While folks like “Veronica Mars,” Zach Braff and Charlie Kaufman made waves by using crowdsourcing efforts to fund their next projects, had history turned out differently, Kevin Smith would’ve beaten them to the punch. The filmmaker, who wears his indie cred and outsider(ish) status like a badge of honor has never turned to fans to ask for their hand in funding a movie. But as he reveals in a recent interview with KCRW, he once did consider it for his horror “Red State,” but gave it a second thought when even the mere suggestion caused some negativity to stir on the internet.
As he explains to Kim Masters, in early 2009 when he was in Canada doing press for “Cop Out,” he revealed plans that he was going to launch a crowdsourcing campaign for “Red State.” He had $20,000 already invested in a website — redstategreen.com — and was a few weeks from launch, but as soon as word started going around about this venture, he got cold feet when his ego was bruised. “Some unrelated blogger, [who] wasn’t in the room, just read somebody’s else article, talking about [how] ‘Kevin Smith is going to start begging for his next movie.’ The moment I saw that, I froze,” he said. “The high school part of me, the last vestiges of high school that said ‘Ooh, I care what other people think about me,’ seized me.” He promptly canceled plans.
Smith did press on though, making that film, famously buying it from himself at Sundance in 2011, and taking it across the country in a roadshow format that allowed him to make back on a small profit on the venture. But he didn’t put the idea of crowdsourcing entirely away, and as he explains, last fall he thought about doing it for “Clerks 3,” with a launch around Thanksgiving. Yet again, he put the plans on ice when Jeff Anderson (Randal) balked over payment issues regarding “Clerks 2” with the studio, not to mention a slightly tangled rights complication as well. It turns out, The Weinstein Company have the right of the first refusal before Smith can make the picture. So where does it stand now?
Well, a script, shooting schedule and 3 budget options are sitting somewhere on a desk at The Weinstein Company. Should all go to plan, Smith will knock it out this fall and return to Sundance in 2014. But it requires a greenlight from the Weinsteins who have just under a movie left to get back to Smith with a decision. But if it all goes according to plan, it won’t be too long before we’ll see the final adventures of Randal and Dante. Listen to Smith’s full comments below.