Sunday, 3 March 2013

Switching on the light

It's been a while but I want to come back and write something. I want  to write about ideas and how coming up with great ones can be a pain in the ass. Anyone can come up with ideas but either they're shit or they've already been done. Both seem common, in all kinds of media.

Take movies as an example, many movies you see releasing at the cinema these days aren't new ideas but ones done previously but with different character names and settings but have been tarted up with special effects and other things. This isn't new but a good example is Avatar, James Cameron's uber expensive cinematic showcase which uses to latest CGI technology to great effect, and profit, since Avatar is the highest grossing movie of all time. However, rip all of that away and what you get is an old narrative, one about mankind and it's selfishness and how it refuses to take others into consideration. How the protagonist, in this case Jake Sulley, is wrong about his views and his journey into seeing the other perspective on things. It also has the classic love story of two complete opposites who in no way should fall in love but they do. If you watch enough times to not be overawed by the visuals you can see that. Avatar is nothing special.

There is a point to this, my point is that coming up with ideas isn't just about the premise or the mechanics, it's just as much as the execution and how it looks at first glance. That's how most forms of entertainment exist today be it movies, TV shows, music and video games. Very few these days is truly original. Of course it's very hard to do something truly original but many don't even try to modify it and just throw something together and hope people like it enough for it to make money. That tends to be driver in a lot of this and also follow what is popular instead of trying to stand out.

As I've said I know it's hard to do something different but you can see what is out there and purposefully avoid doing that will go some way to not being seen as a cheap cash-in. I know how hard it is to come up with ideas myself. As in university I have to come up with an idea for a 30 minute script for a TV show/short movie. This was difficult as there's lot of things out which covers pretty much everything. We had to actually share our ideas in the class to everyone and as everyone was explaining their idea I couldn't help thinking that it had been done before for most. Some were original, like one which is about a girl who wants to bed the hottest girl in school. It got a laugh from the class and I have to admit, it is different. Also, I'm sure you can guess the gender of the person who came up with that.

As for my idea, well, I have to admit something now, I came up with it pretty much on the spot because I had nothing so I quickly scribbled something down. Now, I'm not going to tell you my idea at this moment because it hasn't been written as a script just a first draft of a synopsis which needs refining. I bet you're thinking how much of a cocktease I am after writing all of this for then not to share my supposed idea. I'll probably get accused for being a Jay from The Inbetweeners but I don't care, I have my idea and I'm going with it. Simples. My idea did get a laugh in the class too like the one I mentioned earlier but that wasn't intentional and it did surprise me a bit. My lecturer Anita likes the idea quite a bit and I should probably mention that she is a writer for Casualty, the BBC hospital drama.

This comes back to my original point, amazingly, anyone can up with an idea but whether it's something different or even good doesn't always matter. As proved by many of the popular, books, movies and other stuff. Complete shit sells, somehow.

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