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An Evening with Silent Bob

Here’s my lengthy retelling of the night I met Kevin Smith. It’s probably littered with errors as I didn’t have the energy to proof-read. I don’t expect anyone to read the whole thing so I hope you enjoy skimming it, snoogans!

It’s still difficult to process everything that went down last Monday. Not only did I get to see the latest Kevin Smith film six months ahead of its release date, but I got to meet Silent Bob himself. How did I get into this situation? Well, it starts like this; my cousin Kyle is the Sr. Manager of Artist Relations at Avid (the company that makes editing software) So since Kevin Smith’s latest flick Red State was made with Avid, Kyle went on tour with the film as a representative. Then a month ago I get an email and Kyle tells me the tour is coming to Seattle’s McCaw Hall. Seeing as my brother and I are both filmmakers in our own way, Kyle not only invites us to the show but also with the promise he can get us into a private Q&A. How private? Six people and that’s including my brother and I.

Monday afternoon I head out to Seattle and through a series of taxis, buses, and a pickup from my cousin, I arrive at the prestigious McCaw Hall. There I get my ticket and fancy shmancy backstage pass, a first in my life. I meet the other film students around the same time with two of them hailing from my former Bellevue College and two others from Vancouver Film School, the school that Kevin Smith himself dropped out of after only a few months. I’m curious as to how this group was assembled, I mean I know why I’m there (I’ve got connections) but what about these film hopefuls? Raffles… Wow, the fact that these students are here due to nothing more than chance? It made me feel kind of guilty, especially since Kyle is the one guiding and instructing all the students regarding the night ahead. Paul arrives about a half hour later after accidentally being taken to Renton by a South African cab driver.

The show is delayed by an hour, so Paul and I see this as the perfect opportunity to do what else… Go to Dick’s Drive-In. Kyle comes with and we all chat about this and that while trying to convince Kyle of the greatness of Dicks Drive-In (He lives in Phoenix, Arizona these days). We head back to McCaw a bit before 8 PM where the 100 year old usher guides us to our seats. Seems strange that everyone that works at McCaw is at least over 75. I guess it’s getting harder and harder to retire in this economy. Our seats are far back but the view is still fairly good, not long after the lights dim and Kevin Smith takes the stage.

I was well aware of Kevin Smith’s reputation as a big talker, so I was prepared for a long night. He introduced the film with a simple enough breakdown, that Red State was loosely based on the Fred Phelps family (a real life group of religious nut-jobs) and that it wasn’t a comedy like Clerks but a horror movie like Jersey Girl. I think it’s great that he has such a great sense of humor about both his failures and successes and after a few more dick jokes he presented us Red State!

Rather than going into detail on the specifics of Red State (I’ll do that in an upcoming review) let me skip ahead. So were watching the movie, which is entertaining (despite what some critics have written) when my cousin taps me on the shoulder. As he points behind me I turn to see who else but Kevin Smith on his laptop sitting behind me. I guess he likes to tweet during screenings of his movies, but it just blew my mind that he could submerge himself into the audience like that, awesome?

So about 85 or 88 minutes later (it was a short movie) Kevin Smith took the stage once again. Naturally, I knew what was coming, the crowd Q&A which I’ve heard can last anywhere from a few minutes to hours, this one had to be at least over an hour. I suppose I’d enjoy this more if I’d been a regular attendee, but remember I get to meet him later, so honestly that’s all I can think about. The questions were typical of Smith’s fans; obscure references, questions about Kevin’s podcasts, and of course the couple of d-bags that see this as an opportunity to network. This included a girl with a comic script and a guy who was like “Dude, I have an Epic camera I could help you on your next movie.” The audience were all sighs and shrugs towards these moments and I was no different, but Smith was always gracious and kind.

After what seemed like an eternity of bizarre yet humorous gabbing the show cleared out, though in a way my night had just begun. All the students gathered as we waited for the go ahead from some guy, I think he was Kevin’s road manager or something? We all talked about the movie as we waited and most of us liked it. I was surprised because I went in ready to hate it and no, my mind wasn’t changed because of the circumstances. I mean sure it was disjointed but it had some big laughs and bigger scares. Finally, we get the green light and head to a small room behind the McCaw Hall stage.

The group (chaperoned my cousin and the guy that works for Kevin) takes us into a room where all the students gather around a table and not long after Kevin arrives and takes a seat across from myself…. and what’s the first thing he says? He looks at my X-Files shirt and says “Oh man that’s an awesome shirt.” Awesome, I mean I knew Kevin Smith was an X-fan, I am too, but the fact that he actually mentioned it? That made my day. So we talk about the episode for a few minutes and then launch into the Q&A. Here’s a brief summarization of the questions.

– “How do you feel about critics sites like Rotten Tomatoes?”
: Naturally Kevin hates stuff like that, even though he has a lot of critic friends. He went on to talk about art films saying “If you’ve made an art film and it gets a 75% you’ve fucked up.” I don’t know about that, but it was a lot of fun to hear his opinions.

– “Can you remember anything negative or positive anyone has said about your filmmaking that has stuck with you?”
Wow, a lot talk about his critics thus far, though it was fun to hear him crack wise about the people who hate his work.

– What’s your stance on film school? “Are we just wasting our money on film school when we should be spending it on our own films?”
: That question was mine and I was glad to hear that Kevin doesn’t consider higher education to be a waste of time, even though he’s a film school dropout. Basically, he talked about how lucky he was and that probably wont happen to everyone, so we should hone our craft and get educated for as long as he can. He feels that it’s a great time to learn things and meet people and there shouldn’t be any rush to make a film as soon as you can. He went on to talk about Denny’s and herpes but for the most part the answer I liked to hear.

Next this girl was like “I noticed in the credits that you didn’t have any women on your camera crew?”
: Wow, rude much? Kevin wasn’t sure as he doesn’t do any the hiring on his films so it was then that his manager/friend/guy/associate spoke up and said, “Yeah we did, Mary, she ran focus.” So c’mon, you have this one opportunity to meet Kevin smith and you start calling him out? What’s up with that?

Personally, I feel I hit it off well, some people are so serious. I was just trying to make him smile, think I did alright. Afterwards he signed autographs and took pictures. I got him to sign a copy of his book “Silent Bob Speaks” to which he lovingly signed “Hey John, I fucking love you.” Classic… And the rest is in the books, thanks for reading if you managed to read the whole thing.

“There’s something a little off about this picture of Kevin and Paul.”

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