You’re putting yourself in front of so many people just by going like, “I’ll give it a shot.” And yeah, it might not work. And yeah, and when it doesn’t work, some people might be like, “You, you tried.” Well, them, try again.
“Getting started is always the hardest part.” – Kevin Smith
Some people get blocked. Everyone gets a really good idea of like, “I want to do something.” Sometimes you sit around, watch a movie, listen to podcasts, you’re like, “I want to do that,” then they stop, ’cause like, “I dunno how, I don’t have the money.” Money is a hurdle that’s kind of easy to get over.
To just hear how simple it is. Sometimes you just need somebody to be like, “It’s this simple, dude,” and give you three steps. and suddenly you’re like, “That’s it? “I can take it the rest of the way.” Getting started is always the hardest part.
If you’re here listening to me talk about this stuff, you are not a film fan, you’re a film maker. You just haven’t made a film yet. Go out and make your film.
Evan: He’s an American film maker, actor, comedian and podcaster.
He rose to prominence for his low-budget comedy film Clerks, in which he acted, directed and co-produced it.
He’s also known for his long, humorous Q&A sessions which are often filmed and distributed for DVD release.
He’s Kevin Smith, and here’s my take on his top 10 rules of success.
Rule number one is my personal favorite. And make sure to stick around all the way to the end for some special bonus clips. Also, as Kevin is talking, if he says something that really resonates with you, please leave it in the comments below and put quotes around it so other people can be inspired as well. Enjoy.
Rule #1: Take The First Step
You can do what’s expected, absolutely, and sometimes you’ll have the expected or hoped for result. But there’s so many doors into this thing, and I’m not just talking about film, I’m talking about everything that you’re interested in life. There are so many doors, and we all look right at the front door and go, “How do we get through, there’s a massive line?”
“If you want to be involved in something and you want to see something that doesn’t exist, all you have to do is try.” – Kevin Smith
Go to the back door. Go to the side window. Dynamite a hole in the wall. You belong in the room too, you don’t have to wait to be invited into something. You know, I’m here to tell you, nobody will ever invite you into something amazing ’cause they’re like, “You, it’s ours.”
So if you want to be involved in something and you want to see something that doesn’t exist, all you have to do is try. You’re putting yourself in front of so many people just by going like, “I’ll give it a shot.” And yeah, it might not work. And yeah, when it doesn’t work, some people might be like, “You, you tried.” Well, them, try again. That’s it, man. That’s all we’re here to do is try.
Because at the end of this, there’s no winner, we all die. So just try. Try, try every day before they stick you in the grave. And I’m not talking about moving mountains, I’m talking about all that you sit there and go like, “I’m going to do that one day.” Do it tomorrow. Do it right now. Just give it a shot.
Because maybe it takes a day, maybe it takes a week, maybe it takes five years, but you don’t get there without just giving it that first step. And I get it, the first step’s hard, they say the journey of a million miles begins with a single step. What they don’t say is, single step is harder than every other mile that comes after that.
“Life moves forward, man, and people that want to tell you you suck are usually behind you. So, keep moving forward and try, try everyday.” – Kevin Smith
All those miles are easy once you take that first one, but I understand how difficult it is to take the first step. Look at me, I’m a fat man, and I read every day, stop being fat, you’re going to die. And I’m all like, I will, one day. And I never take that first step, man, and so I continue to be fat.
But in everything else in life, I can take that first step. So, I know what I’m talking about, kids. Like, try, just give it a shot, man. Don’t worry what say, and I’ll clear the mystery for you, will say everything, dude. You can build a cathedral, and your steeple will break the clouds, and someone will down below be yelling, “You’re doing it wrong!” Don’t listen to those people. Life moves forward, man, and people that want to tell you you suck are usually behind you. So, keep moving forward and try, try everyday.
Rule #2: Do It Yourself
My first piece of advice, don’t ask anybody for money, man. I’m looking at the wrong place. They’ll never going to give me the job if I look at the monitor.
