Monday, August 9, 2010

The Way to Popularity

What is the key to success? That is a question that has plagued moviemakers for generations. How does one make a successful movie, and what makes that movie significant enough to have such success? I've thought about it, and I think I've come up with something of a satisfactory answer. Every movie that has ever found widespread, universal popularity, has never been a movie that followed the culture, but preceded it.

The movies that have had the highest levels of success are ones that tap into the culture zeitgeist and help create the culture of that generation rather than taking the definitions of that generation's culture and trying to make a movie about it. Sure, some movies may have made some money, but after leaving the theater no one remembers it later, that remembrance all comes down to whether it left a mark on the culture. A good movie that impacts the culture can change the way we talk, create inside jokes or cryptic sayings between one another, or it can even inspire us to do something that we wouldn't have thought of doing otherwise.

Think of stuff like The Breakfast Club, Pulp Fiction, even something like Star Wars. George Lucas' epic sent underdog messages of hope, not to mention the dialogue became quotable and everyone knew what you were talking about the moment you said, "May the Force be with you." The same can be said for The Dark Knight with, "Why so serious?" and Avatar with, "I see you." But I've also come to find out, as a moviemaker you can't consciously do this. It's something that has to develop naturally, and the mingled results of people who have tried to do so and didn't are splattered throughout movie history. Best way to have this potentially happen I've learned is just to try and be original, do something that is at your best attempts unique and unlike anything you've seen before. If it works, then you may have solved that mystery of tattooing the culture.

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