Kevin Smith And VOD Releases

If you’re on twitter (who isn’t?) and follow Kevin Smith you know he likes to tweet.  A lot! Sometime Smith uses twitter to promote himself; sometimes he uses twitter to update us on his sex life with his wife.  Then there are times Smith uses twitter to respond news reported on him that he feels is inaccurate or untruthful.  Smith also uses twitter to communicate with fans, answering some of their questions.  These replies can get quite long, but are often very interesting but they do fill your timeline up.

A few weeks ago Smith answered a question on his twitter account about whether or not he would ever release one of his films using Video On Demand.  Below is the question and Smith’s response to it:

Via @rpm1275 “read a great article about VOD & new releases over weekend, is this a route you can take with RedState?” Can we? Totally. Will we? Eventually. But NOT up front. I know it’s a digital age, and most people would rather get their entertainment at home (me included). But I’m a filmmaker from a generation that still feels like it fails if our flicks don’t debut in a movie theater & have a theatrical run. It’s illogical, I know – especially when the costs of releasing a flick are as high as the budget in some cases. But, to ME (this is how I feel in regards to the movies I make ONLY), a VOD debut would feel like a straight-to-video debut back in the 90’s. I know the business mode lends more toward a VOD environment for specialized cinema… but that’s the biz part of showbiz… and the SHOW half of the equation still burns too brightly in my big ol’ gut to allow for a biz-ness decision that the 21 yr old Kev who STARTED this journey, ‘lo those many years ago, would find unacceptable. We change & grow if we’re lucky, but we can’t shake the quirks that make up who were are as individuals. My makeup doesn’t allow for VOD first. VOD eventually, but I’m a movie-maker; I GOTTA show my stuff in a movie theater first. It’s stupid & conventional & antiquated, but all those people gathering in a building outside of their homes… that still means something to me. To have the power to make someone leave their comfortable home & spend money on some story you’re telling is the mead of gods. In a life that starts solely so that it can eventually end, the knowledge I can still get people to come to a movie theater to see my shit is oddly comforting.

The response to the followers question is an interesting, honest and well thought out answer regarding the future of how his movies are distributed and seen.  We hear a lot from studios and distributors about the benefits of releasing films to VOD carriers but not as much from the filmmakers who make the films. Kevin Smith is a filmmaker who usually makes small films that don’t get as big as a release as say Inception.  One would think that Smith would want his films to be distirubted on VOD to make more money and to get a chance to be seen by a wider audience.

In his response to the question Smith says that as a movie maker he needs to have his film premiere in a movie theater otherwise he considers it a failure.  He compares debuting a film on VOD to a film going straight to video back in the 80’s and 90’s.  I wonder how many more filmmakers feel the same way as Kevin Smith does towards VOD?

Personally when I see a film is on VOD I don’t think of it as a failure, especially if it’s playing in theaters simultaneously.  I think of it as an opportunity to get a bigger audience.  I have never ordered a film on VOD while it was still in theaters but that’s because I live in New York City.  I’d personally rather go to a movie theater then watch a new film in the comfort of my home but there are plenty of others that feel the opposite on the subject. I like to use IFC Films as an example of using the VOD platform to get a wider audience.  They have the IFC Center in New York City where IFC Films play.  Thanks to VOD if you don’t live in New York City you can still see an IFC Films release during its theatrical run using the IFC In Theaters VOD service.  You don’t have to wait no more for the film to be available on DVD and Blu-ray.

I don’t think Kevin Smith is wrong for not wanting to use VOD.  You also can’t accuse him of being afraid of technology.  Before twitter Smith had his message board where he would interact with his fans much the way he does on Twitter now.  He also had the blog Silent Bob Speaks which he still uses occasionally.  Smith used MySpace to blog.  Of course like everyone else he’s now on twitter.  And he also hosts about 100 different podcasts.  This is not about an older man fearing new technology.  It’s about the way the filmmaker feels his film should be seen.  It’s his film; therefore he deserves the right to say how and where people see it.  Smith spends months writing the film (except for Cop Out which he did not write); he spends time shooting and editing it before the release so he’s got a lot invested in the film.  I do believe he’s looking at VOD the wrong way.  It’s not a failure to be on VOD, it’s a way to reach the masses.

Kevin Smith is honest and always gives his opinions in detail on why he thinks the way he does on a subject.  If you are not following him on Twitter start, your timeline occasionally will blow up but it’s well worth it.


3 Responses to “Kevin Smith And VOD Releases”

  1. January 9, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Thanks a lot for the article, I even learned something from it. Super quality content on this website. Always looking forward to new article.

  2. January 9, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Thank you for the entry, I even learned something from it. Really quality content on this website. Always looking forward to new article.

  3. January 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks for this post. I easily agree with what you are saying. I have been talking about this subject a lot lately with my father so might this will get him to see my point of view. Fingers crossed!

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January 2011

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