NOTE TO READERS: The following is an exclusive excerpt from the brand-new book by Mr. Forthright, "How to Make It in Hollywood: A Guide For the Delusional."
- Step Six: How to Copy Creativity -
On the Value of Plagiarism
Creativity is learned through the rigorous imitation of other forms of art.
People think Michelangelo’s Sisteen Chapel was pretty good, but most people don’t even realize that the entire thing was traced using that really thin paper after a trip to the Fifteen Chapel. While some people think that fact takes away from the grandeur of the work, it only adds to my personal respect for the artist.
Look at it this way. If you are so creative that you aren’t copying something else, people won’t know how to interpret or understand it. Everything is viewed through the lens of what has already been experienced. The mere act of creating requires that we have something there to begin with, some type of raw material. The best raw material is not original at all, it is something else that has been done. Therefore, you’re much better off producing Land Before Time 13 instead of Really Original Movie A because no one is going to understand Really Original Movie A. They also won’t see it because it has a really terrible name. “But what about Land Before Time 1? That was original, right Mr. Forthright?” you say. Nope. It was based on the history of Dinosaurs, which is not original at all. History is not original, as it usually already happened. Land Before Time 1’s unoriginality was the key to its success. Its originality was the catalyst of its sequels.
Unoriginality is the only real originality. If you remain unconvinced, let’s go a little further this time.
Wealthy Producer Advises:
“$equels! $equels! $equels!”
What is creativity, anyway? Let’s look at the roots of the words. “Creat” and “ivity.” The letters of “creat” can form a number of other words, including CAT, EAT, ATE, RAT, and RECAT. If you EAT or ATE a CAT you would be RECAT-ting, which is the art of turning one form of a cat into another. “Ivity” implies the process of continually RECAT-ting. Thus, creativity is the method of converting something into something else that is very similar, or more simply put, the process of digesting felines.
This explains both the popularity of sequels in the industry and the abundance of cats. Ultimately, cats and sequels are the essence of being creative. This is why a sequel of a movie featuring the king of all cats, Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride made gobs of money despite being released directly to DVD. It was the essence of creativity. On a related note, it’s probably one of the ten best movies ever made.
To makes things easy on you, I’ve RECATTED a CREATIVITY checklist. If your idea(s) meet these requirement, they are hence deemed to be sufficiently creative:
- The work is eerily similar to something else that was highly creative
- The work can pitched by saying: It’s _______ meets ________
- The work is universally understood
- The work features at least one character who eats cats
- The work is a sequel or has a sequel ready
- The work adheres to the steps outlined in this work
- The work does not question the steps outlined in this work
- The work thanks the author of this work
- The work has checked this checklist
If anything at that list jumped out at you, it might be because you are fighting the natural creative juices inside us all. Please don’t fight back. There’s a story inside of you that needs to get out, but in order to do so it needs to be very similar to something else. Remember this and you will be fine.
Reader question: What can I do about writer’s block?
Answer: Writer’s block occurs when a writer runs out of ideas. However, it’s nearly impossible to run out of ideas when you are taking other people’s ideas. Writers who suffer from a lack of ideas are clearly trying too hard to think. They need to be spending more time reading other people’s work and borrowing the worst of it. Once you have gotten to the point where you have already stolen everything, you need to start stealing from yourself.
In your own path along my guidelines toward creativity, you’d do well to study the most successful movies. Blockbusters are the best examples of creativity in the market, as evidenced by their financial success. (And if you disagree with that, you’re a communist*).
*This isn’t an asterisk, it’s a red star, comrade.