Archive for December 20th, 2010

SMonologue #2
Monday December 20 2010 @ 1:29 pm

Via @syracuselaxfan: Miramax/Weinstein call about Clerks 3?”

No – but you raise an excellent point I’d like to address here. #SMonologueOn

When you read a story about this deal happening or this film being announced, the wheels of whatever it is tend to turn v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. And that’s fair: we are talking about millions of dollars being spent on some dopey, make-pretend bullshit. Point is, when you read the story about it online, that’s our information-currency culture feeding on theoretical news. The ink’s not dry on that deal yet. It’s all ideas at this point – the absolute BEST state of being in the movie biz.

Ideas cost NOTHING & require ZERO risk. And yet, oddly, the LEAST amount of time’s usually spent in the idea stage before a small fortune is dumped on a whimsy that’s still half-baked.

Case in point: Cop Out.

When I was brought in, there was talk of spending $70mil on a Will Ferrell/MarkyMark version of A COUPLE OF DICKS (the pre-COP title). Then WB didn’t wanna pay the actors’ full quotes, so off go they go to do the over-$70mil+ OTHER GUYS. WB then made WAY less expensive deals with Bruce & Tracy, I cut my salary by over 80%, and we were off to the races with what became a $32mil flick (which is why, hate on it all you must, but – as per two high-level studio sources & one of our producers – Cop Out turned a profit already; it did what it was designed to do). All of that came from Jeff Robinov’s idea stage. The idea that the movie could go on without Will & Mark resulted in Cop Out. And while some may harp about whether the flick was their cup of tea or not, the people who paid to have it made were content we all hadn’t wasted money.

The idea stage of the process has always been a years-out kinda thing. I’ll talk about a project that’ll sometimes take years to happen. That’s because the idea itself is WILLING the film into existence.

RedState was like that: I first talked to @JoeUtichi about it in London, over three years back. I knew then that it wasn’t gonna happen easily, so I “threw my hat over the wall”, so to speak, and FORCED myself to make it happen. Over 3 years to get to the point where the cheapest movie I’ve ever made since Chasing Amy became more than just chatter; it became a reality.

Sometimes, you gotta believe FOR everybody else – and sometimes, you do it by yourself for a long time. Then, if you’re lucky, someone like @TheJonGordon starts believing with you – first theoretically, then in practice.

And two people believing is the start of a congregation. You build a congregation of believers and you try to build a cathedral. Sometimes, it’s just a church. Sometimes, it’s a chapel. Folks who don’t build churches will try to tell you how you’re doing it wrong, even as your steeple breaks the clouds. Don’t listen.

But before all of that, you gotta start with the idea – and not just the idea for the story/movie/novel/installation/song/podcast/whatever. You gotta start with the idea that you can do this – something that’s not normally done by everybody else. Since it’s not second nature to take leaps of faith, you have to SMotivate yourself. Even invent language, if you have to. Embrace a reasonable amount of unreasonability.

But nobody else can believe in you if you don’t believe in what you’re doing. I’ve willed almost all the stuff I’ve done into existence, and if I can do that, anybody can do that. So start your chatter: talk about what you’re going to do. Don’t pursue a role, LIVE that role. Like my sister told me, back when I confessed I wanted to be a filmmaker…

“Then BE a filmmaker,” she said.

“That’s what I’m saying: I wanna be.”

And that’s when she gave me the million dollar advice…

“No – BE a filmmaker. You say you wanna be; just BE a filmmaker. Think every thought AS a filmmaker. Don’t pine for it or pursue it; BE it. You ARE a filmmaker; you just haven’t made a film yet.

And it sounded artsy-fartsy as fuck, but it was CRAZY useful advice. A slacker hit the sheets that night, but the CLERKS-guy got out of bed the following morning.

So plant the seeds early & take as much time as it requires to will your goals into existence. Keep a few going, you’ll never get bored. Expect moments of discouragement, but don’t wallow in them. Remember that if an ass-hat like Kevin Smith can succeed at something like film or life, then what the fuck is stopping YOU from doing the same? I was not ‘to the manor born’. This shit was not manifest, nor was it ever offered.

And just remember that, when you read about some deal or project, sometimes that’s just some bluffy motherfucker trying to change his or her game by willing some shit into existence.

Only guy I ever heard of who got an amazing life literally handed to him was Hal Jordan. Don’t wait for a dying alien to give you a magic ring: just do it yourself, Slappy. We can’t all be Superman, but we sure as shit can train hard, and with loads of practice, we can elevate our simple, non-Kryptonian selves to be the Batman. And who the fuck doesn’t wanna be Batman? Batman has an impeccable moral compass. He’s clever & mysterious. And when fucktards get sassy, he punches them in the face. Plus, that car.

Ideas cost nothing yet have the potential to yield inexplicably long careers & happy lives. So go ahead: dream a l’il dream. #SMonologueOff


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