Debate and Discussion

Has it all been done before?
Priceman at 2:24PM, March 22, 2007
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When i was in the planning stages of making my comic, I remember going over tons of different ideas. The thing is: as soon as I started to go with one, I'd have to stop and think "this plot sounds just like *insert title*.“ I did this for at least 15 ideas and concepts; even after I pitched my final idea to my wife, she was all like, ” you just named like 10 movies, games, and books all in that 5 minutes.“

When you stop to think about it, it seems like everything as been done so far. It explains why most movies coming out of Hollywood now are mostly sequels, remakes, or horror stories that have more gore than the one before it. That's part of the reason I think movies like ”The Matrix“, ”The One“, and ”Riddick" did so well. They were truly unique and original concepts.

So what do you think? Am I just so crowded with media on my mind that I can't separate my fantasy from theirs. Or am i right by saying that originality is becoming more and more rare; making it hard to do something that hasn't already been done?
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:47PM
Priest_Revan at 3:22PM, March 22, 2007
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It's hard to be original. Someone, somewhere, probably does something that is very similar to what you do.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:48PM
reconjsh at 3:38PM, March 22, 2007
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There's a lot of original concepts out there on the larger, complete scale. As for smaller things that make up the concepts, it's unlikely you'll find something that hasn't “been done before”. Most of the ideas that form the whole concept will, in fact, have been done before.

So, just them together in a way that hasn't been done before.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:02PM
subcultured at 3:40PM, March 22, 2007
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i don't think it has. there are a lot of stories to be told. just because there are a lot of repeating stories from noncreative people saturating the market, doesn't mean there aren't untapped tales to be told.

just like hollywood. boy meets girl stories happen all the time because studios put it out to make money. but once in a while you have some creative genius that creates a very original movie.
J
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:01PM
WingNut at 4:42PM, March 22, 2007
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Mayhaps there are stories similar to yours, I know there are hundreds of ‘dudes living together gaming comics’ out there, but it's the spin that YOU put on it. The thing that makes a story different is how the author puts themselves into it. It's your views, your experiences, and your world. Shape it the way you want it to be shaped, but put yourself into it. Without that, it's all been told before.

(Advice given to me by a very close friend of the family, and author of Dare to be a Great Writer, Leonard Bishop.)

-W
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:50PM
SpANG at 5:34PM, March 22, 2007
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Everything is derivative. That's not actually a bad thing all the time, though.
“To a rational mind, nothing is inexplicable. Only unexplained.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:52PM
ccs1989 at 5:42PM, March 22, 2007
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As long as your entire concept isn't one giant cliche you're basically okay. What's sad is that even if your story is cliche and crappy, if your art is flashy enough people will still eat it up (*coughSuperman/BatmanbyJosephLoebcough*).

However in many cases it can help to mix old ideas with new ideas, creating something that is simultaneously a homage and yet very unique at the same time. Invincible is probably the best example of this. You should all be reading Invincible (by Robert Kirman and Ryan Ottley).
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:38AM
Hawk at 5:59PM, March 22, 2007
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My teachers tell me that you pretty much have to count on everything having been done, but what you do is you take something that people might find familiar or cliche and twist it in a way that nobody's thought of before.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:45PM
Priceman at 11:24PM, March 22, 2007
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Hawk
what you do is you take something that people might find familiar or cliche and twist it in a way that nobody's thought of before.

Little Red Riding Hood was on her way to grandma's house when a pirate asked, “where are you going little girl?”

Even coming up with a twist to a popular story can be difficult. And in the end, you're still using something that was already there; kinda like a template or something. Can you really call that original?
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:47PM
kingofsnake at 11:32PM, March 22, 2007
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The essence of good writing is knowing which cliche's to maintain, and which to ignore.

You could probably still do something COMPLETELY original. But it wouldn't be very could, it wouldn't really be based on life.


