— Sweet Story, Bro (@sweetstorybro) June 29, 2016
If you ever get the chance to go and watch writer/director/podcast magnate Kevin Smith speak, then, quite simply, do it.
I’ve written about Smith and his style of public speaking before on this blog, having highlighted a particularly meaningful monologue he made regarding encouraging artists and the creatively inclined, which, in a shameless plug, you can check out here.
But despite my familiarity with Kevin Smith, his wondrous ability to take a single question from an audience that fills an hour and a half, and his overall opinions on the creative landscape, I still found myself excited at being able to see him deliver his mantras live.
When the e-mail from the Prince Charles Cinema appeared as a Notification in the top right of my screen, it took me about 10 seconds of deliberation before I had already punched in my card details. Hell, I was one step away from simply throwing money at my monitor to secure the tickets.
The man just has a way of cutting to the core in what he says, in such a genuinely moving and passionate way that you can’t help but be inspired by the end of it.
Even if “the end of it” is 20 minutes over the scheduled end time, causing a hectic, full on butt clenched, power walk back to Charing Cross for the last train home.
The only thing is, I’ve heard it all before.
In between the multiple podcasts I listen to that feature him, as well as his Evening With performances, Kevin Smith certainly doesn’t internalise his feelings. Yet being there, listening to a personal hero that I, and so many, hold in such esteem for his honesty, passion, and writing, I found myself swept up in all that he had to say.
Even the horrendous, non stop journey from work to the Prince Charles Cinema (which included having my train line entirely cancelled, thanks to some guy getting hit by a train) wasn’t enough to stymy my enjoyment in listening to him wax lyrical about “pushing whimsy.” And this is before considering that the actual event was in order to host the London Premier of his latest movie, the second of the True North trilogy, Yoga Hosers.
I won’t go into detail about the movie here; perhaps, if there’s interest, I’ll review it on Sweet Story, Bro (if you’d like this, don’t hesitate to let me know: @sweetstorybro), but I will say this: it’s better than Tusk. Make of that what you will.
I’ve mentioned in the past that Smith often has a, somewhat frustrating, habit of inspiring and motivating those he speaks to, whilst forgetting a key element: he’s Kevin Smith. We’re not.
So, with that in mind, the ease in getting a movie made and financed off of a concept developed via a podcast conversation with a friend is something that isn’t necessarily achievable. Unless your name is Kevin Smith.
Granted, at one point he wasn’t ‘Kevin Smith’. He was a guy who maxed out multiple credit cards in a gamble on himself and his little movie that could. But that was 1994. It’s 2016, and the ease in having your voice heard is harder than it ever has been.
In between platforms like YouTube and Twitch, as well as everybody now having a podcast, sifting the chaff to get to the wheat is a huge investment of time. You can start something with relative ease, that much is true. But is there production value? Is there advertising or awareness? Do people care? Perhaps more importantly, WILL people care?
The internet has brought us all too closely together, and modern technology has put us in better control of our creative destinies than ever before. But this is just as true for me as it is for you and the thousands of other people who are clamouring to have their voice heard.
It’s almost too much to bear when you think of the sheer number of other people who are all trying to do the exact same thing. It’s intimidating. Some may wonder why they should even try – what’s the point, I’d just be a tiny drop in an ocean.
And there may be truth to that concern. It’s scary, it’s humbling and, honestly, it’s kind of exciting. Who knows what knew ideas will be explored with the amount of people flexing those creative muscles.
Think about it: your next favourite movie is being stressed over right now. Your new favourite book is sitting on the hard drive of a frustrated writer with no idea how to get it into your hands. Your new favourite band is ready to drop their first single onto SoundCloud, worried that no one will ever hear it.
The internet has made the world smaller. This isn’t necessarily a totally good thing. But, it’s also given a voice to people who would otherwise never have had the opportunity to share their ideas with a fanbase they didn’t know existed.
Kevin Smith addressed this himself during the Q+A session, stressing how your voice is your most valuable, individual currency. In a room filled with hundreds of fans, we each had a unique outlook on life, with personal stories that would dramatically affect the story we could choose to mould. It’s not a new message, but is still a powerful one to hear.
Honestly, on more than one occasion, I was acutely aware of Thea throwing her gaze towards me, like Sauron looking for that fucking ring, as Kev dropped yet another pearl of wisdom that she considered applicable to my current situation with Temporary.
Remember: You be you. Your voice is the only currency in this world that you’ll never have to earn or fret about losing. So spend it often.
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) August 24, 2014
One thing I’ve always believed in is this: no matter your idea, no matter how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ it is (bearing the subjective nature of these concepts), there is an audience out there for it.
The key is in somehow bridging the gap between your work and their hands.