Woman: You can look at me, that’s good enough.
But I was playing to her. I was trying to make a connection. HuffPost Live, as they say.
Woman: Alright, so you’ve done it. Camera one, go for it.
Don’t go to people for money, man. You don’t need that much money, unless you’re making some kind of underwater epic, you don’t need to go to somebody. If there are no more gatekeepers, I mean there are, if you want their money, by all means, but then you got to take their notes and stuff.
But you don’t have to wait for somebody to tell you, “Yes, you may proceed.” You don’t have to go out there with your hand held out and whatnot. Of course, there’s like Indiegogo, Kickstarter, you can raise a budget that way and you’re essentially not begging for money, you’re pre-selling all your DVDs and whatnot in advance to help you finance your dream.
“You don’t have to wait for somebody to tell you, “Yes, you may proceed.” – Kevin Smith
But don’t get that thinking, kind of incorrect thinking out of your head, man. You don’t have to wait or ask somebody or approach a financier. I did it on credit cards. Bunch of credit cards that I’d kind of put together. I always feel like…
Suze Orman is dying somewhere.
Somewhere, yeah, right? She’s sitting there going, “I said I was starting my first film.” It’s weird, she goes, “I’m starting my first film, but I need money.” I’m like, “Well, then you’re not starting your first film,” or you can start your first film without needing that money at all. Some people get blocked.
Everyone gets like a really good idea of like, “I want to do something.” Sometimes you sit around, watch a movie, listen to podcast, you’re like, I want to do that. Then they stop ’cause they’re like, “I dunno how, I don’t have the money.”
The money is a hurdle that’s kind of easy to get over, particularly in the age of technology where this magical box right here, or the ones we have in our pockets, will shoot a movie, you can edit a movie, you can upload it to YouTube, all from the same device, all within like an hour or something like that.
So, when that technology’s at your hands, sometimes people are a little afraid about like, well, I don’t know how to use it or, they say that making movies takes money, and of course, it does take a little bit of lucre, but not as much as like, that should stop somebody from going out to finance their own dream or go out looking for finance. But that’s the thing I try to curb, don’t ask people for money.
“The money is a hurdle that’s kind of easy to get over” – Kevin Smith
If you do that, then you’d just give yourself an excuse to never really take the next step ’cause you’re like, well, I couldn’t find the budget. Like, a lot of people ask me, they’re like, “I was where you were once, can’t you help me?” And I was like, “Well, the difference was, “when I was where you were, never asked anybody for help. “I just did it myself.” So, it’s always better if you can do it yourself.
You feel better at the end of the day. And then you’re not bugging anybody with your hand out. You don’t owe anybody. Nobody’s got anything over ya. And they’re also not telling ya, like, “Hey, you know that vision “that you’ve been carrying around your whole life? “Change it because there’s something about it that bugs me “and since I’m shelling out the dough, “you got to do that sort of thing.”
First time out, especially, don’t be, God, my hair looks terrible. First time out especially, don’t go looking for money from somebody else, man. Especially that first film of yours, because you’re trying to get you out there. The most you you’ll ever have a chance to do is when you’re making your first flick, man.
Rule #3: Find Yourself
If you’ve got a movie fan, you’ve got a movie maker. Like, I’ve never met a film maker that wasn’t a movie buff first. I don’t care who it is. Whether it’s like, me, or great directors like Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, there are hardcore movie fans who still imbibe. So, I don’t think it’s possible to be a film maker unless you’re a film fan.
So, I always encourage everyone in those Q&A’s where I’m like, “If you’re here listening to me talk about this stuff, “you are not a film fan, you’re a film maker, “you just haven’t made a film yet.” Go out and make your film, because who knows better how to do this stuff than the people that consume it on a regular basis?