FLCL was original. At least I feel it was. I'm not saying it didn't build on the backs of what came before it I'm just saying it took the material in a direction it was never taken before.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
lothar at 5:32AM, March 23, 2007
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hey this thread reminds me of an Insane Clown possee song !

anyway , people have prolly been saying this kind of thing since before there was language , just look at how many different cultures came up with the idea of building pyramids , but they all put their own spin on it and that's what's important !
it's a good thing Sheakspear didn't get in a funk about how the greeks had already written plays about everything !
art and expression is bound to be redundant, but who cares! and NOBODY has seen everything , so even if i make a movie with the exact same plot as the matrix but use carebears instead of humans , somebody is gunna love it !
it is outright IMPOSSIBLE to come up with something completely Original, you would have to be an alien to be able to do that !

Creation is all about passion and ignorance
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
Hawk at 7:05PM, March 23, 2007
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Priceman
Even coming up with a twist to a popular story can be difficult. And in the end, you're still using something that was already there; kinda like a template or something. Can you really call that original?

Yeah, that's true. That's what's so tough about trying to make new things. The proof is when you look at at something you like… I'll just arbitrarily use Spiderman. Spiderman's really popular and seems like a fairly original thing, but of course we know he was built by variations on things that were already done.

Crime-fighting superhero (nothing new here)
+
unique powers (haven't seen a spider-based guy yet)

There's actually a lot of mix and match when you consider what's new and what's not. All sorts of elements of Spiderman are either completely cliche or groundbreaking for the time. What makes Spiderman popular is like what kingofsnake just said… you gotta know what cliches to keep and which ones to ditch.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:45PM
reconjsh at 10:52PM, March 23, 2007
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I think, perhaps, if you come to the end conclusion that there's nothing original left to make, then you probably won't ever make anything original.


So just keep putting ideas together with the hope of discovery and you're bound to eventually make something new, fresh and exciting… and maybe even something timeless.

last edited on July 14, 2011 3:02PM
ozoneocean at 4:11AM, March 24, 2007
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lothar
Creation is all about passion and ignorance
That's it! It's your version of he creation that matters, not the fact that it's especially unique, just that you made your's really cool. ^_^

It is important to spot popular cliches when they pop up though and try and mange them somehow to make them less offensive to your thinking viewers. Unthinking viewers don't really care, but then those people aren't hard to impress anyway and your creation is mostly wasted on them. :(

This is where Hollywood fails time and again, not because it's “Hollywood” but because it's big-business-managed industrialised creativity. With the money involved and the fact that non-creative business types manage it means that risk and therefore creativity has to be minimised, the record industry is exactly the same. It's not those systems are incapable of producing good creative product, it's just that with the way they're set-up it makes it far less likely. Playing it safe and trying not to lose money means a bias for the same old stories, and popular ways of doing things.

If you're not taking risks on the scale they're taking, then it should be a lot easier for you to make something that seems a lot fresher and more interesting!
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:26PM
suzi at 10:31AM, March 24, 2007
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There's also the fact that creativity also includes how it's done, not just what it is. One of my favorite webcomics, xkcd, is basically a bunch of cynical anecdotes and geeky jokes like so many other comics (done very well, but let's pretend that doesn't matter), but what makes it so intriguing to me is how the artist continues to draw tiny stick figures when it looks like they could do something more complicated. Sometimes the strips have gorgeous colored pencil landscapes in them. It's this unique presentation that makes the difference and sets the comic apart (for me at least) from other well-written comics in the same genre that use styles and execution similar to so many others.

