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We Are Building a Religion

25 May 2012

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I enjoy the various works of Kevin Smith. From the Jersey/Askewniverse films to Red State (so great, you guys) to the podcasts, and now the Internet TV channel, there’s very little the guy does I don’t find entertaining.

And it’s not like I’m alone here. Watch any of the An Evening with Kevin Smith DVDs and you’ll notice capacity crowds when he goes to speak in public. The guy certainly knows how to speak to his audience.

But more than that, he’s figured out how to build an audience. He’s figured how he can make people fans (like me), and have those people follow him to the next medium — from films to podcasts and live shows and TV. That’s tough to do. David Lynch certainly has his fan base, but it’s not as if he sells out arenas when he goes to speak. The only other person I can think of who builds such a huge, loyal fan base is maybe Neil Gaiman, and that’s some pretty August company.

So what’s the answer, folks? How do you crack that code? My guess — put out work of consistent high quality. Keep striving to be better in what you do, and don’t worry about what others are saying or doing.

Or am I wrong? Let me know.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 25 May 2012 1355

    Two words: Joss Whedon.
    That is all. 😛

  2. 25 May 2012 2009

    Joss is good. Movies to TV (where he really picked up his following) back to movies, with comics and webseries in between. Good example.

  3. 29 May 2012 0557

    A big part of Kevin Smith’s success is just how genuine he is. Sure, he can be loud at times, but generally, he’s just a guy from New Jersey who did his thing…and instead of keeping a barrier between himself and his fans, it was like, “Hey, I want to chat with you guys. I like comics, so come to our shop.”

    Smith’s movies are hit and miss with me, but I will watch the things he does and follow what he’s up to ’cause, since the beginning, he’s been accessible. Not like I email him and he’s like, “Hey, Chris — thanks!” but he’s a big nerd who’s always shared what he’s doing and done things on his own, and for that, I respect the hell out of the guy. I admire the chances he takes, and love that he doesn’t have a big head about what he does.

    It’s cool seeing people like Smith, the Nerdist crew, and others doing their own things and making their own little media empires. Chris Hardwick…I’ve never particularly been a fan of his standup, but at the gym one day, I stumbled upon the Nerdist when it was in it’s second week (with Drew Carey), and was hooked. Now…they have so much going on, I can’t keep up with it all. In just a couple years, it went from recording wherever they could to having a base of operations, touring, and expanding the podcasts to the Nerdist YouTube channel. Hell, even my wife’s watched some of Hardwick’s celebrity bowling YouTube shows.

    Wil Wheaton and the board game channel on YouTube is another. I have friends who will watch celebrity nerds play board games online. It’s a neat thing, being able to produce your own thing and putting it out there. For anyone with any nerdiness in their blood, Kevin Smith, Chris Hardwick, and Wil Wheaton are definitely some good people to look at.

    • 29 May 2012 2024

      Totally great examples. And how great is Nerdist Celebrity Bowling? I grew up bowling, but even if I hadn’t, I’d be entertained as hell by him and his crew taking on other Hollywood and nerdy teams.

      Wil Wheaton is awesome. There are no other words. He was one of those guys who just decided “I’m going to do stuff for myself,” first with blogging, then with Twitter, and on and on… he didn’t let anyone tell him what his career path should be. He just went ahead and did it.

      Great examples!

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