Why most CG Features don't have good stories (IMO).

Become a member of the CGSociety

Connect, Share, and Learn with our Large Growing CG Art Community. It's Free!

THREAD CLOSED
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11 November 2005   #1
Why most CG Features don't have good stories (IMO).

All:

I'm not going to name any names, but I recently got the chance to view a very good story concept for an unnamed company which got rejected for production by the higher ups. With the recent CG features that have come out this year, I am also embarassed by the lackluster plots of these movies. On top of that, from what I've been hearing about other CG films yet to be released, some also seem to be uninspiring and just plain milking an old idea or a concept. So I've sat down for a few minutes and asked myself - "What's going on here?" I've only come to one conclusion. I think that most of these stories are being greenlit because of a handful of people's tastes (if that). The problem with this is that one important man's sweet taste might be bitter in the majority of people's mouths.

If a lot of these larger studios would allow some democracy in deciding what concepts get greenlit and which ones sit on the shelf, perhaps there would be better story-driven CG features coming out. It seems that everyone waits for Pixar to come out with a good story-driven CG feature. Why? Is it the technology? The animation? The presentation? No. It's probably because more than a few people (perhaps even children) influences the decisions of those in charge..

It's all so frustrating actually..especially when you work at such places...

What do you think?


-M
__________________


Last edited by Shaderhacker : 11 November 2005 at 03:57 AM.
 
Old 11 November 2005   #2
Hey, the stuff is still putting bums into cinema seats... so why change anything? Millions of people flock to the theatres for brainless entertainment, so why change a formula that sells?

I keep reading stuff this year about declining ticket sales and such but I've not noticed any empty cinemas around these parts.
__________________
leighvanderbyl.com
 
Old 11 November 2005   #3
Most blockbusters regardless of full CG or not have horrible stories. There are always gems out there CG or not. You would think that putting so much time and effort into a CG flick they would make sure it has a solid script but like any other film, most of its all about the $ though.

Edit: Darn you Leigh, you said what i was going to add to my post. We as an American whole eat up the poo thats in the theaters, so like Leigh says, why change it? At least thats what the Execs see.
__________________
My opinions do not reflect those of my employer.
Jeff Palmer
 
Old 11 November 2005   #4
Originally Posted by Leigh: I keep reading stuff this year about declining ticket sales and such but I've not noticed any empty cinemas around these parts.


Hmm.. that may be true, but it still is weak. Just think of even more money they'd make if they put out some good content!!

I've been studying the rottentomatoes.com for months now on new films that come out. It seems that the trend is that movies gain "legs" if they have fresh ratings. So for example, Saw II came out and really did good in it's first weekend. However, the reviews are terrible. That leads me to believe that the movie won't last long at all. So even though the homeless flocked to see it, it will disappear from the theatres very quickly because it wasn't deemed very good according to the media. If the movie was actually good, it would make even more money by staying in the theatres longer.

So if I were the man-in-charge at a company that makes CG features, I'd make damn sure that I concentrate on the story so that the movie "sticks". The more it "sticks" - the more money it makes.

-M
__________________

 
Old 11 November 2005   #5
I agree with what's being said, it puts people into seats. Sometimes I feel you could put just about anything on screen, hype it up with the media and it will sell. Besides, creating art/film for the masses is usually dumbed down. I remember my fine arts drawing teacher always preached against creating art for the masses. He always belittled comic books, mtv, most blockbuster movies etc. Art is a language, it sends its message. Is the message worth while? Is it smart? Do you really care if everybody "gets it." Does it matter....Well, if you invest a ton of money, you better hope most people "get it." I've heard a saying, " Hollywood is just high school with a shit load of money."
__________________
www.davidopreska.com
 
Old 11 November 2005   #6
Originally Posted by Shaderhacker: It seems that everyone waits for Pixar to come out with a good story-driven CG feature. Why? Is it the technology? The animation? The presentation? No. It's probably because more than a few people (perhaps even children) influences the decisions of those in charge..
I think you are right, but not everyone can afford to be Pixar. They were pioneers and that goes a long way to writing your own ticket and not letting things suck because of politics or some other bs in the process.

However, there have only been around 20 cg features and 14 have all made over $100 million domestic.

Cg feature is a huge endeavor, even for the modest films, so picking the right "one" to do is no easy task. I'm sure at Pixar they toil over it for eons. Take a look at the top 15 and ask yourself which ones did you truly not enjoy. And if so, was it a financial dud, or did it make a lot of money?

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/genres...eranimation.htm

As for who decides what gets made. I don't know, I have my opinions about suits who sit in offices and watch artists work towards their success, bringing a project in early or under budget, or whatever. But there are nice people too, so in the end who frickin' knows? You have the money and the power or position, then you call the shots, that's just the way it goes. I understand your frustration however.

2006 will defintely be an interesting year for cg features though. Could be more bombs then blockbusters, and maybe a surprise or two?
__________________
.brett
 
Old 11 November 2005   #7
Originally Posted by Shaderhacker: Hmm.. that may be true, but it still is weak. Just think of even more money they'd make if they put out some good content!!


