I Am Mr. William Tell

A couple of things that I encountered the last couple of weeks reminded me what everything is about that we try to do here online. And we often try to put too much thought into things, and because of that, we mess up the whole reason why we produce anything at all.

Which is?

Hit what you aim for. Define your goal, and try to reach it. And after that, set up a new goal.

Sounds simple heh? Well, guess again. Because, somehow it seems like we are all trying to be overachievers. We are trying to hit our targets as beautifully as possible.

Mr. William Tell did not care how he hit the apple on the head, his goal was hitting that apple. And that’s it. It did not have to be with a blinged-out arrow, with a flight of an arrow that did exactly ‘Swwwwiiiissssh’. Nope. It had to hit the target. Done.

The reason why this came up is because that my daughter wanted to watch a Disney Channel movie some time back. And my wife and daughter sat down to watch it. I, somehow, still have in my head the idea that if a movie was not originally made to hit the big screen, it must not be good enough. Which is completely wrong, since I know enough movies I really loved that never hit the big screen, or performed badly in the theatres; Steal the Sky, The Beast of War, The Fountain and Sunshine to name a small few (check them out, I can really recommend each and every one).

So, back to this movie. The movie was called ‘Geek Charming’, a rom-com about a popular but seemingly not to bright girl in high-school and a geeky boy who is making a documentary about her for the film festival. Of course, they hate each other in the beginning, but I am really not delivering any spoilers here to tell you that they will find each other in the end. Yes, I have seen it this last weekend because my wife actually recommended the movie to me, because even I have sometimes a sweet-spot for rom-coms (Honestly, don’t blame me for it, but I have seen Notting Hill 7 times in the cinema, I know. I did not put that on my resume 😉 ).

And I did watch it this weekend. And you know what. Sure, no Academy-award work here, but it was not bad at all. I actually enjoyed myself watching it. Acting was good enough, story was what was to be expected, predictable, but fine. So, 90 minutes later, I actually had the feeling I have spent a light-hearted 90 minutes that were perfect for a Saturday morning.

To be honest, I have felt completely different by watching The adventures of Tin-Tin, Most of the Michael Bay movies, and many others. It has nothing to do with excellent film making (Tin-Tin is made by my favorite movie makers Spielberg and Jackson), or a compelling story, it is the whole package and the expectancy of the viewer.

So, although I am not too much in social media myself, I always like to read up on movies I just seen, and so I also checked up on this movie on IMDB. And one of the responses really made my realize what this posting is about; one woman was writing a huge review mentioning that the premis of the story was so unrealistic, since in real life the most popular girl and the most geeky boy would never end up together because that is not how it works.

Duh!

Notting Hill features a local book-store owner who ends up with the claimed most desired actress of that time. Yeah right. Sounds completely realistic…

It is not about if the movie is realistic. If we would judge every movie upon that, E.T. should be flushed, Lord of the Rings should be stripped of its gazillion Oscars, Indiana Jones and Star Wars and Star Trek should all be removed from the movie archives.

This movie was one written for the youth, I guess the 10-17 age range, mostly targeted to girls. It was released on f-in Disney Channel… This movie was not produced with high hopes of getting awarded, it was produced to get a movie out there that would make some money. And you know what, I think they did a whole lot better than they expected.

The goal of this movie was to entertain. Don’t look to much into it. And if it would have been realistic, it would be making every viewer feeling dreadful because of their memories, or reflections, of how their life in highschool is/was.

Finally a Segway to IT:

It is about hitting your target. Creating a production with a certain goal in mind… try getting there. I am dealing on a daily basis with clients who say that they do that, but in reality they spend time on all the bells and lose track of how actually to get to that goal.

Recently I was building a production for a foreign client through an intermediary, and the clients only goal was to teach and inform the audience. But in the end we ended up spending so much time into the unnecessary details that actually keeps the audience from learning anything  and only would make things ‘prettier’ but more difficult, that not only did the audience stay away completely, we went way over budget and timeline. While, if we would have pushed for hitting the target first, and then see where we could make things better, we would have done perfectly fine.

But my intermediary just was plucking the last hairs that he still dearly hung on to out of his head dealing with the client, because the guy did not want to hear, or listen. And now, he waster a lot of time and money, without getting even close to where he wanted to go.

And this happens more often than not. And I think we all know this…

Look at Craigslist. Even after they became immensely successful, the design is still crap, and the way it works is still a mystery. And I complain a lot, but you know what? They wanted a marketplace created and maintained by the community, and it does exactly that. And it is successful. While eBay, which does try the same thing with eBay-classifieds fails miserably, although it is free too, but looks a lot better and works a lot nicer. Still not perfect, but better.

If your goal is to entertain your audience, then entertain them. Or they will leave. If they require a certain functionality, make it work, and then make it look nice.

** This, by the way, makes me doubt my posting on the ending of Mass Effect 3 that I have written, because although I loved the ending of the story BioWare presented, if I reflect it on this posting, they should rewrite the ending… which I still disagree with. Maybe because it entertained me. **

Do I try to say that no things should be produced that should be gorgeous, and work flawlessly and smooth while getting to your goal? Of course not. But, make sure getting to your goal is always your priority. That’s all… it will save you a lot of money, and a lot of time… and hopefully create a satisfied audience.

Wow! Quite some depth from a chick-flick on the Disney-Channel 😉

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