Thanks to Twitter, Kevin Smith fans have been getting an inside look at how the filmmaker-turned-podcaster evolves ideas for his upcoming projects. He kept the whole Red State scenario a secret but since then, nothing has been secret. His proposed hockey film, Hit Somebody, was the first example. Through the Internet he asked actors to participate, then said it was going to be a two-part film, then cut it back to one, and now it’s going to be a mini-series.

Clerks 3 now looks like it’s in the same boat. Smith originally considered doing Clerks 3 as a Broadway play before saying it would be his final film a few months back. Now he’s changed his idea of what the franchise could be.

Talking to the crew at What’s Trending, Smith admitted he isn’t quite sure exactly how Dante and Randal are first going to be resurrected  The movie is still an option but he considered doing it as an online series and, more likely, will first distribute the story as an online book, released chapter by chapter. By doing it this way, Smith revealed fan opinion would most certainly begin to influence the way the story would go.

He then revealed the book (and maybe the film) would start with Dante and Randall meeting in kindergarden. Watch the video of Smith discussing this below.

UPDATE: Smith also took to Twitter to explain a bit of his thought process, it’s all below.

The Smith news was first posted by Deadline. Here’s the video of his discussion, it starts around 13:00

Here’s how Smith described it above, if you aren’t into the whole video thing:

[With a book] I get to go inside the characters’ heads, tell Year One origin stories where the first chapter is Dante and Randall meeting in kindergarten, all the stuff I can’t do in a movie. That’s what I want to do, because I’m a stoner. I want to investigate the inner life of every character, and I can’t do that in 90 minutes with a film.

He continues

I know people would go, ‘Why would you want to [let the fans influence your work]? You’re an artist. Well, now I’m a new-media artist and the new-media artist involves the audience and that’s something I’ve been doing for nearly 20 years at this point anyway….[A movie] would be the ultimate expression of Clerks 3. The money will always be there if I do it as a feature, but if I want to get real creative, I’d break it down (into smaller pieces) and do it online.

Not all of this should come as a surprise. When Smith was working on Hit Somebody, he said he might want to release the script online before the film, so going print before film is something he’s been thinking about. And the idea of fans influencing the story of a major filmmaker is something that we’ve seen before too (Edgar Wright’s Brandon Generator being the prime example). But having influence over a franchise, and characters, so beloved by fans is incredibly intriguing. Or is it? Maybe some fans would feel betrayed if Clerks 3 wasn’t purely a Smith creation.

All that said, until Smith actually starts the book or starts shooting the movie, nothing about his projects are set in stone. Maybe Clerks 3 will be a book or maybe he’ll just do a movie. Maybe it won’t ever be a film at all. As a fan I’d hope, no matter what media Smith initially chooses, I’ll get a chance to say goodbye to Dante and Randall at the movies, the same place we met. The only difference would be, maybe this time we’ll not only know that story first, we’ll have a hand in telling it.

Do you think this is a viable way to tell stories in today’s society? Would you help mold Clerks 3? What’re your ideal way of this happening?

UPDATE: Smith took to Twitter to answer some fan questions about this news. Here’s the main one:

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