Thursday, January 7, 2010

Storytelling & Originality

Yesterday I came across an image that's appearing on many blogs…so I thought I'd add it to mine, too!

Below is a story outline comparison between Disney's Pocahontas and Avatar:

I was struck by how much it reminded me of a similar one I saw comparing Star Wars and Harry Potter:

It was eye-opening to read the comments to these comparisons. Some feel that there are clear rip-offs while others see no similarities whatsoever.

I think Nina Paley addresses the subject well here.

Someone said that there's only a handful of story themes (love, revenge, etc.). Every story ever created in the history of man is based on those few themes; their originality is in the handling of the themes, not the themes themselves.

As a film buff, I don't feel as much of a need for new film-viewing technologies as I do for the stories to be changed up a bit. Instead of EVERY MOVIE having a white guy named "Jack" (has anyone else noticed this?) make that character Asian or Latino. Make that character female instead of male. Those small changes alone make a huge difference; the point of view of the protagonist is changed. An Asian woman has most likely lived a different life than white guy Jack and that life will inform her decisions. And people's choices and the results of those choices is the essential element of storytelling.

Ultimately, being an artist is about presenting a truthful presentation of one's point of view. Originality, schmariginality!

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