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Lights, Camera, Content

2021-08-12

Sequels, Prequels and Remakes...Oh my

Jake Gammon
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Designing, shaping or creating content is a difficult task that even the most skilled creators struggle with.

 Taking the first step through a door of possibilities can be intimidating, but sometimes, it can be beneficial to take a step back instead. You don’t always have to go through that new and exciting door. 

  Creating content doesn’t even start once you take action and begin filming, designing or writing. It starts as an idea in your head. An idea that is most likely influenced by other content. 

Look at some of the best writers and directors. They often reflect on how a movie, painting, song or other creative work changed their lives by inspiring them to create content on an equal level. Edgar Wright hears “Bellbottoms” for the first time, and “Baby Driver” is born. Christopher and Jonathan Nolan read “A Tale of Two Cities” and drew heavy influence when writing and directing “The Dark Knight Rises.” 

But you don’t always have to look to other works for inspiration, you can take a step back, look at your old content and search for inspiration within. 

Existing intellectual properties are constantly being repurposed or expanded on. George Lucas created this “one and done” movie called “Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope"– ever heard of it?

 Given its booming popularity, he decided to continue exploring the universe he created. This opened new doors that were previously closed and got the industry to where it is now. Increasingly producing expansions and remakes to refresh the old fan bases also had the intended side effect of bringing in a new generation of moviegoers.

Repurposing and expanding content like this builds off the concepts we discussed in a previous post about making your content work harder. There we mentioned how you can make the most of each piece of content at your disposal. Filmmakers have been doing this for many years. It’s the reason we can sit down and enjoy over 20 Marvel movies or remakes of old classics. That’s not even mentioning any shows or spin-offs set in the universes we know and love. This method has the potential to boost your content to the next level because people like to see more of the content they love when it’s done right.  

Reviving your previous content can be tricky to navigate though. It is important to realize the difference between making works of art and just pumping out content for the sake of releasing something. No need to go around Frankensteining all your old content and hoping it comes to life again. Rather, look for what created a stir, invoked thought or inspired creation, and restore it so it’s fresh but most importantly, up to date. 

For an example of this, we can look at the many iterations of “A Star is Born.” There are now four adaptations of this film, the original from 1937 and then remakes in 1954, 1976 and 2018. Every single one, especially the most recent release, has been extremely successful. While the major plot points in the story stay the same, the entire atmosphere changes between films. The chemistry of the actors, the visuals of the setting and the richness of the dialogue have an overall effect on the feel of the film. Each one captures the essence of what this story means for that specific time, so no two are alike.

Now, this isn’t to say that all of this only applies to the film industry and that it’s expected for you to be the next Spielberg. Cinema is merely an example of an industry that, for the most part, has done it right. The principles carry over to any facet of content creation. When making a website, or writing a blog or social media post, you are the director, all of your photos and captions are the lead actors. You need to make sure those actors are bold and exciting enough to bring people to your theater to check out your movie (the rest of your content). Then later, when it’s time for an update, you can get new actors that are more relevant to the time≠and maybe you can give a cameo to the ones that were popular with the fans. 

The content we create never dies, but it can be forgotten. So don’t be afraid to take a step back, so that you can take a few steps forward.