Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Listening to advice versus being creative

I guess I'm in a strange sort of mood right now. For the last few months I've been more and more critical of the world of media and entertainment. Especially the games industry.

Whats swung my mood?

The notion of originality and creative essence. Not to put too fine a point on it, I'm bored of most games. I'm bored because they simply dont have any character. They seem to try and use some cookie cutter concept to try and make some return on the investment.

I've seen it in games, but to be honest, I think its pretty clear that the same problem exists in most media. Look at the plethora of sequel based films. Look at the number of "reality" shows on TV, or "'s top " or some 'celebrity' pseudo-reality show.

Frankly, I'm tired of it.

Which is why, I was wondering what the cause of it was and I've come to the conclusion that its because the creators of all of those things, rather than listening to thier own creative talent, simply took whatever was making money and cloned it.

Thats not to say there arent people being creative. But it sure is hard to find them when they do exist.

Think of it this way, would you rather buy a beautifully crafted hand-made instrument, or a peice of cheap rubbish thrown out en-masse by a tiawanese sweatshop?

You'd never go for it would you? And yet we as consumers are doing it all the time. Accepting trash TV, Film and Games.

Why do we devalue the really unique opportunity these mediums present by simply making it all follow some accepted norm? I dont know. But the ray of light in this gloomy picture, is that truly unique and original product, created by unique individuals CAN make a difference. They can also turn out to be hugely successful.

Imagine the ROI on something like Blair Witch Project? Or Super Size Me. Or in games, how about say Uplink? Or the original wolfenstien?

I've read enough books about positioning and buzz to believe fundamentally the best way to generate interest in something isnt to be a clone of something. Or generic to the point of blandness. It is to BE unique. Something unique and of value can inevitably attract an audience. However that isnt completely true. Clearly your audience must actually be aware of your unique product in order to become interested in it.

Right now, my biggest challenge is finishing the unique products. To be fair, I dont think we're quite there yet. But we are unique in that we have something I think is missing a lot in todays media market, that being creative integrity. Getting that across to an audience is going to be an uphill battle I'm sure. But I believe that consumers are sophisticated enough to want to seek out uniqueness and originality as long as its easy to find it. So there is hope!

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