Kevin Smith’s two Clerks films are his most personal works, expressions of his own feelings about the direction of his own life at the time he made them. It is only natural, I supppose, that as he is looking to give up directing feature films he is also looking at possible alternate means of continuing the story of counter jockeys Dante and Randall outside of feature films.
Previously, Smith had said that he was toying with the idea of presenting Clerks 3 as a limited-run Broadway play, but he now states that he has abandoned that idea for either a movel that would be be published online chapter-by-chapter to allow for changes based on reader feedback or possibly as some form of web series. Smith does admit that a feature film is still where the real moneyy is at even though that would also come with creative restrictions.
Smith talked about the future of the proposed Clerks threequel Friday night when appearing on the What’s Trending? online show, sponsored by NewTek, the software firm behind the high-end Lightwave 3D animation software.
Smith’s comments on the possible future of Clerks 3 starts around the eleven-minute mark. I’ve transcribed them out after the video.
Back when I was trying to figure out how to do Clerks 3 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 3 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 3 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.