The Business of Kevin Smith
You've seen his films, bought his DVDs and followed him on Twitter.
You know him as an actor, writer, director and founder of View Askew Productions and the SModcast Podcast Network. He's also the author of bestselling books and smash-hit comics. Kevin Smith has built a highly successful and profitable media empire over the course of his career, and he's done it on his own, sometimes-controversial terms.
In the realm of Direct-To-Fan Marketing, Kevin Smith's only true peers are Radiohead, Trent Reznor and the PIXIES. His true super power is the ability to think and act like a fan — a skill he's used to build a loyal audience that sticks with him across all manner of projects and platforms.
Moderator Bob Moczydlowsky, VP of Product Marketing for Topspin, will lead a discussion with the polarizing-but-never-boring entrepreneur on the ins and outs of direct-to-fan marketing, the disruption of Red State's 2011 release and his future beyond filmmaking.
Don't miss "The Business of Kevin Smith."
Smith has spent early twenty years as a writer/director making CLERKS, MALLRATS, CHASING AMY, DOGMA, JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK, JERSEY GIRL, CLERKS II, ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO, COP OUT and his newest film RED STATE, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
Mystifyingly, Smith also sports three DVD releases of his various college Q&A’s (AN EVENING WITH KEVIN SMITH, AN EVENING WITH KEVIN SMITH 2: EVENING HARDER, A THREEVENING WITH KEVIN SMITH) as well as an EPIX Original Q&A special KEVIN SMITH: TOO FAT FOR 40. He’s published two books full of essays and blog postings (SILENT BOB SPEAKS and the New York Times Best Selling MY BORING-ASS LIFE), as well as Shootin’ the Sh*t with Kevin Smith – a collection of the best material from SModcast, Smith and producer Scott Mosier’s weekly podcast. Smith has also written for both of the major comic book giants DC and Marvel (the award-winning Daredevil, Spider-Man and the Black Cat at Marvel Comics, and the award-winning Green Arrow, Batman: Cacophony, and Batman: The Widening Gyre at DC Comics).
Aside from the films he’s directed, Smith has served as a producer on indie efforts including Bryan Johnson’s Lionsgate release VULGAR, multiple Academy Award winner GOOD WILL HUNTING, and a pair of Sundance-selected documentaries including REEL PARADISE and SMALL TOWN GAY BAR.
In addition to filmmaking, Smith occasionally moonlights as an actor, appearing in LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, and CATCH AND RELEASE. He also voiced the animated role of the farting Moose in DOOGLE.
One of the first filmmakers to venture into cyberspace, Smith has built his fan base primarily on the web, via the thirteen year old binary village at www.viewaskew.com. Smith took the cyberworld by storm when, in February 2007, SModcast debuted online. The back-and-forth banter of Smith and Mosier has kept on for over four years paving the way for the SModcast Podcast Network.
From its January 2010, launch, smodcast.com has grown into a full-fledged network, hosting a full week of original programming featuring SMonsters of Talk, who regularly claim the top slots on the iTunes as the Best Podcasts of 2007 and 2010. Audiences around the world have created a following for the weekly shows including Tell 'Em Steve-Dave with Bryan Johnson and Walt Flanagan; Hollywood Babble-On with Ralph Garman & Kevin Smith; Plus One with Jennifer Schwalbach & Kevin Smith; Puck Nuts starring the Tell 'Em Steve-Dave crew; Jay & Silent Bob Get Old starring Jason Mewes & Kevin Smith and Blow Hard with Malcolm Ingram. Smodcast Network also hosts special event podcasts such as Red State of the Union: Q&A's with Kevin Smith; Highlands: A Peephole History; SMarriages; SMoviemakers; SMeet the Press and SModimations. In September 2010, SModcast officially began playing on SiriusXM's "The Virus" channel, alongside Opie & Anthony and Ron & Fez.
The success of SModcast brought to life Smith’s idea of a black box theater in Los Angeles where he and his team could perform live podcasts whenever they wanted. In July 2010 SModcastle – the world’s first live podcast theater – opened. SModcastle quickly became the house that ‘Babble-On’ built. Garman and Smith packed audiences in weekly, routinely selling out the 50 seat venue – a feat matched only by Mewes and Smith when they launched Jay & Silent Bob Get Old. After months of these gems easily selling out their tiny SModitorium, the hit shows moved their growing audience to The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club, at Universal CityWalk. In May 2011, SModcastle moved permanently to the newly renamed Jon Lovitz Podcast Theater with a live 24-hour pod-a-thon, Poddammit.
Smith’s podcasting success did not end with SModcastle. In May 2011 S.I.R.: SModcast Internet Radio, premiered with 24 hour a day, seven days a week programming featuring live and archived Smodcast Network programs. S.I.R.’s two new daily shows are Plus One Per Diem, a morning show with Smith and wife Jennifer Schwalbach, and Jay and Silent Bob Get Jobs, a mid-day show featuring Smith and Mewes. S.I.R’s four hours of live programming each day are also available on-demand in podcast format after the live broadcast. The S.I.R. suite of shows is available through www.smodcast.com and Stitcher’s free mobile and iPad™apps.
And if film and digital domination aren’t enough, there’s always retail: Smith owns a comic book store named Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey.
As for the hood ornaments he’s collected, there’s plenty of tin on display: the Filmmaker’s Trophy at Sundance for CLERKS; the Prix de la Jeunesse and the International Critic’s Week Awards at the Cannes Film Festival, also for CLERKS. He also has an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for CHASING AMY, and a Humanitas Award for GOOD WILL HUNTING. Smith also received the Defender of Democracy Award from Norman Lear’s People for the American Way organization for his production of DOGMA. CLERKS II won both the prestigious Audience Award at the Edinburgh Film Festvial as well as the Orbit Dirtiest Mouth Moment at the MTV Movie Awards. For his writing in the comics field, Smith has received a Harvey Award, a Wizard Fan Award, an Eagle Award, and saw his GREEN ARROW: QUIVER named as one of 2003’s Best Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Service. In the fall of 2002, the town of Paulsboro in New Jersey named a street after him: Kevin Smith Way. In 2004, the Video Software Dealers Association gave Smith the DVD Visionary Award, and in 2005, he collected the Independent Spirit Award from Britain’s Empire Magazine. In April of 2006, this award-whore was given UCLA’s Jack Benny Award for Comedy, and in 2008, Smith was given the Maverick Award by the Woodstock Film Festival, as well as the Vision Award from the DGA-affiliated Filmmaker’s Alliance.
But he’d chuck it all for his wife and kid. Smith married wife Jennifer in April ’99 and celebrated the birth of their daughter, Harley Quinn, in June of that same year. The wedding was not white, to say the least.