Kevin Smith loved movies but never thought he could make them until the idea was actually presented to him by a friend that was interested in working in film. It was the first time he ever met someone that in any way, shape of form was connected to movie making and the idea excited him. He decided to make a movie himself and used the convenience store he worked at as the location and inspiration for his film. He used his friends for actors and even cast himself in one of the roles. Most people would be stopped by the fact that you need professionals, a big budget and a ton of other out of reach resources in order to make a successful movie, but Kevin Smith, a convenience store worker proved this entirely wrong.
Coming up with the story was not a problem for Kevin but he did need some money to make the movie so he went to some pretty interesting sources for it. He sold a large portion of his comic book collection, maxed out at least eight credit cards with $2,000 limits, dipped into some money he had set aside for college and some other money he got from an insurance company when his car was lost in a flood. In total he had $27,575 and that's all he needed to pull off one of the greatest underdog stories in hollywood. The movie was shot at night from 10:30pm to 5:30am (that's when the convenience store was closed) and Kevin worked during the day as well, so he could only sleep no more than one hour a day during the 21 days it took to shoot the film. That's right, the movie was shot in 21 days.
After the movie was finished it was entered into film festivals, including Sundance and was picked up by Miramax and despite only being released in no more than 50 theaters, made over 3 million dollars and launched Kevin Smith into a career in Hollywood. His movie shot in 21 days for $27, 575 is now widely considered a cult classic and has even appeared on several lists including film magazine Empire's list of the 500 greatest movies of all time list, coming in at 361.
This is the story of someone that had very little real working knowledge of the motion picture business and yet despite every reason there could be to not make a motion picture, he found a way and got together all the money he could, all the time he could and just put all of his passion into making something he loved; a piece of art that has entertained thousands and will continue to entertain for years to come. Finding a story like this is more than inspiring. This kind of tale is what we should all strive to achieve in our respected fields. We need to dig deep and let loose a tidal wave of passion and belief for our creations to the point that we would go without comic books and sleep to make something we had no guarantee would yield any more return than our own self satisfaction that we'd made something we could feel complete pride in. Kevin Smith has went on to make multi-million dollar budgeted movies and several more critically acclaimed ones. He's living an incredible dream and I challenge myself and anyone reading this to aspire to something similar. Go without sleep, go without your comic books, and make your movie.
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I'm David Carus. From overcoming one of the most dangerous cities in the country and graduating from one of the most prestigious colleges in America to leading an educational movement as a teacher and running for Congress at the age of 25, I decided the best hope our world has is through art.