His first movie was shot on a shoestring budget with a cast made up of friends and local community theatre actors. Clerks should have disappeared without a trace and Smith with it. However, through sheer balls and faith in his own work he managed to secure a screening for it at Sundance, which led to a distribution deal with the then kings of indie cinema, Miramax. Maybe it was a case of being in the right place at the right time, but if he hadn't had the chutzpah to make the movie in the first place, to risk it all on a dream, none of it would ever have happened.
As you read through Tough Shit and listen to him recount the various stages of his career and what he considers the important turning points in his life, you're struck by the size of the risks he took all along the way. The other thing you realize is that no matter how many self-depreciating remarks he might cast his own way, this is a guy who has great faith in his own abilities and the huge amount of courage required to bring his dream of doing what he loves to make a living come true. Of course, he also has his own unique context, which helps him keep things in perspective.
The opening chapter of the book is about his dad and three lessons that were to influence Smith junior's life. The first being the freaking miracle that out of all the sperm from his dad that ended up inside his mother, it was the one with his name on it that survived. The way Smith figures it, winning that race with the odds so strongly stacked against you means you've already won half the battle.
The second was his dad hated his job with a passion. Now most people would have accepted that as their lot in life and followed their old man's example of taking a job they hated to put bread on the table. Not Smith. He looked at how unhappy his dad was and thought there has to be something better; why can't you do what you love for a living?