And, you know, it’s fine, like, the Internet is a distraction that allows people to express themselves about movies, you know, and you can be funny and crappy about, like crap on movies and stuff, but it pulls you away from like, there was no Internet when I started, so I made a movie.
If the Internet existed, I probably would’ve commented on other people’s movies. But because it didn’t exist, I was like, “Well, let me try to make one of these movies myself.” And now I live in a world where people comment on it, largely I get very wonderful things said, and then I get a bunch of people saying crappy things as well. But none of that exits without me doing something first.
“It started with a first step of going like, ‘Why can’t I do that?'” – Kevin Smith
Without me making something. So, I always like to tell that audience, like, “We’re not different, I was you.” I sat there watching other people’s stuff and I just got to a place where I was like, why them? Why not me? Like, if this counts as a movie, why can’t I make a movie and stuff? Which is funny ’cause that’s what my movies make people do now.
They’re like, “If Yoga Hosers counts, I’m making a movie.” And that’s a good call to arms. I’m not even insulted by that. I’m like, good, whatever makes you step forward and try your self-expression. ‘Cause the only reason anyone knows my name, or my work, and I’ve been doing this for 22 years, I haven’t had to get a real job, is because it started with a first step of going like, “Why can’t I do that?” You know, I see people do it and that’s interesting and I like their stories but never saw my world represented up on the screen and that’s where I looked for myself.
I never found myself in a classroom, I never found myself in a church, man. Closest moments I’ve ever had to finding out who I am, have been in the art. Sitting in a movie theater, watching a movie, man. It’s the dark mirror. You see yourself reflected in a weird way. In reading and listening to music, watching TV, these were the closest moments where I was like, “Oh, I think this is who I am,” and stuff like that. So that’s within everybody.
Rule #4: Express Your Own Thoughts
I’ve spent 21 years of my career chasing a better career, chasing somebody else’s career, because that’s all you have to go by, right? You look at those who’ve gone before you. So my whole career, I’ve always aimed for a mark, and constantly missed it, never hit it. So by my own standards, very unsuccessful.
But in the process of doing that for 21 years, which I believe is three score. One more score and I’m Gettysburg. I believe the idea is, over that time, I established what it is that I do. In my quest to be somebody else like John Hughes, to have the career of a John Hughes, I wound up having the career of a Kevin Smith, which to me is like, eh, whatever.
“Everyone wants to to try the sure thing, and there is no such thing as the sure thing.” – Kevin Smith
But, oddly enough, there are a bunch of people that are like, “I’ll kill to have your career.” And that’s really weird and wonderful. So any time you get a chance to sit down and talk to those cats, you just want to remind them, “Hey, you can have this career, man.” I backed into and locked into in a lot of places, but most of it is just persistence and willingness to try stupid.
A lot of people don’t want to try things that might not work, you know what I’m saying? Everyone wants to to try the sure thing, and there is no such thing as the sure thing. And if you’re looking at somebody else’s work to try to gage your own, as I have for years, you will constantly feel like a failure. Instead, concentrate on telling your story. This is the thing I’m real big on.
Your voice is your only currency in this life, that’s all you got. Things you see and perceive, the prism through which you process all the information that you take in. I’d say you’re the most unique supercomputer on the planet, unique from everybody else. That perspective is valuable, insanely valuable, ’cause nobody else can give it but you. And that’s why it’s always better to shoot weird or shoot different or shoot original as opposed to shoot what works. Or go for a successful model or, as I’ve tried to do, try to be John Hughes or something like that.
You’ll never succeed that way. If you try using your own voice, you try expressing your own thoughts that nobody else could do, that’s your best shot at success, because that’s the thing that you bring to table that nobody else could bring. And if your timing is fantastic, you say the right thing at the right time, you could have a career. So when you get into this business, they tend to tell you to shape it up, take off the edges and make it look like this, “Hey, that worked, do that.” But all we shoot for that thing that you want to do.
