Kevin Smith‘s latest thoughts on Clerks III see him not entirely decided about how he’s going to bring it to life. He’s kicking around some ambitious ideas, though, at the same time as balancing more commercial concerns.
You can see him discuss the possibilities in this video at around 13 minutes and 10 seconds, and I’ll transcribe the salient points underneath.
Back when I was trying to figure out how to do Clerks III to make it interesting for me, because that’s the thing, it ain’t gonna be interesting for anybody else unless I’m like “Oh my god, this is the thing I’m most in love with right now,” I was trying to figure out ways to recreate it and make it interesting rather than just simply doing a movie and stuff.
At one point I was thinking of it doing it on Broadway. I was like “You can do it as a limited run, man, six months” and somebody was like “If you do a six month Broadway run you will never make money, In fact, you’ll lose people money.” I was like “I didn’t know that,” so that went away.
One of the things I talked about was doing it episodically online which would be kind of fun for me, it would be a way of getting away from doing it with a studio. And then I thought about doing it that way but marrying it with something else… I want to do Clerks III as a book first.
I want to do episodic chapters so that as I release it people can read the whole thing, see what would it look like. I get to go inside the character’s heads, I get to tell Year One origin stories. The first chapter is Dante and Randall meeting in kindergarten and stuff like that. All the stuff that I can’t do in a movie.
I’m a stoner so I want to investigate the inner life of every character and I can’t do that in ninety minutes where people are like “You make some fucking Star Wars jokes, some dick jokes and then move the fuck on.” So in a book I can get in there and really be artistic with it and have fun with it and stuff.
And if I’m doing it in pieces, man, as opposed to just writing one big fat book, I’ll be honest with you, the audience is gonna influence it… I know a lot of people will be like “That’s ridiculous, it should be your artistic statement” but my whole thing, my leitmotif, my entire career has been about audience interactivity. Without the audience none of the Clerks stuff that leads to me sitting here with you ever happens.
So for me to kind of write it episodically and to let people read it chapter by chapter and then pipe in and say “Oh man, I can’t believe it’s this” it could actually allow me to change direction.
I know there’s a lot of people saying “Why would you want to, you’re an artist”, well now I’m a new media artist and a new media artist involves the audience. And that’s something that I’ve built for nearly 20 years at this point anyway.
It feels like I’m going to work on something that’s not a film, a film would be the ultimate expression of what Clerks III is meant to be, but if I’m working on this kind of book version of it, the inner life of the mind of the characters and what not, I think it will be fun to be influenced by the audience every step of the way.
First I thought about doing it as YouTube, then I thought about doing it as a book… the money will always be in doing it as a feature. If I want to get real creative, yeah, I’ll break it down and do it online, and yeah, I think it would catch on.
If I was doing it with myself and puppets it’d be one thing but I’ve got to do it with Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes… so everyone gets a say and a lot of them, I’m sure would be like “Let’s do it where the money is, man” which would be doing it as a movie.
Smith later says that online radio or podcasting is where his head and heart lies the most because the scheduling is easier, and he calls it “storytelling at its most basic.” The model doesn’t seem to be a possibility for Clerks III in his mind, though. He doesn’t seem to want to just sit and rattle it off.
Or maybe it just hadn’t occurred to him yet that the Clerks story and characters could survive in the oral storytelling mode…
There’s a new animated Jay and Silent Bob feature on the way and we can expect to see its trailer this week, apparently.
Thanks to Deadline for the embed.