Sound/Interaction Research Report: from 11292582.
– Writer/Director Kevin Smith and his latest methodology of releasing his 2nd official independent film ‘Red State’ in the year two thousand and eleven.
The easiest way to understand the methodology of the release of Red State that Mr. Smith has used in conjunction with the spouting age of this new media (the media of the internet to be precise), it is best to go all the way back to the beginning of his career, and just briefly grasp how his underlying talents have set a path for his future as filmmaker and filmmaking for that matter, Smith has hasted himself a vanguard in the potential future of film distribution.
Kevin Smith, I believe, has an astonishingly courageous gift to articulate and therefore speak, regardless of his chronic use of profanities, in front of audiences from fifty to five thousand plus strong, and, has been doing so for the entirety of his career. It was in fact in conjunction with the release of his first independent film ‘Clerks’, circa 1994, which he embarked on that journey, along with his film career of course, swiftly applying himself in the public speaking domain.
Smith was conducting Q&As across the U.S.A. for the release, and soon to be cult following, of his self-written, directed and edited feature film Clerks. Soon being realized Smith had a good thing going; the film itself was becoming a fortune, increasingly. Following, Smith, being the well-roused speaker that he is, I feel grasped the concept of Q&Aing with the fans, and it was no doubt becoming a successful venture, and continued to be, with his many other bodies of work. Looking at it all in retrospection, it can be quite clearly seen, his public speaking approach, was to become a prominent part of Smith’s future, that being said, no doubt it was/is beneficial to his film career and his style to film-making, however more so to the valid development and the dynamic, that I strongly consider, that has assembled a path to his current state, that is, his fan driven esoteric media enterprise SModcast.com, but more on that later.
In participating willingly, and openly I must say, with pretty-damn-good reverence to his fans, Smith performed (and still does perform) countless Q&As throughout the past seventeen years, and in doing so, he would be, though more correctly said – he does sell out major auditoriums/theaters US wide, and in his experienced career, revealing on the river, a full house, at such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House.
Miramax, (founded by the Weinstein Bros in 1979) who had bought and released Clerks theatrically, was seeing and/or aware of (though experiencing nevertheless) the benefits of his ability to acquire and maintain a first hand connection with his very own audience.
With that point, and the point of the report, Mr. Smith’s debuted his approach to an up and coming, and to be eventually, in contemporary, a thriving media form. In the yr 2007, on the 6th of Feb, knowing where the puck was going, he recorded his first internet broadcast podcast called SModcast #1: Fisting Flipper – In which our heroes primarily puzzle over when “Oriental” became a derogatory term, as well as touch on the following subjects: the very tall, “Pump Up the Volume”, parental groping, the detritus that gets washed off a newborn, the notion of a Birth-Day celebration, mobile units, bear bars, and Wolfie. Ranging on average, over an hour and change in running time every episode, up to the current as I write, #184: Johnny Appleweed – In which our heroes search for heroes. – released Sept 18th 2011. Kevin speaks, not alone in the podcasts, but with his long-time friend, colleague and producer of ‘Clerks’ (who would, during various Q&As, would be the voice of the budget, articulating a 27,575USD), the vastly intelligent and serene Scott Mosier, being the ‘M’ in SModcast, with that said Smith is obviously the ‘S’.
The two embarked with the new media, creating an askew podcast, with no restrictions on it’s purpose and content, simply because, I believe, the internet’s overall uncensored voice. And it is an immense forever-growing voice at that, in which the podcast was uploaded and first released on www.quickstopentertainment.com (the 6th day of February, 2007). I must say that it no longer exists on the website as it is now www.asitecalledfred.com. The podcast currently resides at www.smodcast.com, ultimately due to the growing size of the podcast(s), their popularity and most importantly the growing purpose (yet to be fully understood by the conservative media, but I’m sure they’ll come round). It frankly needed its own website. Which brings me closer to the point of the argument of the report, that is: @ SModcast.com, Kevin Smith has successfully created a vast podcast network (of which, majority of the podcasts are recorded live, at locations all across the United States of America, and the more primary shows, if not on tour, are recorded live at Jon Lovitz’s aptly named Podcast Theater at Universal City Walk, Hollywood), but not only that, there is a 24/7 live and streaming internet radio broadcast called S.I.R. (SModcast Internet Radio). And it is on this network, the SModcast Podcast Network, ladies & gentlemen, where Mr. Smith has successfully advertised (along with ‘Twitter’) his latest independently released film ‘Red State’ with a budget from investors of $4,000,000 USD, and to the success of their investment, Mr. Smith has made back that 4,000,000 USD in September, before the film’s official cinematic release date on Oct 19th, 2011 and the revenue built on the film now, is obviously benefitting everyone accordingly. But enough of this informational setup and down to the purpose behind the entire report…
