Samuel L. Jackson on the wisdom of online fans vs. “people who sit in offices”

Samuel L. Jackson, whose new film Snakes on a Plane owes more to bloggers than any film in history, envisions a new world of film making in which producers work with fans from the start:

“It’s the next step in what’s going to happen. There are so many people who are aware of films because of the information highway and most times people who sit in offices have no idea what’s going on in the real world.

“Fortunately for New Line (studio), this happened and was out of hand before they were even made aware of it. The fan demands made them understand what they had.

“Eventually I think there’s going to be films like this that are of a certain genre that some smart person will invite that type of input.

“Someone will say something like, ‘I have an idea for a film, and here’s my idea. How do you think this should play out? Who should be in it? How long should it be? Should it be one parts, two parts, or three parts?’

“The interaction from the fans will fuel this whole thing and make those people feel like they are such a part of the film. If you got a dollar from all those people you can make the film.”

Great to see someone recognize fan creativity as a business asset rather than a threat to intellectual property rights.

Director Kevin Smith loves his online fans

Here’s an interesting article in the Washington Post by Desson Thomson about Clerks II director Kevin Smith’s online interaction with his fans:

No other filmmaker has made it his business to nurture, kibitz with, heckle and engage his fans on such an intimate, day-to-day basis.

How many artists of any stripe have? His webboards have well over a million posts:, he’s got a blog:, he’s got 30,000 friends on MySpace, and he’s on Flickr. Now there’s someone who’s making the most of the web. But missing entirely from the article is any mention of money. Is this all a labor of love? A quest for self-validation? Or is it also part of a web-savvy business model?

The article focuses on the support he receives. On webboards:

‘So at 2 in the morning, if I wake up and I’m, like, I suck, and I’m alone in the world, I can jump on there and have somebody be, like, I like what you do, and sleep better?

On MySpace:

“Who knew that I would be so desperate for friends that I would spend at least two to three hours every day approving friends?”

The article also addresses the willingness to hear criticism and flaming that his approach entails. I was particularly interested in his solution to the flaming:

He also now charges a lifetime fee of $2 to post on his Web sites. (The proceeds go to a rape counseling organization.) It seems to have done the trick, he says, and allowed him to do what he loves best — with less turbulence.