We were on hand for Kevin Smith's panel at Comic-Con this weekend, where the revered director took some time out of his schedule to field questions from a packed auditorium of his most die-hard fans. Smith spent some time discussing Spoilers, his new series on Hulu, as well as his new AMC show, Comic Book Men -- an unscripted series centered around the director's very own New Jersey comic book store, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash.
The show, which premiered last year, has recently been renewed for a second season, much to Smith's delightful surprise. "I did not expect it to get a second season, to be honest with you," he admitted to the audience. The Comic-Con stalwart went on to provide some background behind Comic Book Men, revealing that he initially planned on shooting it at a separate location before deciding to simply cast his friends, Walt Flanagan, Bryan Johnson, Ming Chen, and Michael Zapcic. The results, according to Smith, have far exceeded his expectations. "What's on TV is way better," he exclaimed, adding that it was probably for the best that he wasn't involved in the pitching process. "The way I could have pitched this was, oh, it's Clerks the reality series."
Arguably the most passionate part of the panel came when Smith disclosed some of his thoughts on contemporary film criticism. The director admitted that he doesn't pay as much attention to reviews of his work as he did earlier in his career, but said he finds nothing inherently wrong or evil with criticism itself. It's just that in his view, the opportunities to actually produce movies today are far too compelling. Here's how he explained his reasoning to the audience:
"We live in the age of democratized media, where anybody can do it. In 1994, when I [released Clerks], there weren't many people doing it so I got to stand out... I was one of a thousand. Now everybody can do it, everybody in this room can shoot a film way more interesting than Clerks and better looking on their iPhone, cut it and upload it to YouTube --- and probably have it seen by more people than ever saw Clerks. In that world, where that's at your fingertips, where you can be a god, where you can create characters and light, and shape s---, put it out there for the world where people are moved by it, it does something for them, where something you create, where some story you told, has become their favorite movie, maybe that thing that saved them from killing themselves -- when you have that ability, why the f--- would you want to sit around and write about someone else's s---?"
Smith struck a similar chord during an interview with Wired just a few days prior to Saturday's panel. You can watch it in its entirety below