Rule #5 Focus On The Positive
I remember all of that, and I remember all the good, though. That’s the important thing. You can’t shake the bad, it’s like, you talk to a hockey player, they’ll tell you every goal they missed, but they can’t remember the ones that they.
You’ll remember the that you miss. And, you know, the negative sticks with us. Negative floats right into the surface, because it kind of allows us to open a dialog with ourselves about incredulity, or maybe I’m not good enough. It allows you to wallow in self-esteem issues and whatnot.
We rarely hear the good. We can’t hear the good, we’re not programmed for that. And I can’t tell you how many times people have said wonderful things to me in print, in real life, and I couldn’t hear it ’cause I’m just listening to this asshole over here telling me I’m terrible at my job. It sticks with you and you have to train yourself, and maybe if you’re smart from the job, you realize, before you even start down the path, that it doesn’t matter what anybody says, the game’s always on your stick.
I’m sorry, it was very tried and tired hockey metaphor. That’s where I am in my life. The game is always on your stick and nobody can take it off and tell you differently. There’s a dude in the stands who’ll tell you you’re doing it wrong. They will always tell you that because critics are people that know where they’re going, they just don’t know how to drive a car.
And so of course they’ll tell you how to drive the car every step of the way, but don’t listen to that. And I’m not saying don’t listen to critics, I’m just saying don’t listen to anybody who says you don’t, or anybody that’s like, the negative’s going to be there. Try to lend an ear to the positive. And that’s something that I’ve really had to train and try to do over my lifetime.
I don’t know why, I’m just predisposed to hear and believe negative. And it’s a nice thing when step up and say beautiful things about the work you do, and that’s what you got to remember. Being in a room with this many people who sit there and groove on it and kind of, they want to be there. We showed this movie on Sundance first time, and it was nice, but wasn’t like this, ’cause on Sundance, you’ve got a lot of interest and you sit there like this. (laughter)
“Don’t listen to anybody who says you don’t, or anybody that’s like, the negative’s going to be there. Try to lend an ear to the positive.” – Kevin Smith
Woman: Amuse me.
Exactly. Who could get through folded arms, man? So, you know, you’re going to encounter lots of that, and sometimes you see it even in Q&A, it’s in the audience, you let your eyes go some place else, like, ’cause that’s who you’re playing to.
And yeah, don’t let the… I’m telling ya, I do regret how much time I’ve wasted. Especially now that I know I’m finishing, I’m like, I feel like Schindler at the end of Schindler’s List, saved so many lives. Like, if I had just, in order to do this did this instead, concentrated on creating rather than whining or bitching or something like that. I’d have so much more to show for my career. But don’t let that trap you, man, don’t let saying throw you off your game, they’re going to say.
And, you know what, they’re right. They’re absolutely right. Everything they say, every horrible thing they say about your work, they’re absolutely right. They’re not lying, that’s how they feel. But make sure you listen to the other people who say all the good, who say exactly what you want to know, who say exactly what you’re begging to hear, what you dreamed about hearing when you wrote that one line years prior, don’t forget to give them the time of day too.
We spend so much time focusing on the bitchers and negative people. Give a lot of attention to the people that like it, ’cause that’s why you’re doing it, that’s why you’re there.
Rule #6: Learn From Your Failures
I’m not going to do what everybody else does. I’m just going to do what I want to do, because life’s too short, and I can’t live up to other people’s expectations, I can only do what I can deliver in this life. So I put that on my wrist to remind me all the time to trust in self.
“There’s no such thing as absolute failure, except sitting there and not trying.” – Kevin Smith
And, you know, I won’t up, and, you know, I made Cop Out, and Jersey Girl. You can things up, but you can learn from that. There’s no such thing as absolute failure, except sitting there and not trying.
That’s absolute failure, but even if you fail at something, failure is kind of success training, ’cause you learn how to do it better the next time. As long as you try again, you’re smarter than the average bear, some people kind of try something, it falls apart, and they walk away.
