Saturday, September 17, 2011

The "Re" Factor - An analogy (and quick rant)

Yes, remakes, reboots and re-imaginings. The bane of Hollywood at the moment. For example, how many Super & Spider Men do I need in my cinematic world? Problem is, audiences flock to go see them. I struggle to understand why...

Then I noticed a certain phenomena on Facebook: status updates that are cut and pastes from various comedy websites - without quotation marks or attribution (writers have a word for that but let's not go there) - thereby appearing to be the poster's own creation. Which is met with much acclaim and adulation. Oh, how hilarious the poster is! How witty! Likes and comments up the wazoo.

Zero creativity for maximum response.

I used to be notorious (until most of my offending friends took the hint) for berating people who forwarded recycled crap off the internet to my personal email. "Dazzle me with your own wit and brilliance" used to be my plea! I guess none of my friends' surnames end in Christopher Nolan.

Social Media appears to have increased the practice exponentially. But can you blame the poster? They get the response they want with minimum effort.

Isn't that what the big Hollywood studios are doing? Recycling old product in a slightly different guise? Of course they'll keep doing it if people keep paying their hard earned over the counter. Same as hitting that "Like" button. Why go to the trouble (and expense) of creating something new and original?

Drives me nuts as someone who tries to create new and original content (in both mediums) but it seems to be the way of the world these days - the quick, easy fix.

Rant over as I type '"today's funniest jokes" into the google machine...


  1. You have made some very good points,sir. I found out recently that one of my Facebook friends thought I was cutting and pasting my statuses. Not the links, mind you, but the stuff that purports to be (and is) my opinion or take on things. I was rather insulted!

    But we're writers and there should be an expectation that what we write is truly our own creation. I don't necessarily hold my non-writing FB friends to the same standard. However, I do believe that's the standard all film and television industries should aim for.

    I have no idea why we're getting a Spiderman reboot 10 years after the original and a mere five years after the second sequel. I suspect we're seeing the unfortunate results of big, swinging dick syndrome at work.

    No one has ever dared try to reboot a franchise while the memory of the original is so fresh in people's minds. If these folks succeed then they will be hailed as marketing geniuses - not filmmaking geniuses.

    I think it takes a certain amount of hubris to sell something that is substantially the same as another thing we bought recently. I'd like to think the audience will be see through this, but because movies are 'experiences' rather than widgets and time appears to dull people's memory until they are faced with the derivative and the cliched yet again, I hold out little hope that this noxious experiment will fail.

  2. In this instance it is an actor who has cut & paste skills par excellence, PJK. I don't know why it annoys me so much.

    Actually, I do. There should be a base level of respect for another person's words whether you're a writer or not.

    As for rebooting movie franchises that have barely been potty-trained, what's there to say?

    Next funding application I submit, I am going to expressly outline my plan to reboot my own original script before re-imagining and remaking it as my marketing strategy. In fact, I strongly believe the reboot should be released BEFORE the source script.

    It's the way of the future...