I just spent the weekend with someone who works in movies–does SFX and has worked on some pretty impressive films like Star Trek. It was fascinating to get a peek at a different part of the creative world. He showed me examples of his work, from creating animatronics to rigs for flipping cars and dragging burning tankers over cliffs to set dressing he’s done and props he’s built*.
His work is often not obvious in the final film, but that’s as it should be. If you noticed how the elevator worked or the car was flipped, the movie wouldn’t be as good.
And although I’m not sure he would call his work creative, it most definitely is in my book. Figuring out how to make something look real and work as it must, yeah, that’s creative. The traps in Indiana Jones, for example, are as much a part of the story as Indy’s attitude and his hat. If the traps look fake, the movie doesn’t work as well as it could.
Just like if you see the wire in some shot in any film, the experience is lessened. The details, in other words, count.
To add to that, I ran across this article about the clothing in Inception. In it, the costume designer talks about the clothing as an important part of the story-telling process. The details are important. Each item, each choice of collar or scarf, defines the character and, in this case, even reveals clues about the complex story.
I haven’t seen the film yet, but when I read about this attention to creative detail, I feel even more compelled to get my butt in the theatre.
Anyway, back to my point…
Think about how many creative parts go into making a film. Clothing and make up and set design/dressing and SFX and lighting and directing and writing and acting and, and, and… the list is huge. The more attention is given to each of these creative parts, the better the whole is. The more it reaches us, the viewers.
Now, think about the details of your own creative process. Are you taking the easy way on some parts? Are you saying “Oh, I can fix that in post” or “No one will notice that” as you create an image or a prop or a set or casting talent or lighting or, well, whatever? If so, you are cheating your audience but, more importantly, you are cheating your art.
Creating images is your job. Why do any part of it half-assed?
*Btw, if you ever need a prop or set built, let me know and I’ll give you this guy’s contact info. Depending on the scope of the project, the cost can be quite reasonable.