Rule #7: Create Opportunities
There’s a bunch of cats who, I get it, they look at it and like, “This is stupid. “Why would you waste your opportunities,” or something, they seem to think that this is something given by others. They still see it as, you’ve been given an opportunity. No, nobody gave me jack. I went and created an opportunity for myself. Nobody ever shows up at your door, knocks and says, “Hey, man, you want to tell stories? “Here’s a bunch of money, go make pretend.”
And that doesn’t happen. You got to make steps toward that thing, in the first place. I spend a lot of time trying to explain to people the difference between given an opportunity and creating your world, creating your own opportunity, ’cause if you create your own opportunities, you’re beholden to nobody. And then people can’t say things like, “You shouldn’t do this.” I’m like, “Why?” So long as I keep my budgets low, make sure everyone gets their money back and stuff, I can do whatever goofy thing I want, ’cause I’ll tell you right now, I don’t want to go to my grave one day being like, “I should’ve made the walrus movies,” and then drop dead.
“No, nobody gave me jack. I went and created an opportunity for myself.” – Kevin Smith
I want to be the guy that’s like, “Can’t believe we made that walrus movie,” and then drop dead, be satisfied. ‘Cause we’re I’m talking about reshaping the world or big important issues, man, this is all micro, not macro. It all begins with you. That’s about belief, you can’t expect a bunch of people out there to believe you are this thing unless you be this thing yourself.
Rule #8: Inspire Others
We shot this flick, it’s called Tusk, it stars this guy, Michael Parks, who was in this movie Red State I did three years ago, Justin Long is the guy, he turns into a walrus. And I swear to you, now, this all came from a dopey podcast of us going, “Wouldn’t it be funny if?” It’s hands down the best thing I’ve ever done.
And the whole… I’m not lying, dude, I know I usually say that on every movie that I’ve made, but I mean it. This movie looks beautiful, this is the movie that the guy who made Clerks dreamed about making. ‘Cause I didn’t want to make Clerks, I eventually made Clerks, but what I wanted to make was David Lynch movies.
“You got a captive audience, man, and if you want art in your life, you want more people experience what you’ve had, and all I did was try.” – Kevin Smith
I loved how weird and wonderful David Lynch was, but I didn’t have enough talent to do that, I had enough talent to make Clerks. 20 years later, I have enough talent to go for the things that I dreamed about when I was a nascent beginner.
And part of the reason is like, all right, up your game, see how far you could push it, but the other reason is I got a lot of people who listen to me and watch me and pay attention to the stuff I do.
You got a captive audience, man, and if you want art in your life, you want more people experience what you’ve had, and all I did was try. I had this idea about making a movie set in a convenience store, and I tried it, and it worked. And the life’s been blowjobs and donuts ever since, right? So you want to encourage people to do that.
Interviewer: From one woman, by the way.
Yeah yeah yeah, not that Christian girlfriend.
So you want to encourage others to do that, you want others to kind of feel that, I’m not saying everyone’s got to be film maker, everyone’s got to make TV, everyone’s got to write books, but why not do a little? People get in this mindset of like, “We’re the audience and they’re the film makers, “and we’ll watch, and they’ll make.”
Anybody can do this crap, I’ve spent 20 years trying to tell people like, “Pick up a camera, it doesn’t take much.” Podcast makes it even more of a great equalizer, ’cause that requires a cell phone, a laptop, you sit down with your friends, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your mother.
I’ve sat down with my mother and podcasted, and you just talk. Anybody could do that, that doesn’t take talent. But on that podcast, there were so many people on Twitter from that episode talking about, it was really interesting to hear you guys building the idea. I didn’t know that’s how it worked. And that grabbed me, because that was me 20 years ago going, “How, how do I get from here to there?” And here it was, we’d lay them out a little bit on a blueprint on the podcast, you heard us creating a story, you heard me going like, “Yeah, you could do this.”
