Kevin Smith: Connects Again, Says Pirates Lead To Converts

from the indeed dept

A few months back, I wrote about how director Kevin Smith (who's most well known for Clerks, but has done plenty of other stuff as well) is showing how the old CwF + RtB formula works in the movie business as well. Smith has gone above and beyond (and crazy far beyond that) in connecting with his fans in all sorts of ways. Beyond just making cool movies, he has a fun (mostly) weekly podcast, a blog (which he doesn't use as much any more), web forums and he regularly does Q&A sessions that are somewhat legendary and hilarious (check YouTube).

Recently, he jump onto the Twitter bandwagon and hasn't looked back (it explains why the blog has gone mostly silent), and he interacts with all sorts of fans that way. Last week, he announced that for Labor Day, he would do a 24-hour Twitter marathon, taking and answering questions from fans. It started up around 8am Monday morning, and was fun to follow along with (including some back and forth with Ben Stiller, who lives in Kevin's neighborhood, and has a house that Kevin wants...). Yet another example of connecting with fans -- though, every here and there he interspersed it with links to things to buy, such as a book made from some "best of" moments from the podcast, called Shootin' the Sh*t with Kevin Smith.

Smith seems to have the whole CwF+RtB thing down cold -- and has for many years. But, given all of that, I had no idea what his opinion was on the question of "piracy." While he notes, at one point, that Disney will own the rights to his movies forever, someone asks "How much money do you think your projects have lost to piracy?" to which Kevin responds:
See, I think "How many more converts did I get from piracy?"
Bingo. The smart creator these days looks to use "piracy" to his advantage. Smith has done that and more. Hell, we all wish that our favorite creators made plenty of money any time anyone viewed/heard/experienced their content -- but that's not the way the world works. So why not figure out ways to use what the world is doing to your advantage? Many have figured it out -- and yet the industry bigwigs and lawyers continue to insist it's impossible. Oh, and I'm looking forward to (finally) seeing Kevin Smith do a Q&A live later this year as part of his fall tour -- for which I was happy to give him money, once again, disproving Hollywood lawyers insistence that fans just want everything for free. Luckily, Smith doesn't appear to be listening to the lawyers in his neighborhood, and it seems like he's better off for it.

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  1. icon
    thublihnk (profile), 8 Sep 2009 @ 5:06pm

    Sure, this is all fine and dandy, I support Kevin Smith in his artistic and business like endeavors. The man's a genius.
    But he is a pain in the ass to follow on Twitter. I mean, god, left my computer alone for an hour yesterday, came back to 200+ tweets from one guy.
    That part of this article should be refiled under (Mis) Uses of Technology.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Matthew Krum (profile), 8 Sep 2009 @ 5:11pm


    That's weird, I seriously just finished watching An Evening With Kevin Smith 2 (Part 1) on Netflix's Watch It Now, I open my phone, refresh Tech Dirt and this is on here. Netflix only has Part 1 available for streaming so I was contemplating downloading Part 2 using bit torrent. Even if I "Pirate" it or not, I'm still going to buy it because it's so freakin' entertaining that I'll watch it over & over and I know that his DVD's usually have awesome special features. So, bravo Kevin Smith, for viewing "piracy" as something to adapt to and use to your advantage and I wish you many more converts. Thank you for being a sane person in "Hollywood."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    DJ (profile), 8 Sep 2009 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Weird...

    "a sane person in "Hollywood.""

    1 down.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    slander (profile), 8 Sep 2009 @ 6:02pm

    That's Just How it Happened...

    Up until I first saw the trailer for JSBSB, I had never heard of him or any of his movies (that's right, I have no life...happy now?) When it hit the newsgroups I downloaded and watched it, and I was impressed as all get-out.

    Never did get the chance to see it at the theater, but I did buy all of his DVDs up to that point. So I pretty much became a (paying) convert of his because of piracy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Krubuntu (profile), 8 Sep 2009 @ 8:49pm

    Re: That's Just How it Happened...

    Exactly, and thank you. I've done my share of "illegal" file sharing but if I like something, I pay for it. I have YouTube and P2P of all types to thank for discovering so many new artists, musicians, authors, etc. If they're good, I buy their stuff, if they suck, I don't and I quite seeding, watching, what-have-you. I know I may be a minority but I don't get how the MPAA & the RIAA say that "one download equals one failed sale" of an album, ticket, whatever. I wouldn't have even heard of a good 30% of creators' work I've purchased due to finding them through the means I mentioned above. Oh, and Kevin Smith has had his own run-ins with the MPAA and their Gestapo;

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    charethcutestory, 8 Sep 2009 @ 9:14pm


    You mean you got more than 200+ tweets yesterday, during his much-publicized "24-hour Tweet-a-thon"? The one where he said several times in days beforehand that you should unfollow him, or block his tweets for the duration due to the number he would be sending? Maybe you should pay more attention.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Call me Al, 9 Sep 2009 @ 5:21am

    Re: Re: That's Just How it Happened...

    I follow the same principle. If something is worthwhile then I'll pay for it and these days I buy a lot more dvds, singles and albums then I used to.

    Unfortunately though I think we are a minority but perhaps a large enough one that they still make money due to the effect of piracy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Thriftygal, 9 Sep 2009 @ 5:29am

    Pirates lead to converts

    I don't download myself but I was just having this conversation with friends who do, that there are certain shows on in the States that take forever to come to the UK and the only way to see them without spending months avoiding spoilers is to download them. I know loads of folks who used to pay to download shows off Itunes but then lost that option when the shows stopped being offered, so now have to go the piracy route. I'd happily pay hard cash for the shows I love if it means I'm not at the mercy of some random network scheduling - after all, I buy my faves on DVD - but the entertainment companies don't seem to realise there is a paying audience out there. It's like they don't want our money....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Call me Al, 9 Sep 2009 @ 6:58am

    Re: Pirates lead to converts

    I had thought that they were adapting to this and being more sensible with their scheduling, in particular when they release films. Sadly it now seems this isn't continuing, various films that I am really looking forward to aren't coming out in the UK for several months after their release elsewhere (not just in the US)... this is precisely the kind of thing which makes me want to download the film. I am sitting here with my money waiting to buy an overpriced cinema ticket and they still spit in my face.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    eriesisgod, 9 Sep 2009 @ 12:03pm


    I Started @ 2 hours in, followed all day till about midnight PST. Had to get some sleep because I was getting my teeth pulled next morning. But got the last 30 min before I left for surgery the next morning. AND IT WAS AWESOME, HILARIOUS, AND WORTH EVER MIN OF IT! He answered two of my question and made my day. Its all still up so if you missed it, put a few hours a side and have a read! @thatkevinsmith is the fat man!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2009 @ 12:04pm


    he told you to unfollow for the day or try twitter-snooze, he is a genius, you should have took his warning and advice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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