat's off to them!
PEOPLE: Hey Kevin!
I want to thank you for braving the new frontiers of technology
& logging on with us tonight.
Kevin: No prob!
I do it every day!
PEOPLE: I figured you did.
Kevin: over atthe Viewaskew web site.
PEOPLE: You have that feel...
Kevin: (shameless plug!)
PEOPLE: Can I send those people with unanswered questions over that way?
Kevin: Yes, feel free!
PEOPLE: Cause there were a lot of questions that helas! went unanswered here
Kevin: They're always welcome.
PEOPLE: Once again, that URL, ladies & gentlemen:
Make it the most popular URL in cyberspace!
Go see "Chasing Amy!"
Kevin: All right!
PEOPLE: And read the John Pierson transcript while you're at it!!
Drink a glass of warm milk...
and go to BED!
Kevin: Thanks! Good night!
PEOPLE: Good night Kevin.
Good night, everyone.