Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cargo Cult Filmmaking

To quote the opening of the Wikipedia article on Cargo Cults:

A cargo cult is a type of religious practice that may appear in tribal societies in the wake of interaction with technologically advanced, non-native cultures. The cults are focused on obtaining the material wealth of the advanced culture through magical thinking, religious rituals and practices, believing that the wealth was intended for them by their deities and ancestors ... Members, leaders, and prophets of cargo cults maintain that the manufactured goods ("cargo") of the non-native culture have been created by spiritual means, such as through their deities and ancestors, and are intended for the local indigenous people, but that, unfairly, the foreigners have gained control of these objects through attraction of these material goods to themselves by malice or mistake.

The result is the instigation of rituals and rites to bring the cargo to them, invoking the magic that will see them rewarded with the cargo from the sky.

Which made me think of Hollywood and, to a slightly lesser extent, other Film/TV organisations and conglomerates. (Actually mega-corporations as well but that's not my focus.)

Talent-less executives using the magical rituals of the "screenwriting gurus" that they perceive as the magical formulas for success in their desperation to create the blockbuster that will make them.

The magic must work because it has worked is the thinking.

The fact that these so-called formulae only work if backed by actual writing talent passes them by, just like any ignorant savage. Woebetide (and a thousand curses upon) anyone who suggests that a good story with good characters is what you actually need.

A simple concept, a horrible result. Let the sacrificing of human hearts begin.

Addendum: And, of course, the more they fail, the stronger they adhere to the rituals - they must have done some bit of it wrong, must stick even more strenuously to the prescribed rules. If it didn't work it can't be the ritual that was wrong...

I can't claim complete originality for this concept, I read this article today and realised that it applies particularly to Hollywood and other TV/Film establishments.

What's on the turntable? Nuffink, I'm at work

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