Sunday, March 14, 2010

Creators and Performers

More often than not, media today is promoted by the performers who play the role of creators. In reality, the fundamental creators are rarely seen or known by fans while the performers (typically the actors), make their rounds on a promotional circuit as puppets of the far-removed financial backers. The consequences of this is a spirit of superficiality. If the media (a movie for instance) has some value in depth, it is largely lost through this system and is therefore of little value to it. Therefore, the next time the backers fund a film, they look to invest in something the actors (who are not necessarily invested in the deep story) can sell.

Artists are part of a broadly diverse group, whose specific media varies as much as their specific role in creating it. Some artists specialize, while some are renaissance men. Others are technicians, while still others are conceivers. The difference between those who hands-on make a film and those who do the thinking work behind the labor is the principle difference between "creators" and "performers" in this context. For example, the main creators of LOST are JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Carlton Cuse; while the performers include writers like Adam Horowitz, directors like Jack Bender, and actors like Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lily. Both categories include both art and science, but a performer's art is dependent upon the creator's art.

Performers are responsible largely for the form of the finished product, while creators are responsible for the function. The physical actions that are done to produce the appearance and sheen of the product are important, but not as important as the core principles which drove the creative conception of the product. If a work of collaborative art is to stand out from from the pack, then it needs to be distinctive—by definition. However, to whatever degree the performance is unusual, the principles and story arcs upon which the performance is based must be timeless. The reason is that unusual stories are too challenging to the average viewer, and need time to find the audience, which in turn, explains the deeper significance to those who missed it.

Three things are needed to solve this problem:
1. Performers need to be creators or work closely with the creators.
2. Creators need to be involved in the promotional process more than performers.
3. Media productions need to mini-factories, each independent of third-party interests.
If performers are involved in the creative process from early on, at least with respect to their individual roles, then they will have the opportunity to be informed enough about the purpose of the project in order to better promote it when the time comes. Better informed performers will better inform the mainstream audience. Überfans are those fans who are inclined to be fanatics about the project, and they are already interested more in what the creators have to say. Should creators be more involved in promotional appearances, these fans would more tenaciously and accurately promote the project to mainstream viewers. Both of these are only achievable to the degree that all the major interests in the project form a cohesive brain-trust, which can only happen with a relatively small group.

The more unity, the more depth. The more division, the more shallow.
Lost: The Complete Sixth And Final Season - This groundbreaking, epic TV series is based largely on philosophy and classic literature, but is told in a mysterious and thrilling style which is very contemporary. In my opinion, the most important thing ever aired on television.
The Coming Aristocracy - A rapid read, yet a meaty book, which puts into black and white the problem with tyranny and elitist thinking—and actually provides a solution through independent "mini-factories."

No comments:

Post a Comment