Kevin Smith, tweeting a 'Red State' defense
So, if you're mad that I didn't live up to a story that I actually really didn't tell... well, that's kinda my whole point about the press.
Kevin Smith hyped his "Red State" premiere at the Sundance Film Festival by announcing that he would choose a distributor for his horror flick live, in the screening room. Which he did. It just so happened that said distributor happened to be ... himself.
So now some journalists, bloggers and title-seeking distributors are ticked off that he didn't keep his word. Mike Fleming at Deadline referred to Smith's behavior as an implosion and wrote that he went on way too long during his post-screening speech. Fleming also noted that his stunt brought many distributors to the screening when they could have been trolling the streets of Park City in search of some other worthy indie to champion, a concept Smith would generally stand behind since he's all about the little guy.
Smith is now in the process of coming to his own defense on Twitter, via a lengthy explanation divvied up into multiple 140-character tweets.
Come along as we piece together Smith's side of the argument so far, starting with the excerpt above.
specifically said "...I plan to pick my distributor in the room - auction style..." Then, EVERYONE ELSE said I was selling the movie. But I
never said that. Very specific wording. Then, I watched as lots of bloggers turned it into "He says he plans to sell the film in the room."
Now, on to what Smith is really doing by distributing his movie himself and taking it on a tour to different screens around the country:
Via @SteveLilley "17 years ago, you help create indie film. Now, you're creating it all over again" You're very kind, but I'm just reaching
back to an old model from Hollywood's glory days: we're taking our show on the road. GONE WITH THE WIND (which this movie certainly ain't)
didn't open on 2600 screens; it opened on one. And played there for awhile. Then packed up & moved to another screen in another city to play
there for awhile. We're compressing that process, of course, doing only one screening per night on the tour, but it's their idea, not mine.
Smith also explains some of the financial logic behind his decision, some of which does make sense:
Once we clear $4mil (off the tours, the merch, the ViewAskew Garage Sale), we're able to give our investors their money back. So long as we
don't spend on marketing, every penny after that becomes profit. No more of this "The movie cost $4mil to make but needs to earn $50mil at
the box office to break even." That ALWAYS bugged me: I'd got out of my way to make flicks for as little as possible, then watch folks
spend more to market it. But that's how the business works: EVERYBODY does that. It is the standard. And I've done it, too; for 9 films now.
Now, Smith's plan for turning his Smodcast into a brand along the lines of Miramax:
so I figure "Why not help OTHER cats get THEIR flicks out there." If we can build SModcast Pictures into a brand - the way Harvey & Bob made
the Miramax name stand for a specific kind of film - then it can become a kind of no-budget service label for flicks we feel fit our ethos
or can't find love elsewhere in the world. Indie flicks need special handling, and what we're doing with RedState is simply special-handling
And a few tears:
it ourselves. And, yes - I'm aware there's lots of bile for me & the flick in the blogosphere right now. But there was lots of bile for me
night & morning reading instead: the Twitter feed - where there's been so much enthusiasm & youthful exuberance & zeal for the idea of self
distribution, I'll be honest: I've rolled a couple tears. I'll tell you what I'll never forget about Sundance 2011: as I left the stage last
night, a couple 20-something dudes followed along in the hallway, saying the dug the flick. Then one of them nearly knocked me dead when he
said, with all the earnestness & passion of indie film incarnate "You can do this." And normally I'd say I was just stoned, but since I was
Unfortunately at this stage in the feed, Smith starts tossing around words that we can't share on the Washington Post Web site without getting fired. (Yes, we're surprised it took him this many tweets to get there, too.)
Smith is still going, but we'll just leave his defense here:
if I pull this off, it's gonna be easier for him to get HIS flicks out there. That moment meant the world to me; I'll take it to my grave.
| January 24, 2011; 3:15 PM ET
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