• For posts related to budget, finanace, legalities, distro, and marketing (including festivals) please post in Film Biz.
    Rule of thumb:
    Filmmaking for directors (creative)
    Film Biz for producers (buisness)

directing Is originality in film dead?

Hey my friends, wanted to know your opinion on this interesting topic! Many say that there is nothing new or original to be made in films anymore. That every idea has already been done, and that a filmmaker should embrace this fact in their filmmaking. What’s your thoughts on this? Is originality dead? Or does it still exist. This is relevant for film directors, producers, all of the creative posts in general.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
"Everything has been done" is a macro concept, not micro. You can still be original with parts of your story, the details, characters, editing, pacing, anything! When people say this they are talking about the big picture. The archetype or hero's journey, etc. Perhaps that has all been done, you can still be original.
 
We're all just re-creating the works of the ancient Greeks and Romans :)

In other words, I don't consider that to be a serious concern. I consider both of my features to be original, and hope your movie is as well.
Lol yeah that’s true. I like to believe that my movies are original as well. My personal opinion is that there is still a lot of room for invention when it comes to filmmaking. Still lots of space for innovation and adventure. Which especially is a thing that excites me to make films!
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Yup so keep at it.
 
"Everything has been done" is a macro concept, not micro. You can still be original with parts of your story, the details, characters, editing, pacing, anything! When people say this they are talking about the big picture. The archetype or hero's journey, etc. Perhaps that has all been done, you can still be original.
Yeah your definitely right in my view! Reason I asked for your opinions is because quite a lot of filmmakers around me insist that there is no originality. They may or may not be right, always interesting to see others viewpoints.
 
Last edited:

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Well it's true. If you are an inventor do you give up if someone tells you everything has been invented?
 

Nate North

Business Member
indieBIZ
I've had this conversation many times in life, and I'll just give my defaut answer, not that it's too different than what everyone above has already said.

We've all heard the same stories over and over. Boy meets girl. They fall in love, girl kills boy with a circular saw. Girl steals a motorcycle and goes on an arson bender only to realize that a race of intelligent dinosaurs have emerged from a hidden chamber beneath the pyramid of Giza bent on destroying the LinkedIn headquarters to end the infinite stream of useless email notifications that woke them from their 10,000 year sleep. Sure, there's already a hundred movies with the same plot.

But the counterpoint is, you have to realize people have been saying this "nothing new under the sun" thing for a thousand years. And every day we prove them wrong. A few years ago, people said to themselves, every type of youtube channel has been done. Anything I do is just some second rate copy. Then Hot ones comes out, and Sean gets nationally famous for creating a show where people just eat hot sauce during an interview. Nobody saw that coming.


So every time you think there is nothing new to write, or imagine, someone will come along and prove you wrong, and that is how it will always be.

TLDR, don't worry about it, you're probably more creative than you think!
 

CamBlamo

Pro Member
indiePRO
Everything we as human critters make is based on genectic, historic, cultural, ideation influences we gain from birth to death.

Passed down, on and on and on....
But, anything the indivudual does with all that info is theirs to shape and build and create in any way they want to.

So yes, looking at it broadly sure... Nothing original... But looking at it from the individual... That changes it slightly.
 
To me originality isn't so much the percentage of your story that has never existed before. It's more "how can you make an idea, probably based off of other ideas, unique to your own storytelling style?"

Star Wars was based off tons of things before it, but that doesn't make it unoriginal. It was innovative and groundbreaking in so many ways, by adapting old-as-dirt stories into something new and vibrant at the time. That's what matters, IMO. Take old ideas, refresh them in a way that hasn't ever been done.

Truly, I think a story that: "0% of any element has ever existed in any story before this" is probably not a thing anymore, and if it were to be it would likely be really confusing and dull.
 

Nate North

Business Member
indieBIZ
I come from an analytic background, and to me, solving for creativity is just another math problem. Honestly, it's one of the easier ones. I'm not sure if my communication skills are up to the task, but I'll try to explain how I see it. Think of a cartesian matrix where every point in the cloud is a creative idea. When you start doing the math, there are literally billions of possible ideas. So let's say a plotline is like a lightning bolt going through the 3d space. it's not so much that we're running out of sky, it's that a lot of the lightning bolts are starting from the same cloud, and striking the same lightning rods.

So here's the solution I use for creativity, one of many I'm sure. I move the starting point sometimes, I move the goal sometimes, and more than anything else, I create constraints that stylize and procedurally affect the development of the creative process. You've seen this before, and it works.

Lets say the network asks for a detective show. The easiest way to refresh creativity is to move zones. Detective on the moon, detective in a wheel chair, psychic detective, etc. More creative would be to add deeper constraints, and multiplex them in a way that creates drama dynamically.

Case in point, The Shield. Perhaps the most creative detective show I've ever seen. A lesser writer would have moved the detective to LA, and left it at that, maybe the show could have been called "LA cop" there could be standard police procedural stuff, except it happened in front of the Chinese theater sometimes. What they did on The Shield though, was to make the main character an anti-hero. Then they made a meta change in the overall behavior of the plot. Events had lifelike reprecussions, and did not auto resolve at the end of episodes. Even in serial shows, plots typically resolve, tension is created, then released, providing room for new plots to replace them. In the shield, an event happens in the first episode, and the reprecussions of that event create a domino effect that spirals out of control and affects every episode until it's final resolution in the last episode, seven years later.

Case in point Star Trek. Maybe this constraint is harder to spot on the surface, but Star Trek almost never had a plot that centered around money. It's harder to see something that isn't there than it is to see something that is there, but if you think back, no main character in Star Trek was ever motivated by financial gain. There were certainly some creative overlap with past shows, but that one change in mentality reliably created something that was fairly unique.

In the words of Apple "Think Different"
 
Top