In addition, the human mind also wants archtypal stories. My mom has a huge book explaining the 7 basic story types and how they've endured for centuries, going all the way back to bible stories and ancient mythology, to Beowulf and folk tales, to the Renaissance, to the 19th century novel, to Lord of the Rings, to the more successful (culturally, not necessarily monetarily) stories of today. Humans want the good vs. evil, monster vs. peace, a coming of age story, etc etc. Jungian psychology and all that. I think a lot of times people who want to create something that is just SO BOLDY original, they don't let their inner voice tell them what would truly be better; maybe those cliches that pop up in your head all the time are there for a reason.

lothar
Creation is all about passion and ignorance

I completely agree. Don't think so hard about what you think is unique, don't think so hard about matching previous ideas. Just let go and create.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:05PM
Alexis at 12:40PM, March 24, 2007
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Yes, it has all been done before, more or less. That goes for all art. In my opinion. My feeling has always been that the more often something has been done the better you have to do it to make it worthwhile. Example: If you paint a flower you better bring something amazing to that flower. If you paint something mroe unusual the standards aren't wuite as high, because we will have less to compare it with. My photography professor once told me a quote, I can't remember who said it, but the quote was “no one has photographed a pepper until you have.” That made some sense to me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
Priceman at 8:16PM, April 4, 2007
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Alexis
“no one has photographed a pepper until you have.” That made some sense to me.

Strangely, I understand that. Thanks.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:47PM
reconjsh at 8:46PM, April 4, 2007
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Priceman
Alexis
“no one has photographed a pepper until you have.” That made some sense to me.

Strangely, I understand that. Thanks.
I searched for this quote and I'm struggling finding the originator of it… I've come up with “Jim Beecher” or “Duane Michals”. I don't really know enough about either to know if one of them said it or it was someone else.

Perhaps that'll help you figure out who it was. Whoever it was, that quote seems profound to me too.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:02PM
draxenn at 10:07PM, April 4, 2007
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Priceman
That's part of the reason I think movies like “The Matrix”, “The One”, and “Riddick” did so well. They were truly unique and original concepts.

Nah.
The matrix had many concepts that were very similar to the storytelling game Mage:The Ascencion.
The One's main idea is identitcal to The Highlander. Riddick i haven't seen so I can't comment on it.

I've learned that it pretty much has all been done. A new and exciting idea, was alreayd had 10 years ago across the planet.
A PERFECT example. My friend and I have been playing AD&D together for many many years. He has a favorite character to which he wrote an extensive and original background too. A background that has taken a few years to perfect.
While searching the net, I came across a character that had the same first name as my friends, but the last name was different. The backgrounds were VERY similar, to the point you would think one had copied from the other.

Makes you wonder if that whole ‘one consciousness’ thing really is…
Screw the money! I have RULES!
. o O ( Evil )
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:16PM
kyupol at 5:55AM, April 5, 2007
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everything has been done before. Deal with it. :)

No matter how original you think you are, it has been done before.


The best you could do is your DELIVERY. If you are good, you can take a cliche storyline, spice it up with action, drama, comedy.

There.
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
Senretsu at 6:44AM, April 17, 2007
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draxenn
Nah.
The matrix had many concepts that were very similar to the storytelling game Mage:The Ascencion.
The One's main idea is identitcal to The Highlander. Riddick i haven't seen so I can't comment on it.
And before that Matrix stole a great deal of concepts from “The Third Eye” and the Cyberpunk Subculture.

Simpsons did it! Simpsons did it!

Yeah. Writing comic's gets hard sometimes. I've delayed my Post-Apocalyptic webcomic by three years now because I end up scrapping alot of my idea's because I find they've been done in other popular media already. I tried running a completely original comic series once, in the end I could only achieve 15 nonsensical issues. Still, theres times when ripping something else off can still be funny. Like if I had Mage Greg say “I put on my robe and Wizard Hat”… I think that'd be comedic gold.
I wear a mean dark pair of shades… And you can't see my eyes, unless my head is bent.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:27PM
SpANG at 9:50AM, April 17, 2007
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Ironically enough, this thread was done before (a few years back before the big crash).

At least I think that's irony. Ah, well.
“To a rational mind, nothing is inexplicable. Only unexplained.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:52PM
Priceman at 8:39PM, April 17, 2007
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SpANG
Ironically enough, this thread was done before (a few years back before the big crash).