How, do you say? If you don’t say, well, I’m going to tell you anyway. As I stated earlier, with Kevin’s ability to maintain a good and sincere relationship with his audience I gather mainly from (and my own experience), the convincing exhibit of his personality, and allowing his fans to have a current and honest display of his life and his career, through and throughout the podcast network. From this, Smith has kept the audience updated, not only with his charming and word-colourful anecdotes of his life, family, friends and his career, but now with an independent edge on his film-making (acutely, film distribution). And it is distribution like never before! To approach from the dynamic of the internet, that it can permitted to say, it is like never before (Smith states in podcasts across his network and beyond, that it isn’t something new, that it is done similarly to Gone With The Wind 39’, he is taking his film on the road, country-wide, and encroaching global, the advantage Smith has lies with his immediate and intimate connection with his audience) and lightly touching on Kevin’s copious activity on his Twitter account, which he alone can reach an audience of his ‘followers’ consisting: 1,880,656 (give or take), Mr. Smith needs not to go any further in the conventional film advertisement realm, than an arms reach to his trusty Mac appliance, whether it be Iphone, Ipad or I(future catchy appliance name). That alone can access well over a million people and he can tell them directly, when and where ‘Red State’ will be playing, and believe it or not, they have, and they will, turn up. All this, Smith simply, from maintaining a wide-reaching audience and from being savvy with this new media, can do this, and frankly why not. This is without doubt a noticeable endeavor, to the extent where it has veteran film director F.F. Coppola turning his ears towards this new media angle, and naturally it will be developing much further…
Thus, Smith has set up on his podcast network, a particular podcast, ‘Red State of the Union’ that was first released on the ninth day of November, in the yr of 2010 and it involves every prominent cast and crew members from the feature. The podcast is recorded live with presence of an audience, with Kevin being the curative MC, and going through the entire film making process, in a Q&A fashion, per-say one episode w/ Producer John Gordon, second involving Cinematographer Dave Klein, third the Casting Director Deb Aquila, then the first AD Adam Druxman and so on and so forth, to the leading cast, such as Michael Angarano and Kerry Bishe. All build up to the last (so far), being with veteran actor, the great Michael Parks. Featured in this, Parks’ very own podcast, Smith allows to who ever wants to listen, Mr. Parks explaining his rise and fall (and rise) of his Hollywood career. The anecdotes told by Parks mainly, follow Parks (obviously) from being a prominent venture for film-makers in the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood, to an exclusive interview he had with the ‘Produsher with the lishp’, who after wanting to make him a ‘shtar’, had him blacklisted from Hollywood in the seventies, leaving Mr. Parks unable to work properly in the industry since, that is until the young and ambitious Quentin Tarantino, who was an avid fan of Parks made use of him frequently in his latter feature films, i.e. Dusk Till Dawn 96’, Kill Bill volume I 03’ & volume II 04’ etc, where, upon divine intervention I’m sure, Kevin saw Parks act, and being encompassed by his impeccable deliverance, offered Parks the Role of Pastor Abin Cooper, Parks accepted, making it, to me especially, a very anticipated film. With all this vital information, at the tips of the audiences’ fingers, involvement becomes incidental, and anticipation, paramount.
Since the initial completed screenplay up to production and post-production (noting that Kevin wrote, directed and edited the film, so by time of the film’s wrap-party, he was able to show the cast and crew a completed first cut) of Red State, Smith has allowed his fans to be current and a major part of the entire experience. Fact of the matter, any of the fans who listens to the network, or at least one of the podcasts regularly, is more than up to date with his life and media of his career, whether it be the truth behind the general media’s exposition of the superfluous TF-TF saga, or better and far more apparent and current, the U.K. tour of Red State, Smith, through this media form, has kept alive, to say simply, his career, his voice, and a spark for independent film, and has the talent to keep his audience, as of myself, and many others, interested with Red State, and what is upcoming for Mr. Smith’s journey next…excelsior Kevin, excelsior…
 An ‘inside’ term that Smith uses frequently in his podcasts. Coming directly from the former Canadian ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky, who is regarded as the greatest NHL player of all time (and is notably referenced in many sources, one is being the Encyclopedia Britannica), despite his un-noteworthy stature, speed and strength, Gretzky had/has unrivalled intelligence for the game that gave him adept consistency to anticipate where the puck was going to be and therefore execute the right manoeuvre at the right time hence “knowing where the puck is going”. Smith regards the term to the way he has acclimated his career and path and adopted such media outputs as podcasts to advertise and release his feature film Red State.
 An acronym from the Southwest Airline ordeal that Mr. Smith unfortunately had to go through, all audio-documented (obviously) on the network, but specifically in #106: Go fuck yourself, South-West Airlines, Feb 13th 2010 – in which, surely, our hero is too fat to fly. And don’t call me Shirley.
Red State poster from: http://www.dumbgun.com/dumbgunword/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/red_state_final_2.jpg