How simple it was, it was just demystifying the process a little bit. And you do that as a clarion call to those out there going, “Look, hear how simple it is now?” We showed you how simple it was once to make Clerks, black and white movie, pick up a camera, anybody could do this.
Now with this episode of this podcast that turned into this movie Tusk, it’s this blueprint for anybody, for the kid, for the 13 year old, for the 45 year old, for the 60 year old mother who’s like, “I always wanted to make a movie.” To just hear how simple it is, sometimes you just need somebody to be like, “It’s this simple, dude,” and give you three steps, and suddenly you’re like, “That’s it? “I can take it the rest of the way.”
Getting started is always the hardest part. And you got a bunch of people listening to you, and it’s nice that they’re the audience and I’m glad they’re there to support me, but I want to give it back, you want to support them, you want to be like, “As happy as I am, you can do this too. “As much as you like watching this, “making it’s even better, go do it.”
So this Tusk thing has been more about the audience, oddly enough, and not thinking about my career, my standing, where I stand in the film community, whether I’ve grown as an artist. I let go all that stuff, and all I thought about was like, I just want to inspire one kid to pick up a camera and be like, “If that’s how you make a movie, “I want to do it too.”
I’m just trying to secure my future, and watch good movies, and the way to do that is to show a bunch of people whose voices are different than anything you’ve ever heard before, not the same thing you see on TV or movies, to show them how simple it is, to show them that their voice is their currency.
The thing that you have to say, that special thing, that story you have to tell, nobody else can tell. And you want to encourage people to do that, ’cause that’s all I did, people go, “Oh, you’ve been very fortunate and “what a great career you had,” and the only thing is, I one day sat there, watched enough movies and TV to be like, “Why not me? “They’re doing it, what’s the difference?” And it just took a little bit of Slacker, Richard Linklater from Slacker, demystify the process. So for me, with Tusk and this podcast, the episode that birthed the movie, and the whole process of the movie is just a long way of saying, “Here are your blueprints, go, “do what I did, because it rocks.”
Rule #9: Find The Right Balance
How does one spin so many plates at once? Well, there’s no formula, and to be honest with you, it’s a very dangerous pastime, not as dangerous as, say, juggling chainsaws, but you tend to get swamped by your own amount of projects that you float, the amount of boats that you float, man, could come back, turn around like a Royal Navy and sink your fat ass.
So basically, you got to feel what’s right for you, man. It helps to have a wonderful support team around ya, I have fantastic people in my life, not the least of which is that dog, Shecky! Who make everything I do a lot easier. I come up with ideas that I want to do, and other people actually make it happen, implement it. So that helps to have a team. If you don’t have a team, you got to figure out what that balance is for yourself.
You can’t take on too much, but at the same time, you don’t want to just do one thing. I like to spin a lot of plates, because you put all your eggs in one basket, don’t work out, you’re bored, you’ve wasted all that time. But the fact of the matter is, back in the day we used to make a movie, and then work on just the movie and wait till the movie was out, and then figure out what to do next.
It would lead sometimes to like, let’s say you made Jersey Girl. You make the movie over the course of a while, it comes out, and then phoom, that’s it, it’s over in a week or two weeks. So I like to spin as many plates as possible. That way like, if this thing isn’t panning out, or this thing is too far off in the distance, or this ain’t going to happen the way I want it. Boom, we could shift over to something else.
“You can’t take on too much, but at the same time, you don’t want to just do one thing.” – Kevin Smith
So that’s why I do it, but when you do, be careful. You got to find the right balance, I wish there was a formula to give you. There’s not, it’s all up to you, it’s inside of you. Just to as much as you can before you get to the point where like, “I can’t take it anymore,” don’t kill yourself for art. Although if you’re going to kill yourself for anything, art would be the best reason, but never kill yourself in this life. You’re ever going to kill yourself, try being Batman first.
