Benjamins, Big Ideas, and Michael Bay

With weird wearables gaining traction, we must ask ourselves,1 “When does it stop? Where do we draw the line?” I guess I’m kind of an optimist in that I like to believe nothing’s impossible as long as we can dream it. But just because we can dream it, doesn’t mean we should bring it to life. Let’s not forget what happened when Gene Wilder brought Peter Boyle and chocolate rivers into existence.I’ve had plenty of dreams that I wish to remain in that realm — confined and subconscious. Like the girl from The RingThe Ring girl should NOT be able to climb through television screens.3 That officially crosses the line. Respect the line, Ring girl.

So, which ideas should we bring to life?

One of the Creative Directors at The Richards Group once reminded me that the seed — the purest, simplest form of the idea — is the most important part of the creative process. Without a good seed, your labors — your sleepless nights, your hours of obsessive note-taking and idea-bouncing — will inevitably prove fruitless. He told me he was always more impressed with the caliber of the idea than the craft of execution. Far too often he would see ad portfolios with blown-out ideas that, in his opinion, had no business being executed. That’s what a creative director is for, though — to tell you not to go forward with a concept, to tell you your idea is BAD, sometimes killing your baby and crushing your half-baked dreams in the process. They’re saving you in the long run, and making space for something better. Because they believe you can do better. So don’t take it personally. Although it’s nice to be able to show a recruiter — or anyone you want to impress, really — a well-directed video piece (they’re easily digestible and ask less of the audience), he argued he’d rather read a well-written script or a scribble on a dirty napkin than a beautiful, but idealess (or just idea-lacking) masterpiece.

Not enough people think this way anymore. We certainly don’t reward it enough in current culture. We like easy. We like flashy. We like giant robotron-style tiger/lion/liger stadium entrances. Look at Michael Bay blowing up4 the box office every few months. But seriously Mike, cool it on the box office. This is, like, the twenty-billionth time that we’ve had to call the fire department on you. Because you’re ON FIRE, that’s why.  He’s so on fire that he lives and breathes fire. Like Trogdor (#throwbackreference). I imagine Mickey “Big Bucks” Bae (his street name, duh) roasts chestnuts over burning Benjamins in his spare time. That, or he ever-so-carefully papier-mâchés Benjamin-and-coke-lined bottle rockets.That’s how much he’s on fire/how big his bucks are. Although his movies are not my personal “fav” — as the kiddos say — you gotta respect a man that can make $1B+ off of an 18-percenter, Robots-Meet-Dinosaurs flick.

To carry on with Hollywood examples of ideas versus CGI, let’s take a quick look at Christopher Nolan’s work. I tend to be a Christopher Nolan defender myself because of this exact idea-versus-execution principle. Regardless of execution, dialogue, and plot holes, can any of us honestly claim we were not intrigued by the idea behind InceptionInterstellar, and The Prestige? You don’t see that anymore. You don’t see much of anything you haven’t seen before anymore. So has everything that can be dreamed been dreamt? Have we reached our collective creative limit?  I don’t think so. I think we’re just lazy-disguised-as-efficient. We need more kid presidents and kids who are prepared to be president. We need go-getters, not forgers and forgetters. Makers, not takers. More doers, less consumers. All those fun clichés. Because we have enough recyclers (no offense to my hometown peeps in Portlandia). But first, before all of that, we need to stop saying “not I.” And if we refuse? The future, it would seem, will be full of disappointment and déjà vu.

And Michael Bay, bae.

  1. Other things you may ask yourself can be found by clicking on this HyperPortal™.
  2. Okay, it was actually mostly good—monumental civil rights strides were made allowing monsters to marry. Also a spoiled chubster gets stuck in a tube. Nothing makes us laugh more than schadenfreudian fat- (or phat-) boy slips into chocolate rivers. But you get the point.
  3. Viewer discretion.
  4. No duh, Camille—he literally blows up everything he comes in contact with. He’s like the King Midas of pyrotechnics.
  5. Remind me to remake October Sky but with Michael Bay winning the science fair.

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