Thoughts On ‘Claiming Concepts’

I adore film, video-games, and really any form of media able to tell a good story. Irrespective of it’s originality. In that, most things aren’t original anymore by perhaps the concept. However, the artistic fingerprint, content, perspective and a slew of other things make it unique and special. But I find a worrisome thing. It seems as though to me that there are many video games and films which  take an excellent premise and do a piss poor job at executing it. Resulting in a failure of a piece of art. Devolving into, gimmickry, and anyone who creates a latter work that contains such a premise runs into problems.

Take for instance R.I.P.D., the concept was amazing and if executed well, would be exciting, thrilling, and perhaps even philosophical. However, it comes off as a fraction of what it could have been. Too big as well, instead of focusing on a smaller scale conflict and exploring the idea, they went to apocalyptic levels. This leads them to have no where to go afterward. The possibilities of future endeavors is dried up. But the problem I find is, there may be phenomenal stories surrounding this idea. However if other writers were to create works on such an idea (ignorant or not of the existing property)  many people will liken it to R.I.P.D. Either the new work (thought out or not) will be treated as being a rip off, gimmicky, or ‘we already saw that’. Eliminating potential good work. All because someone thought, ‘hey cool idea, rush it through, hollywoodify it’ and well, that idea is now ‘taken’ and will require x-amount of years before it’s gone from the collective movie-lover consciousness.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with making films on ideas like this. Obviously. That’d be counterproductive, uncreative and arrogant. But I worry that when these concepts are placed out there like such that consumers of any medium (film, book, game) will look at it like ‘yep, saw that, it was *insert intellectual property* and your just ripping them off. Wizards? Harry Potter. Zombies? Walking Dead. It’s not always the case. Certainly not. There are loads of zombies as a central point of stories. Though the undead concept I continue to notice among readers is ‘getting old’. Perhaps it is from a writer’s perspective that works I create might have broad similarities to works not yet produced, resulting in potentially unmarketable books because someone else thought ‘Hey quick let’s make something about mythical monsters! Toss in cardboard characters, weak plot line, explosions, one-liners, and cliche story archs. Now anyone who makes a work on Greek gods will be copying us.’ For a few years.

This really comes off as me being an ass, but I mean, it’s become a running joke now that vampire are sparkly teen romance generators. The trend has continued and made similar stories. Fine if you like them. Every, and I mean every story, has it’s audience and power. But, if I created a vampire book, made similar to the spirit of Interview with the Vampire, it’d be taken as being ‘another vampire book’ currently.

Again, I know I sound like a broken record, but, I know this is coming off as being : ‘don’t create what you want/your work sucks’ and I don’t mean it. 90% of writers can prolly write better than me. the other 10% are the ones who write gibberish on a keyboard and then set it on fire. I’m essentially part of that 10%. Or at least that’s how I see myself from time to time. Still, my works are certainly not necessarily good, but I feel I put time and energy into them, and with BETA readers and editors, my works may become consumable pieces of literature. However, if gimmicky works are are continued to be produced as cash-grabs, which service no honor toward film or literature, I fear eventually a broad idea of my work might get made, resulting in comparison and loss of potential readers. Not a loss of profit, but a loss of people who’d actually enjoy it. Perhaps even attracting those who’d read it for supernatural romance rather than a supernatural thriller, with fantasy and psychological implications.

This isn’t an entry on intent to convince others that there needs to be an end to this. This entry is more so a musing, thoughts about it. It comes off as being cynical, aggressive and childish, but it is a viable frettery in part of my mind. However there is a good chance it’s not that problematic. Thinking of Dr. Indiana Jones, you have both Lara Croft and Nathan Drake. Two iconic video-game explorers who hold their own and don’t feel close to Dr. Jones. There is a good chance no matter the pop-cultural awareness/recent takes on paranormal adventures, perhaps I will be alright not having such concepts as specters, out of body experiences and the like made so my work isn’t a mere comparative piece. Kudos to those who make comments that they’ll make a work on such and ensure to give it no personality or their artistic fingerprint in order to sound clever.

Anyway, this was more of a rant or sorts. Aimless, to get thoughts out, and perhaps to those who are interested, to get conversations to go. Again, there is no real point to this. Nothing should be done. Nothing could be done without becoming artistic dictators and completely annihilating the artistic endeavor. Of which, I’d be utterly ashamed.

Perhaps the point of this isn’t that if someone made a game about someone with two souls inside of them, then your work with a character who has two souls is now unusable because you’re ripping off another property. (Again, irrespective of your knowledge of the other property, or what have you.) But rather, your work stands out as being it’s own based on it’s quality. Or the other concepts and story archs that makes it a good story. So on and so forth.

It amazes me how divided I am on this issue. As I write this, I go back and forth.

Anyway, if interested what are your thoughts? Do you think it to be something not bothersome? Or does it annoy you? There is a good portion of me that thinks I overthink things too much. Probably right. Might not be in this instance. Maybe. Don’t know.

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Thoughts On ‘Claiming Concepts’

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