Monday, February 18, 2013

Creativity on Demand

            We have an interesting culture, one based off of mass production and consumer “interest.” As a result of that, we place not only our “artists,” but ourselves in a weird predicament. We work to over-emphasize a talent or idea and demand it to be churned out on demand. We can see this in movies, video games, music, and school.
Our process is like mining an entire mountain only because you found one nugget of gold, and that is all you get. That one piece was found by chance and circumstance, but we expect it to always come out when we hunt. I’m more a casual fisherman. In some regards, it’s the same thing as I said above, but there is a difference. I don’t know what I am going to catch. I’m not looking for something in particular. I’m not hunting for one specific fish. For all I care, I can get a tire and that is what I needed. Sometimes, I get nothing. What I’m doing, though, is putting myself out there for chance and circumstance to give me something. If I sit in my room and do nothing all the time, I am not allowing for that chance to provide that one nugget.
I’m not good at the whole essay thing, I admit it. But as I explained before, I have reasons for writing. Even then, I don’t really force myself to write something every week. I have a list of topics that catch my interest, yet there are topics that have been at the top for weeks while some that never make the list I do right away. This one is an example of that.
           One problem I see with the school system is the teachers’ tendency of giving out essay after essay and expecting high quality creativity and imagination for each one. Some people can do it and others can’t. There are those who need the push to get out and those who simply have nothing to give. Some people will ask for an alternative like tests and be attacked ferociously by others who say papers are much easier. That might be the case for them, but not necessarily (or likely) the situation for the one who asked. We are a people made up of individuals, but we act like we are all supposed to be the same.
                In the music industry there is the saying, “One Hit Wonder.” Sometimes that is the case. We for some reason tend to think that is rarely the case, but it happens quite a bit. I can like an artist, yet I hate buying albums because there are generally only one or two good songs on that CD. And that’s a reason why a lot of consumers prefer digital downloads. They get to buy the ones they do like without the rest of the rubbish.
                For our movies, we see it too often. Franchised movies that have horrible sequels. I probably only need to mention The Matrix to get this point across. One reason why the first movie is great is the process. You don’t just accept that first movie because of its title or starring one guy, even if he is Superman. The writer or director has to have a good idea and pitch and make it work. The big thing here is that the creativity is not being forced out the same way as with a sequel. They aren’t forcing one particular guy to come up with something, but letting whoever gets the good inspiration to take a shot. I read recently that Chris Nolan approached his Batman films basically this way. He focused on the movie and then left the franchise alone until he had another idea about what he could do. I can certainly say that I enjoyed all three; the only question is “which was the best?”
                Video games are perhaps the closest to being at about the right level. Sure, EA and Activision of coming out with sequel after sequel. Nintendo gets blamed too, but I say there is a difference. In Nintendo’s case, their sequels tend come out years after release and with some new idea that’s focused on. There’s a difference between having 10 sequels in 25 years than 10 sequels in 10 years. In fact, some gamers prefer the longer development cycle, even if it means a delay, because they expect the quality to be better. That is what I think the other industries need to learn. The good news is that some people have. Abrams said that his Star Wars movie might not reach the deadline if he doesn’t have it ready. The director for the first Hunger Games movie said he wouldn’t do the sequel because he didn’t have enough time to properly do it. Hopefully this will catch on.

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