The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Over My Shoulder

Sometimes fans can be their own worst enemies. How? I shall explain.

It’s not enough for fans to enjoy a finished, end product. They have to know all about it beforehand, during the process of creation. Which, of course, means the fans end up ‘spoiler’-ing themselves, as their first experience of the end product is not a polished graded edit or final mix, but a dodgy rough-cut or work-mix, maybe not in the best quality, maybe incomplete; and even then, the fans know all the surprises in advance.

I’m not going to complain about that. Because fans ‘spoiler’-ing something for themselves is their own business and their own problem. It doesn’t make any difference to the end product, it doesn’t make the creative process more difficult.

What does make it more difficult, though, is the fact that if someone is watching you, suddenly you’re placed in a position where it would look bad if you were to change your mind or admit to having made a mistake. Suddenly your indecision or blunder would be public knowledge.

Which is a problem, because in any creative process, you need to have the freedom to fuck up. To fuck up freely, in private. Even, on occasion, to be able to fire people, in private, for the good of the project. As soon as the project is under public scrutiny, it becomes harder to do that. I mean, every writer has written a dodgy first draft, which they have then polished before submitting; how could they work if they knew there was a chance the dodgy first draft would be published? Every song has started life as a dodgy demo, sung half out-of-tune, with placeholder lyrics. Every film is edited together from the best performances, not the takes where the actors fluffed their lines.

Reminds me when I used to work in the music industry, and we were forever trying to prevent things like release dates and cover artwork being leaked before they had been approved by the artist and set-in-stone; because these thing inevitably changed at the last minute due to unforeseeable factors, and whenever they did, it made the label look incompetent, and reflected badly on the artist.

Yes, once the finished article is out there, then release the working drafts, the early demos, tell the story of how things went wrong during production if you like. But during the process itself... no.

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