OK, so technically Kevin Smith didn't start those Egyptian Protests.
He rallied his troops to the Eccles, not Park City's iconic, though decidedly smaller Egyptian Theatre at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
The point remains the same—when Kevin Smith Tweets, his followers mobilize.
Perhaps it's his aw-shucks-I'm-just-like-you-but-I-got-lucky persona. Or maybe its because he relates to his fans like they are his personal friends, going through his trials and tribulations, fighting in the trenches with him.
He's like a whiter, fatter Tyler Perry. (WIth pot, foul language, and masturbation.)
Smith's approach to his fans is alarmingly similar to our own master marketer, self-promoter, and independent phenom, whose emails and online chats have formed a personal connection that incites fierce loyalty.
In response to a planned protest by Westboro "GOD HATES FAGS" Baptist Church, Kevin Smith leveraged the platform of his 1.7 million Twitter congregation, to rally enough rabid fans to stage a counter protest.
An inspired piece of buzz-generating street theatre, Kevin Smith followed-up these shenanigans with an even more noteworthy performance inside after he unzipped and pulled out his "big, fat Red State cock" and showed it to everybody at a jam-packed Eccles Theatre.
Smith's post-screening Q&A picked-up where his much publicized Twitter and SModcast battle with the media (and the industry) left off.
Rather than review the capsule version of his "rant", which is available on IndieWIRE, thanks to Peter Knegt, you can watch it for yourself:
And you should.
On his own Web site, Smith clarifies his plan to self-distribute Red State (a self-proclaimed Christian horror flick) without spending a dime on marketing.
Help me prove this social-media-self-distribution thing can work. It could be profitable in the process, as it’s not without precedent: y’know who made a fortune releasing his own Christian horror flick?
And my Christian horror flick has way less blood than his — so it should be easier to convince the squeamish to buy tickets. And exhibitors! Remember when busloads of Christians showed up out of the blue for The Passion? Well I’ve got an army too — and unlike those one-timers who came for The Christ, my people come back to see other flicks. And, like me, they spend tons on concessions.
That same audience — the one that’s been growing and expanding (both in numbers and in sweatpants size) since 1995? They are the not-so-secret weapon. You guys are allowing me to try something no studio or distributor would ever permit: release the movie without spending to do so. I can finally make a film and say exactly what it’s earned in real dollars, not estimated figures or shadow math that barely tells the tale.
While drawing comparisons to Mel Gibson may be crazy, Smith's strategy is actually quite foxy.
And thanks to his cult-of-personality, Smith is one of the few filmmakers with the infrastructure, band-width, and disciples to pull this off. (Keep in mind, there's more to a Twitter campaign than followers, otherwise, every single Ashton Kutcher film would be a box office hit—you need disciples, ambassadors, and fanatical fans.)
The film's distribution campaign—which began long before this Park City launch—is moving into phase two.
Tickets for the "RED STATE * U.S.A. TOUR" go on sale today.
Kevin Smith, appropriately, has also begun the Twitter onslaught:
"RedState will be everywhere OCT 19! Wanna see it EARLIER (w/me & cast Q&A at RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL)? Tix on sale: http://www.coopersdell.com
The film's original 13 venue "road show" tour included stops in New York (3/5), Boston (3/6), Chicago (3/8), Minneapolis (3/9), Ann Arbor (3/10), Indianapolis (3/11), Kansas City (3/12), Springfield OH (3/14), Denver (3/22), New Orleans (3/26), Austin TX (3/28), Atlanta (3/29), Seattle (4/4).
Not everyone is buying Smith's story.
The column "Kevin Smith is Not Your Friend" and other nay-saying pieces fail to appreciate what it means to have a stoned, loyal fan base. One can only wonder if a caravan of itinerant Kev-Heads (Red-Heads?) will follow the Smith tour like a lost colony of Dead Heads two decades earlier.
Priced between $45-$65, tickets for the March 29 "Atlanta" screening at the Cobb Energy Center are now on sale.
The show includes additional elements like the Kevin Smith dog & pony show, as well as other opportunities to give Smith your money like collectable merchandise sales, etc.
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