At least I think that's irony. Ah, well.

Really? My bad for bringing up old news then. I wasn't here before the great DD Crash so I didn't know.

Senretsu
Like if I had Mage Greg say “I put on my robe and Wizard Hat”… I think that'd be comedic gold.

Omg, I remember reading that conversation! Funniest thing I've read in some time. I wish I could find it again.

Found it! http://www.adamchance.com/funny.htm

Bloodninja
It doesn't get any more serious than a Rhinocerus about to charge your ass
Classic!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:47PM
SpANG at 4:45PM, April 18, 2007
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Priceman
SpANG
Ironically enough, this thread was done before (a few years back before the big crash).

At least I think that's irony. Ah, well.

Really? My bad for bringing up old news then. I wasn't here before the great DD Crash so I didn't know.
I didn't mean that I had a problem with you posting it. I was just pointing out the fact that everything has been done before. ;)

But seriously, a lot of people here weren't on DD back then. So it's all good.
“To a rational mind, nothing is inexplicable. Only unexplained.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:52PM
mlai at 6:29PM, April 18, 2007
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Well, according to Joseph Campbell, the human consciousness is universal, and so our greatest myths and stories are also universal.

Therefore, if you're aiming to write a great story, it by definition cannot be original. But it is human nature to delight in hearing the same story ad infinitum, but just draped in different skins.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
usedbooks at 8:28AM, April 20, 2007
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Ecclesiastes
What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun.
And that was a LONG time ago.

There are always new ways to tell old stories. “Boy meets girl” might be an old story, but that is generic. Where they meet, how they meet, their jobs, their cultures, (depending on your world) their species, their histories, their talents… That's a lot of combinations. Not all of them have been “done.” You probably can't teach any new lessons or shed light on a revolutionary new concept about humanity, but you can still tell new stories – or old stories in new ways.

(My ecology professor uses the quote above to discuss scientific studies and literature. That scientists who become known for discovering or inventing a concept are pretty much never the first person to have that idea.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:36PM
lothar at 4:49PM, April 20, 2007
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yea, what Mlai said.
i was kinda depressed afetr a read Campbell, like , “that's all there is to it?” humans do have pretty dull tastes when you get down to it
so i guess it is rather pointless Trying to be original. if it's not already there somewhere in even a tiney “seed” form it will not ever come out, no matter how hard you try.
although, maybe the human story is like a JPG image loading slowly from the top down into the future, we all be pixels- the overall color can shift, but if it's to sudden its not pretty (looks like noise) the gently gradient is far more pleasant to the eye !
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
mystery at 1:22AM, April 21, 2007
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draxenn
Priceman
That's part of the reason I think movies like “The Matrix”, “The One”, and “Riddick” did so well. They were truly unique and original concepts.
Nah.
The matrix had many concepts that were very similar to the storytelling game Mage:The Ascencion.
Someone once told me: There are only a dozen stories, but thousands of ways to tell each one. “The Matrix” could also be concidered a retelling of the Easter story, the ‘chosen one’ sacrificing themself to save their people from death. It's the same as every story where someone sacrifices themself to save some thing or someone else.
Anyway, feel free to tell a story that's been told before, as long as you tell it in an original way.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM
subcultured at 6:55AM, April 21, 2007
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unless you are gonna be totally random with no script or a senseless story…

“mark went there hi there, purple knight, blak mages. he threw up. one time moon. yes then we here. where is there many people. find some time man. look at machine. yes then end.”

then there is a possibility that the story has some similarities to past stories
J
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:02PM
lothar at 10:25AM, April 21, 2007
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subcultured
“mark went there hi there, purple knight, blak mages. he threw up. one time moon. yes then we here. where is there many people. find some time man. look at machine. yes then end.”

i made that into a comic , just now -CHeck it Out http://www.drunkduck.com/Coming_Soon/index.php?p=191797
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM

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