Kevin Smith’s First Film Was a Documentary About His Failure as a Documentarian

Before making it big with Clerks, director Kevin Smith was a slacker who enrolled in Vancouver Film School to make something of himself. However, his time there didn’t last long, and the one short film he produced was a crumbling failure.

Smith, along with future long-time collaborator Scott Mosier, wanted to make a documentary about a local transgender woman named Mae. The documentary was going to be called Mae I and would be an honest slice-of-life look at her life. But that’s not what happened. Lack of planning and communication sent production into a tailspin, and when the star of the documentary suddenly left town, Smith was left without a film. But, in typical Smith fashion, he created another documentary–this time to chronicle the failure of Mae I.

Mae Day: The Crumbling of a Documentary is a clever short film about self-defeat. Smith interviews his professors, advisers, and film crew who all chastise Smith’s incompetence with complete seriousness. Despite the collapse of the project, it’s obvious Smith was never meant to be a serious documentarian. Instead, the film shows hints of Smith’s penchant toward slacker comedy, which will later define his career.

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