Note: We discuss Jon Schnepp briefly during the interview, which was conducted before Schnepp’s untimely passing last week.
The normal TV business model has been turned on its head. It used to be that to get a show on the air, you had to get a TV or cable network to greenlight your idea and provide financing. Then, after the pilot was delivered, you would hope they liked it enough to continue letting you tell the story. But over the past few years, as streaming options like Netflix, Amazon, Crackle, and YouTube (just to name a few) have proliferated, we’ve seen an enormous increase in the amount of great content being offered to consumers. These streaming services have also been great for fans of shows that the networks cancel (like Lucifer and The Expanse), because they can be saved when the original channel lets them go.
Nevertheless, even in a world with hundreds of channels, many shows are still looking for a place to call home.
Which brings in a site like Rivit TV. Unlike other platforms, Rivit TV opperates by showing you the finished pilot, and giving the show 45 days to raise the money from fans to get more episodes made. The more that contribute, the cheaper the price per episode. It’s sort of like GoFundMe, except focused on TV.
Last week, Kevin Smith came into the Collider studio to talk about his show Hollyweed, which recently premiered on Rivit TV (watch it here). The show is about two potheads that navigate the ups and downs of managing a small business in their quest for profits and the perfect bud.
Here’s how Smith explains the show and how it landed on Rivit TV:
Nearly three years ago, my friends and I made a pilot for a show called Hollyweed. It wasn’t at all groundbreaking but it was fun to make: essentially, it was CLERKS in a weed store, with Donnell Rawlings and me as the middle-aged knuckleheads behind the counter. The idea was to base the episodes in a medical marijuana dispensary and use Los Angeles as a canvas for our characters, played by Jason Mewes, Ralph Garman, Adam Brody and Frankie Shaw. We shot the pilot in January 2016 and it turned out better than I’d hoped. The future was looking bright for Hollyweed – until we ran into a slight speed bump: no network wanted the show. And so like many pilots before it, Hollyweed didn’t become a series – it became a digital file that sat on my laptop, where I’d watch it from time to time as a reminder of what might’ve been, daydreaming of trying again one day. Then I nearly dropped dead of a heart attack and decided one day is today! And now, the good folks at Rivit TV are giving me and my Hollywood dreams a second chance, as they put the power to greenlight our little weed sitcom in YOUR hands! Watch the entire 25-minute pilot FOR FREE and if you like it, help us bring the series to life by pre-buying the next episodes! See the freak show of me trying to act with words and if it remotely amuses you, shower us with the loot to do it again and again! (And if you hate it? Thanks for even sampling my stuff in the first place.)
During the wide-ranging conversation, Smith talked about the Rivit TV business model, making a sitcom set in a weed store, how the show landed on Rivit TV, why he loves The Bad News Bears, his recent heart attack and how that changed his life, the Scum & Villainy Cantina in Hollywood, the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (the direct sequel to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), and so much more. In addition, I also got him to play “Ice Breakers”, which is a fun game that includes questions like which TV show you would want to play a guest spot on, favorite sci-fi/fantasy movie, which film scared you as a kid, what you collect, if you own any movie/TV show props, what’s your phone background photo, and more.