We've been talking a lot about how musicians are discovering good business models in connecting with fans, and giving them a reason to buy
, but clearly the model works in other areas as well. In a recent interview with writer/director Kevin Smith (probably most well known for Clerks
), he talks about his rather constant interaction with fans
Once media was created that allowed a dialogue to open between filmmakers and audience, there was no way I couldn't embrace it. This is a communications medium, film. We do this to get a reaction and hear what people have to say about our work. It's enormously flattering when someone (or lots of someones) are interested in you enough as an artist to wanna know about your life and opinions beyond the actual work that brought you to their attention in the first place.
And, because of that, he knows that that loyal fan base will at least be interested in what he has to offer:
What I get from the fan base is unconditional support. They may not like all the flicks I do, but they'll give each one a shot--which is the most you can ask for from any audience. Contrary to what the haters think, the fan base doesn't lounge around like a giant caterpillar, taking hits off the hookah of my collective body of work; they're normal people with normal lives who just relate to what I write/say. And the relationship doesn't end at the theater: These are folks I play poker with. I spend my birthdays with them (onstage or at a home-made prom). I played hockey against and beside them just last week in Brantford, Ontario, at Walter Gretzky's 3rd Annual Street Hockey Tournament. It makes sense we'd all get along, as we share a common interest: Kevin Smith films. But, Jesus--you can only talk about those for so long. And when the "Then what'd Jason Lee say?" chatter dries up, you find they're more friends than fans.
Indeed. You can count me among those in that group. I haven't necessarily liked all of Smith's movies, but his is one of the few podcasts I listen to, and I know that whenever stuff he works on comes out, I'll take a look and see if I'm interested in buying. In adding the connection
element -- even though I've never communicated with him in any manner whatsoever -- I'm automatically that much more interested in buying what he has to offer. And, he tends to make it worthwhile. He doesn't talk about it in the interview, but he and his team/friends have always made sure that the extras they offer are totally worth buying, such as by adding all sorts of extra DVD features, a book about his life (taken from his blog) and various videos of his legendary Q&A sessions (which this interview was a warmup for). Just another example of the value of connecting with fans in some manner or another.