Monday, January 01, 2007

Death of the Edge

Being sick- and being a parent- I kept my ass inside last night and watched tv and ate pizza. Even when I was single, I never really did anything on New Year's Eve. Now that I'm married with children, you know I'm not doing shit.

But so I'm sitting there watching AN EVENING WITH KEVIN SMITH 2: EVENING HARDER. For those not in the know, it's a document of his 'stand up'/Q&A shows he takes to- mainly- college campuses all over the world.

I'm watching it on my still SD tv, sadly. BUT, the Sony Store called a few days ago and are saying my new Bravia is in! 1080p, here I come, bitch!!! I am very excited!

But so to the Kevin Smith DVD: I really wanted to watch it on New Year's Eve so I drove way out of my way to grab it a few days ago as the only store that had it in stock was 45 minutes away.

But that's ok. I like Kevin Smith; enough to drive around for almost an hour to take in his latest work. Not a problem at all.

That said, I don't LOVE his movies. His movies range from dull-to-really cool (for ex: loved Clerks 2, got bored with Clerks 1, thought the other flicks were all just-above-average with bits of genius sprinkled in)... but his movies aside, I've always loved his personality and stories and DVD commentary and comics and the universe he's created. I remember seeing him speak in a packed-but-tiny room at Comic-Con back in like- what was that?- 1999. He was just as engaging and funny then as he is now, playing the huge venues that you can see him selling out in the DVD. Love his blog, love his website and his comic book store in Westwood. So I like him alot, right?

In fact, I would say his career- from a promotional standpoint and how connects to the folks who purchase the stuff he works on- was one I was trying to emulate to an extent for a while over the last several years. Sometimes it worked, other times, not so much. But still, he's a hell of a salesman who really gets his audience,and I respect, admire, and aspire to that.

And he curses.


Hell, after watching a 4 hour doc of him on stage- and hearing him cuss like a sailor- MY potty mouth has kicked back in to gear (at home, on the blog, on message board posts), after a year or so of trying to tone it down just a bit.

And that is one of the things that struck me as odd about the DVD. I liked it but the magic and innocence that seemed to be there in the fist EVENING WITH KEVIN SMITH was gone. This one- while entertaining- seemed more like business. I think the guy- who was 34 at the time of the recording- is just too old to be acting like he does. It comes off as a bit...wrong?

And not because I sit here as some sort of judge and go: PEOPLE OVER 30 SHOULD NOT CUSS. I don't care that he cusses. Cussing is fine. It's just that it no longer feels genuine for Kevin Smtih. THAT is what I have the problem with.

At the time of the recording he had just lost his dad (which-naturally- affected him deeply, as you can tell from the DVD and from his blog), his latest flick (Jersey Girl, which I liked enough to see twice) had bombed, and you could tell he was flailing a bit, trying to find his bearings in his personal and creative life. I can relate to that; I can releate to that MORE than I can relate to another story of him being obsessed with fucking his wife or how he made Clerks. And I wish he would have spoken more to those areas of his life. I wish he would have GIVEN more of his true self.

But that's interesting- to me anyway :)- as I look at my career and my public persona- such as it is- and realize that I've become less interesting as a public person over the last year. I see it in my interviews, I see it in the readership drop of this blog, I see it in the types of public events I'm asked to participate in (more detailed Q&A about the work VERSUS Q&A about my life and the 'wild' things I say). The edge and kick I used to see attributed to me- such as it was-is dull and dying out. Hell, you can see it in the latest incarnation of the blog. I was looking at the posts since I've launched this site and man, none of them are full of heart. It's more like I'm just giving you guys information. And how fun is that?

So the Kevin Smith movie really got me thinking. How do you deal with an established public image when you change as a person? Do you try to stay the same in your interviews even tho you are clearly a different person (what I see Smith doing). Do you just be honest with folks and even if you are no longer entertaining, keep plugging away (that'd be me)? Or do you reach into your gut and find the stuff that- while different from the past, is still REAL- and present that (what I wish Kevin Smith would do)?

And yeah, I could do that last one. I could really dig and write about the things that really affect me these days. But the thing is, I've become much happier as a REAL person over the last year. I've lost weight, I spend more time with my family, I'm reconnecting with friends, and I have fallen in love with my work again. In fact, I feel the work I am doing now- as a happy, balanced person-is BETTER than the work I've done in the past. We'll see if you agree when the new stuff starts to hit, but that's how I feel at least.

And to me, one of the fallouts of being more balanced and healthy is that I no longer feel the need to write down EVERY THOUGHT I HAVE on the blog. Did it make for more interesting reading when I did do that? I think it was more interesting when I was doing that versus just giving out information like I am now, to be sure. But I no longer feel moved to do it.

I'm not thinking of stopping blogging, I still enjoy it. It's just got me wondering if there's a middle ground. Because to me, the blog should serve the same purpose as the games: it should entertain folks. If not, then what's the point?

So this is the stuff I am thinking about.

Anyway, gotta go to bed. It's like 5am and I just got up to drink some tea (sore throat) and I ended up doing this. Thanks for listening guys.

Oh,and for the love of God, just for the record: I DO NOT think my public persona or career success is anywhere close to that of Kevin Smith. The biggest name in video games is not at that level, and I sure as hell am not even close to being ONE of the biggest names in games. I wish I were a better writer who could make that clear without needing a footnote, but I am not. So there you go. I can relate to aspects of Smith's career (far as I know about it), that is all. So please be aware of that as I know it could come off as- gasp!- arrogant otherwise. :)

See ya'll!