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Clichés should be destroyed not commodified for fun and profit

Anyone agree? I'm only asking because I'm paying to be here and I'm not convinced it's going to be worth it.

  • Depends on how you engage with it and what your aspirations are. What sort of cliches?

    Is my enquiry worth it?

    2 weeks ago
  • If you're not convinced it's worth being here, go. I doubt that anyone will change the way they work just for you.

    Though possibly SP are working on something amazing that we don't know about, but which will be perfect for you...:-)

    2 weeks ago
  • Thanks for the replies. I hope I’m worth it :D

    My aspirations are avoiding the “tick box” approach that’s been mentioned on another discussion (which seems might be fizzling out) because I think it’s a problem and I’m interested in how many other people might think so as well, and how they deal with it.

    I think it’s a problem because if people are content to make films that are no more than commodities it has wider cultural implications. There is a great clip on YouTube of Steven Berkoff talking about BBC drama here:

    It’s an old interview but I agree with what he says, and things have deteriorated even more since then.

    You know that scene in Chinatown when Jack Nicholson’s private eye is asking Noah Cross, the corrupt property developer, how much money he needs, how much champagne can he drink, what does he want? He replies “The future, Mr Gittes.”

    Sometimes the future has a funny way of turning out to be the past.

    2 weeks ago
  • I take the view that repeating cliches or cloning whatever genre is currently in fashion is a waste of a writer or film-maker's talent. When there's a successful vampire romance franchise, suddenly everyone's getting on that commercial bandwaggon. How dull. Isn't it better to write or film what appeals to yourself, try to be original, then hope that fashion will eventually come around to you?* It's then that the public discover your back catalogue. [*Ok, so this might be after you are dead but at least you'll have legacy].

    2 weeks ago
  • Our industry churns out hundreds of hours of film and television every week. Whilst perhaps too much of it is derivative, variations on themes, there's still quite a lot of unique human input going on.

    Who said of drama ? "There are only seven stories but they have infinite themes"

    A friend of mine recently took up painting in his sixties. He discovered in himself a talent for a naive form that's wonderfully charming, insightful and utterly marketable. I joked that I should buy up all his early works before he gets discovered, because I heard that there was no Capital Gains Tax on art !

    2 weeks ago
    • You heard right, but the devil is in the details. But if you like his work, buy it anyway :-)

      2 weeks ago
  • Originality is entrenched in free thinkers, or perhaps even in non thinkers. It's an existential conundrum

    2 weeks ago
  • I think the “only 7 stories” might have been Aristotle. It seems a bit like telling painters there’s only eight colours, a bit like what philosophers call a category error. I think it’s preferable to use whatever material you have to manifest whatever it is you’re trying to express without relying on or even thinking about someone else’s system, theory or patronising platitude. This isn’t as easy as it seems because all those sorts of ideas are in our heads before even starting. That’s why it’s about destroying clichés, finding a way to express things more accurately and creating something of lasting value in the process. And yeah, I agree, not doing that is a waste of talent, ultimately.

    2 weeks ago
  • There's a huge difference between cliches and tick boxes in my opinion!

    You're right that there's no place for cliches and anyone "cliche'ing" needs to up their game. But, tick boxing...

    But you have to remember that there are two sides to tick boxing.

    Filmmaking (film, video, tv etc) is a business, when not done purely for fun. And a business needs to be commercially viable to survive in and of its self as well as satisfy its owners/shareholders. If neither of these is satisfied, satisfactory, then the business ceases to exist.

    So, one side of the equation (of tick boxes) are the demands of the industry. What a producer expects to see in a script from a writer. What an investor expects to see in a film packaged for funding from a producer. What a distributor expects to see in a completed film from a producer. etc etc... (broad strokes here btw).

    The other side of the equation, once and only once the first side is achieved, is that of the uniqueness of voice, a fresh approach, a rarely seen insight, a new angle on an old story.

    Being as original as possible!

    Box ticking doesn't have to mean repeating what has already been done. And those in the biz who are achieving their own successes know this already.

    I've experienced the above first hand when scriptwriting a few years ago and being mentored by a successful Hollywood writer. (Side note: I was one degree separated from JJ Abrams, two degrees separated to the holy one, Spielberg, and three degrees to the God himself, George Lucas)

    I was shown how to tick the right boxes that are demanded by the industry (Hollywood specifically), and then how to also be authentic and original in my writing - both at the same time.

    However, that all being said, this is all completely dependant on your goals and ambitions. Mine? To be an independent producer, in Hollyood. Your's may be completely different ;/


    2 weeks ago
    • Ok, the discussion seems to be around industry standards tick-boxing, whereas I was thinking about storyline tick-boxing. How do we break away from the Gilgamesh theme of (1) a humble male child is brought up on a farm and there's some doubt about his lineage, (2) fate sweeps him up into a series of events which increasingly test his mettle, (3) he discovers a superpower that he didn't know he had, usually after guidance from a wise figure, then (4) he finds out who his real father was, saves the world and is rewarded with a trophy wife and a kingdom. That story arc is 4,000 years old and we're still delivering it. The audience somehow still think it is original. There is an argument that we should stick to the 'narrative imperative', i.e. if the audience do not get the ending they expect (e.g. Potter to marry Granger), they don't enjoy separating from the homespun comforts of traditional, familiar form. Fairytales always have three princes, never two or seventeen. The industry sees financial safety in telling the same story lines because they know the audience already like them, before they've sat down to watch. An AI could write the Gilgamesh arc, it's so predictable. A human should be able to risk something new. Some do, but the industry seems to be naturally resistant.

      1 week ago
    • @Adam Corres You hit it on the head with your last line - INDUSTRY.

      No one is stopping you making the films you want to make. They're simply letting you spend your own money on them.

      As to Gilgamesh. That story works because we're human. We're the same as we ever were for the past 100,000 years and while our story telling tech and method changes, what we KNOW OTHER PEOPLE will recognise as story, doesn't, (well, not very quickly anyway). And that's why investors are generally happy to let other people's money explore new territory :-)

      1 week ago
    • @Marlom Tander Yes, that's true but there are also simple tick-box formulas which have been broken successfully in profitable films but then, quite soon, everyone conforms back to the original answer. Take, for example, the way the hero in an action plot is always very slightly injured, usually with a small cut on the cheek to let you know they've suffered. They never have four fingers blown off or lose a lung, do they? Then along comes the second Star Wars movie and the hero loses a hand and yet continues to be a hero. It was a departure and it was accepted. Yet, ever since, we've seen the tiny nick to the cheek repeated. It's a small tick-box for a plot but can't be overturned because the hero can't be disfigured. Why not? Is it because the way we relate to a hero is half the audience want to be them and half want to reproduce with them, so if they are damaged then the whole audience turns off? Quite a shallow viewpoint, so worth challenging.

      1 week ago
    • @Adam Corres I can enjoy both tick box and non tick box movies. It's all down to HOW they are done. Last night I enjoyed Nobody which is tick boxes to a tee, but made by it's nice touches. My point is that "money is shy" is simply a fact of film life and money can't be blamed for being so.

      1 week ago
  • Even when it’s "Tickbox XXVIIII: The Big Takeover"? When “money” monopolises everything it can be blamed for doing so because it’s not a fact of life it’s a cultural and political agenda. Whether or not people choose to recognise that is up to them, but anyone “investing” in the film industry who doesn’t is totally naive at best.

    1 week ago