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Creative Credit Crisis

by Dan Robles on March 1, 2009

“Luke, use the Force”

Creativity is a mystery to many – like an invisible force that drives the universe but can only be seen in retrospect.  If so, then Hollywood is the master of retrospect.

Most movie viewers think that the credits at the end of a movie are for their benefit.  Then they get frustrated when the print is so small and scrolling impossibly fast.  Actually, the credits are for the benefit of Hollywood. This is their knowledge management system.  They know how to communicate the Force.

“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more”

Being listed in movie credits is by no means an easy task. Every creative job from lead actor to hairdresser has a category. It often takes many years, serious peer review, and marketable success.  However, once listed in the credits you become a managing partner, shareholder, and a currency in the Hollywood creative capital inventory.  This inventory is captured and categorized in the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).  This is their resume system.

As a credited creative worker, you are forever on public display; a good movie credit reflects well on your credits and a bad movie may reflect poorly.  You need to be somewhat selective over what projects to work on.  Likewise, everyone will check the credits of others that are working on the project.  Everyone cooperates fully and in the best interest of the production.  It is in everyone’s best interest to be correctly allocated in the creative capital pool.

“Here’s lookin’ at you, kid”

It’s all about who knows you. The Producers proactively seek and test the “secret sauce” for communicating drama, comedy, action, etc.  They reflect on past projects then attempt to capture strategic combinations of creative capital assets for future projects.  The project becomes the people. The people celebrate each other on award nights and through tangential media. They adopt technology, share ideas, and diversify readily.  As a result, creativity and innovation are quite predictable.

“You’re going to need a bigger boat”

Contrast this to the traditional American Corporation – the ones that we expect to float us out of this financial meltdown through vast new wisdom, creativity, and innovation.  Most are top-down command and control operations with many layers of management that all have the power to say “no”, but not the power to say “yes”.  Instead of arriving at the best decisions, they often arrive at the least-worst decisions.

“Theater is like a box of chocolates”

Now, reflect on this nascent social media industry unfolding all around us.  Readers harvest new ideas on public display from all over the world and apply them to local products.   Such products, by definition, reflect the goals, aspiration, talents, and interests of the people who create them.  The content improves information shared by many sources.  Content of merit with enough credits can elevate the author to the status of “thought leader”.  But something is still missing.

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate”

Social media needs a definite product that the whole industry can rally around – that product is ‘communication’.  Social media must produce, improve, and deliver communication. Very few problems are created by communication but many problems are solved with communication.  Communication improves information, knowledge and innovation.  Solved problems are defined as innovations. It is a simple matter of how we organize ourselves;  as a creative industry or as a control industry.

Credits:

Star Wars

Wizard of Oz

Casablanca

Jaws

Twitter

Cool Hand Luke

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