Rule #10: Take Your Shot
And I go into the emergency room, and I was like, “Donald Smith?” And they’re like, “I’m sorry, he passed.” And they took me into the room. There’s my father, laying on a gurney. Just dead, still has tubes sticking out of him, they were trying to intubate him or something like that, but just motionless, quiet, no breathing whatsoever. And it was weird, to say the least, you always know eventually your parents are going to go, but I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t ready for that moment.
And then I walked out, and I went outside and had a cigarette, I was still a cigarette smoker in those days. And I was just thinking about being half an orphan, or halfway to being an orphan, or something like that. My brother comes out, and I was like, “Oh, can’t believe it, right?” He goes, “Yeah, it’s pretty tough.” And I said, “How was it?” ‘Cause my brother was there, he was staying with my parents. And Donald, without missing a beat, my brother goes, “Dad died screaming.”
And I was like, “What?” And he goes, “Dad died screaming.” I asked, “What do you mean?” He was like, “Well, he woke up, “and he was kicking the sheets off “and screaming about being on fire. “And he was so hot and so hot, “and get him water, and screaming. “The screaming got louder and louder, “and it reached a fever pitch, and he died. “And I don’t know how else to say it, “but dad died screaming.” And that hit me like a Mack truck. And I remember thinking, “Oh my god, in this world, “where even a good man like my old man “is going to die screaming, there’s no point “in not trying to achieve every dream that I have.”
This is my eventual end, one day, that’s it. And I really felt like, “Man, that’s like…” This is my future, we’re all probably going to go out screaming, so the best thing to do prior to that is to try to pack that life with as much wonderfulness, fun, productivity, surround yourself with people that are going to help you do that. ‘Cause in this world, there’s not a lot of support.
There’s a lot of negativity, there’s a lot of cynicism. Even as I sit here and tell that story about my father dying, I guarantee you there’s a cynical head in this house, maybe more, sitting there going, “Who cares, move on, tell a joke.” The world is full of why, man. You tell people something, they’ll tell you why. Throw a rock and you’ll hit somebody with why. Like, “Hey man, I want to make a movie.” “Why, why do you think you could do that?” “Why, why, nobody else is doing it, why are you doing it?” There’s so much why.
You go out and you find why not. You surround yourself with why not. People who are just like, “Why not?” Where you’re like, “Hey man, I’m going to try something.” “Why not, let’s give it a shot.” People who try to help you do your dreams, make your dreams come true, and you do the same for them, we’re all in this together, and it costs nothing to encourage an artist, that’s why I get up here for almost 20 years now after the movie, man.
There ain’t a lot of film makers get up after the movie and spend more time than the movie itself talking, but I’ve been trying to impart one simple lesson for nearly 20 years, anybody can do this. You know what I’m saying? I wasn’t born into a business or the film business, or born with a mic in my hands. I have no discernible talent whatsoever, man, I have no connections to the business, we’re from New Jersey and stuff. I got lucky, somebody picked up the movie and boom, I was off and running.
“Give it a shot. Go out and try” – Kevin Smith
And part of that manifest, when you’re brought into the indie film community, part of your job, part of your honor, part of your privilege, is to make sure that keeps going, to encourage other people. To tell people it’s worth the shot, just like Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” It’s always worth the shot.
Now, if you’re talking about, if what your shot is, is you’re like, “I’ve always wanted to kill 12 children, Kevin.” Don’t take that shot at all. I’m not talking about that, you know, I’m talking about artsy, you know, writing a blog, making some music, making a movie, making a cupcake store, a knitting store, putting together a YouTube clip, just anything that’s not, “Oh, we must do this “because it’s part of my job, or this will get money.”
Some you just do just to see if it could be done. Live a why not life, man, because we’re all going to die screaming, so make sure, when you die screaming, you’re totally fulfilled, you’re like, “I took all the shots, I did it, “I went after everything I wanted to, or at least tried.”
