My favourite indie comedy… CLERKS

Industry Creatives Testimonial Update – Chris Gill

Hi Film Folk!

This week I’m going to talk a little about “Clerks”, the hit Kevin Smith comedy from 1994 (it can’t be that long ago surely?!). When I first saw the film I was working in a video store, while at university. Before becoming a professional filmmaker, I worked in a grocery store stacking shelves, so I can relate to the Clerks characters!

After “Withnail and I” and “The Big Lebowski”, “Clerks” is my favourite comedy. It’s also my second favourite indie film after “El Mariachi”. In many ways I prefer “Clerks”, the writing is exceptional, but “El Mariachi” gave me a career, so it remains my number one. I love a fair few Kevin Smith films, but in my honest opinion, this remains by far his best.

I love the wordplay in Clerks, the setting and the performances are brilliant. What many filmmakers today might not realise, is that Kevin Smith made this film for just $27,575. OK, so a lot of you are thinking, “that’s more money than we have to spend”… Yes, but this film was shot on FILM. That’s where all the cost was, buying and processing film. If you were to shoot “Clerks” in 2016, it would be digitally, and would cost a tiny fraction of this budget.

I don’t think any other film better demonstrates that you don’t require fistfuls of cash, you simply require an awesome idea, great writing and the will to succeed. It also beautifully demonstrates that a low budget indie film doesn’t have to be horror or action; it can be anything.

At it’s heart, Clerks has a simple idea, a simple setting and simple well-executed filmmaking. The genius is in the writing and the graft of all those involved. Writing and hard work don’t cost money, they cost time and effort, which are both resources you can afford.

Kevin financed the film on credit cards (not necessarily something I’d advise) and set the film in locations he had access to (something I’d definitely advise). When you’re the writer/director, you can often come up with clever production tricks in the script too. Writing that the shutters were jammed works great for the script, but it also enabled the team to shoot inside the store at night (as if during the day). This is smart thinking, as the store was open during the day and it was the only access they could get. Think outside of the box people!

One of my favourite lines from Clerks is:
“You know, there’s a million fine looking women in the world, dude. But they don’t all bring you lasagne at work. Most of ’em just cheat on you”.
Silent Bob (played by Kevin Smith) says this as his only line in the film to the protagonist Dante, about Dante’s long-suffering partner Veronica.

Well, I’m incredibly proud to announce Marilyn Ghigliotti, who plays Veronica, as the latest name to kindly provide a testimonial for “Hollywood Hates This Book”.

Marilyn is a talented and established actress, having featured in films such as “Clerks”, “Alien Armageddon” and “Lake Eerie”. She is also an experienced makeup artist and hair stylist (skills often under-valued by filmmakers). As well as all of that, she’s just a lovely person too!

As a die-hard “Clerks” fan, it’s been an honour to chat to Marilyn, who had this to say about “Hollywood Hates This Book”:

“I’ve many years of experience working with the experienced and beginner filmmaker on low budget independents, as well as studio based films as an actress and hair and makeup artist. This book will give the beginning filmmaker the knowledge and details that many beginning and some experienced filmmakers seem to overlook or neglect. Even with my experience both in front and behind the scenes, I find the book helpful as I make my leap to director/filmmaker.”          Marilyn Ghigliotti

As a massive “Clerks” fan, and a fan of Marilyn, that really means a lot to me and it’s a massive honour to have that testimonial on the book.

You can find out more about Marilyn:

I hope if I stick in Marilyn’s good books, she might bring me some lasagne at work one day!!

Thanks for reading,
Hollywood Hates This Book Email Signature on Black

P.S. Due to my Northern English accent, I always pronounced “Clerks” as “Clarks”. It was only when doing a filmmaking talk, and being ridiculed for this, that I changed my pronunciation of it!