If you were to ask me one of my favorite films, I would have to go ahead answer, Clerks.
Clerks was an independent film made in mid-1990’s about two store clerks trying to get through another monotonous day.
It was shot on a severely shoestring budget, in black and white, and featured no known actors. They were all locals from the filmmaker, Kevin Smith’s home town in New Jersey.
What is it about this story that comes to mind when people ask about it ?
Well, not a whole lot actually happens throughout the course of the film.
Customers come in, give the clerks a hard time, they leave, and more soon enter.
It’s pretty much a cycle of repetition and the only way these two guys can get through it all is by chitchatting in between about their real passion; whether it be Star Wars, comic books, or even the difficulty in finding true love.
It’s a fascinating character study that came out of nowhere in the 90s, from this guy that collected just enough money to shoot a terrible-looking film in the gas station where he worked.
Another thing that draws me to this feature film is the story behind it.
Kevin Smith worked in a convenience store called the Quick Stop, where he’d experience the same day-in, day-out repetition that he would later transcend into his film when he came up with the idea of making a movie.
The problem was he didn’t have any money. However, he did own a whole lot of comic books and credit cards. So he sold his comics and maxed out every single card he had, going into debt at an upward of somewhere around 30,000 dollars.
He shot most scenes in one take, considering he didn’t have enough money to buy extra film.
He auditioned local actors and came across the idea to even cast himself in the future infamous role of Silent Bob, alongside his friend Jason Mews, who played Jay.
The two actors who played the clerks were theater actors and it shows. There’s enough passion and intrigue behind these two leads that it’s no wonder Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein picked up the film after it screened at the Sundance Film Festival.
The film was re-edited and given a soundtrack that actually ended up costing more than the film itself.
It was released in theaters across the country and soon enough, Kevin Smith became known in the film world as a self-made man.
It’s inspiring to see a film about two guys wishing and waiting for the monotony of their lives to finally be broken being written and shot by a guy going through the same thing, only to have the entire project pull him out of the ashes.
I wouldn’t say I love every Kevin Smith movie. The guy himself has a kind of “look at me” personality that I don’t necessarily connect with.
But this film, his debut, is nothing short of an inspiration to anyone looking to shoot for their dreams.