Box Office numbers continue to climb. It seems like a new movie almost every year out does another for record profits. Of course if tickets keep increasing in price by 10-15% a year, this may be inevitable.
But what is interesting is it has little to do with originality. Obviously the story lines in 2011’s movies were original at some point, but they aren’t original today.
It is not that there is not originality out there, but proven money makers get the investments these days. Movies aren’t usually on $10 million budgets any more, they are on $300 million budgets and you can’t afford to take a risk on originality when you are messing with that many zeros. But dollars and cents are just one of several huge hurdles for creativity on the big screen.
Here is how I think Creativity Waning translates to our everyday world.
Leaders over and over again see something play out well in another organization, church, nonprofit, restaurant, and they copy it. Sometimes this works amazingly. Other times it fails miserably.
Leaders Copy because they are scared. Scared of failing. With the critical and sarcastic nature of our culture, failing today is ridicule forever. You can get scarlet lettered for trying and leaders clam up and copy another’s success.
Leaders Copy because it is easy. Being original is hard work. Having a deep awareness of the needs of a community, target audience, etc…takes time, energy, thought, and lots of effort. Copying is the short cut. Make a few tweaks and call it original.
Leaders Copy because it is cheaper. Money is in shorter supply it seems and it seems to take a lot of money to be original. That usually isn’t true, but it does seem that way.
Leaders Copy because it worked. Everyone loves a winner, including the leader. Leaders want to lead a winner and they want their teams to be winners. Leaders of winners say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Leaders who just want to be winners say, “if works for them, let’s copy it.”
Leaders Copy because they are followers. Yep, I am saying some leaders aren’t really leaders. Leadership is a buzz word for everything these days and it is kind of the standard for educated humanity. Everyone is called a leader and challenged to be a leader. But the reality is, some people just aren’t leaders, even though they think they are, people think they are, even their title and responsibilities say they are.
Not every leader has to be artistically creative to successfully run their organization. But leaders do need to be original. No two situations are the exact same. Different people, different cities, different budgets, different technology, different years.
Don’t be afraid to be original. Adapting someone else’s blockbuster hit is not usually the key to lasting, impacting success. This is the real world, not the silver screen.