Take the shot, the shot is always worth taking. Whether it’s a dopey thing like podcasting or writing a book or writing a blog, think about the encouragement you get, when you encourage an artist, think about the potential that comes out of it. You tell a dude, “Good job, man.” That person maybe one day writes that blog that you meme out to the entire world, ’cause it says exactly what you’ve always wanted to say, but couldn’t yourself, or they write that song that you play over and over after a loved one dies ’cause it means the world to you, or they make that movie that is the one you cling to when everything is going wrong in life, oh, you pop that in and things aren’t bad for two hours.
All that comes from encouraging an artist. Nothing good comes from discouraging an artist. So for 20 years I keep coming up here and going, “Go out and doing, why the aren’t you doing this, “it’s so fun, you should do it, take your shot, “I took my shot and it’s nothing but and donuts.” So I’m here to tell you, man, give it a shot. Go out and try.
Evan: Thank you guys so much for watching, I made this video because TheNeckshot asked me to. So if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it down in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do.
I’d also love to know, what did you learn today from Kevin, what is the lesson that is most immediately applicable to your life or to your business? Leave it down in the comments below, and I’m going to join in the discussion.
Finally, I wanted to give a quick shout out to Gourav Junior, thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word, and making that funny cartoon to go alongside it, I really appreciate it.
So thank you guys again for watching, I believe in you, I hope you continue to believe in yourself and what your one word is, much love, I’ll see you soon.
Be Willing To Succeed
We weren’t encouraged to dream, so now, I’m a standing testimony to the possibility of normalcy having everything they want by simply heading toward it.
I have no talent, no discernible talent, no abilities and stuff like that, but I’ve got will. I don’t have skill, I’ve been told that a zillion times by the critics over and over, I know that I don’t have skill. But I have will, and will will take you a lot farther, man.
Everyone in this room is a unique, powerful content generator. Out of the million stories to tell that have not been told, and they’re different than mine, and hers, and his, and his. Everybody could do this. I’m an absolute sham, and I’ve done it for 22 years, man.
Anybody could do this, I’m not saying be the film maker. Just self-express. Let ’em know you were here, tell ’em what’s here and here. We’re all in this together and we all have the answers to each other’s questions and problems. We just have to relate to one another. And that this is the way it is, is to just self-express, whether it’s in social media or something like that, which is better from where you’re just saying like, “This movie sucks.” Tell people some that happened to you, man, share your story.
I always advocate podcasting. Podcasting is responsible for the last two movies I made. That might scare you away, don’t let it scare you. Podcasting is for anybody, sit down, you have the equipment, it’s on your phone. You sit down, you talk to a friend, talk to a loved one, talk to your. You send it to iTunes, and boom, you’re a podcaster. Sit down and record with people that you love. We have this weird world where we know what everybody looks like, ’cause we shove cameras in each other’s faces, you will never forget what anybody looks like when they die. But when people die, first thing you lose is the sound of their voice, man.
And we don’t run around with tape recorders recording everybody’s voices, so use that, the decision to self-express, as a reason to sit down and record with people who you love, people who may not be here much longer. But most importantly, do what you can, put yourself out there, let everybody know who you are, man, and share. I’ll get something out of it, for years, I’ve loved this.
I promise you, you self-express in any way, shape or form, and I’m not saying podcast or movie, but those are definitely some options, you get out there and share who you are with people. This will happen somewhere over the course of your life, this has happened to me multiple times, and it’s been profoundly moving every time it does. Go out and talk, just talk, just share, tell about your life and stuff.
One day, somebody will come up to you and say, “Something you said saved my life,” and they will tell you a long anecdote about how some throwaway comment you made made all the difference, and everyone in this room can make all the difference for somebody else, man. Get out there and, and yes, social media is fine for tagging around things and being like, “Oh, take a look at that.” But it’s also good for a lot more than that, man.
It’s fun to come watch stuff, it’s way more fun to make it. I implore you all, go out and be the content generators you are and tell some stories. Thanks for being here, everybody.
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