You might be giving too much credit to the average taste of the mainstream population. Remember, studios aim for the lowest common denominator most of the time, because that what's proven to sell. Go look at the DVD or CD or book collection of the average person (IF they even have a collection at all)--I'm not talking about people who are artists or film buffs or hardcore gamers--I'm talking about the average Joe or Jane you'd bump into on the street--They don't exactly have very good taste. Chances are, your top 10 favorite films are movies they've never even heard of, and their top 10 favorite movies will make you want to gag. Why do you think shallow pop sensatiions sell millions while the truly talented and creative visionaries can barely sell a small handful of CD's online from their own websites? It's not always the studio's fault--the sad truth is, the average human being is quite an unremarkable creature--with very bland taste in everything--they are the ones the studios are targeting--not you, not me, not our colleagues. In fact, if you look through some of the threads right here at cgtalk, you'll notice that even some of us have pretty horrible taste.

Last edited by Lunatique : 11 November 2005 at 06:31 AM.
 
Old 11 November 2005   #8
Originally Posted by Shaderhacker: If a lot of these larger studios would allow some democracy in deciding what concepts get greenlit and which ones sit on the shelf, perhaps there would be better story-driven CG features coming out.


I think there needs to be less democracy for lack of a better word. What I see are movies being built by focus groups and committees. Good ideas turn to bland, try to please everyone and offend noone mush. I often wonder what the point is in hiring writers and directors if there are a room full of MBAs rewriting parts of the script, and major decisions about direction and story are being determined by the response some 8 year old kid wrote on a questionaire in a test screening. What needs to happen in many cases is the producers and money men need to just step back and say "I hired these writers and directors because I trusted their vision" and just let the creative people they hired execute. They need to stop second and triple guessing every little tiny creative decision that is made. The producer should be relegated to the role of making certain deadlines are met, bills are paid, and schedules are adhered to. The creative decisions should be left to creative people. The producers should offer their insight about he creative process, but handing down these creative mandates based on this herd mentality is what is destroying many of these movies. They also need to hammer the script out completely before production starts. There should be no question what exactly th movie is about once production has started.

I think that's really all there is to it.
 
Old 11 November 2005   #9
Look at the number of studios wanting to make animated features: Blur, The Orphanage, Sony, and a half dozen other small studios scrambling to make a feature so they can get in on the "market." I bet a lot of major studios (or guys with a lot of money) are looking for a studio with an idea, any idea, just so they can get in on it. After several years of bad animated movies, the smaller ones will go belly up and the ones that are left standing will be the ones with a good story idea.

Just my 2 cents.
__________________
www.misfitanimator.com
"Klaatu barada nikto"
Adventures of John and Kitty
 
Old 11 November 2005   #10
Originally Posted by MCronin: What needs to happen in many cases is the producers and money men need to just step back and say "I hired these writers and directors because I trusted their vision" and just let the creative people they hired execute. They need to stop second and triple guessing every little tiny creative decision that is made.


Abso****inglutely. Couldn't agree more.

Most of the best films ever made were directly because of the unique creative vision of the writer and director--not because of boardroom meetings and screen test polls. You don't see novelists or composers or painters or photographers..etc having to put up with the same crap (but then again, not nearly as much money is at stake, and they usually do have to answer to an editor or director or agent--but at least that's one person, not a roomful).

I wonder if there are any hard evidences of boardroom meetings and screening polls that had changed a film significantly, and as the result turned out a masterpiece and a boxoffice smash.
 
Old 11 November 2005   #11
Originally Posted by Lunatique: I wonder if there are any hard evidences of boardroom meetings and screening polls that had changed a film significantly, and as the result turned out a masterpiece and a boxoffice smash.


Well I can't offer any hard evidence, but I think everyone who has worked on film or game projects for a bit of time has seen what was a good idea or shaping up to be a good idea destroyed by an overbearing group of producers or input from focus groups that was taken as gospel. You have these moments where you see decisions being made that are completely out of your control and are obviously destructive and you think "Who the **** is running this monkey farm?" I personally think focus groups and wishy-washy producers with creative aspirations almost destroyed Midway's legacy as a game developer. It's good to see they seem to be on the rebound.
 
Old 11 November 2005   #12
Reminds me of how Mel Gibson went about making "The Passion". He wanted to tell a well-known story the way he wanted so he put his money where his mouth was, produced it, directed it. Not even the Pope could dissuade him from the brutality depicted nor from an envisioned backlash from Jewish community (which never actually materialized).

I think the film was successful because it didn't pull any punches in depicting the raw violence that was prevalent during that time nor the palpable suffering Mary underwent as she watched her son die a slow and painful death.
__________________
"He swung the bat. . . ."
<Cmdr. Amarao, FLCL>

Last edited by AmbiDextrose : 11 November 2005 at 07:09 AM.
 
Old 11 November 2005   #13
there is a famous script writting book that explains this ( i am not at my bookshelf so i cant tell you the name) but it states that is you plan on being artistic or creative the hollywood is not the place to sell you script...all editors look for something that they know will sell. sequals, remakes , tv shows into movies ect.... something that has a guaranteed audience like a book or a true story. to think that you are inovative and original will never get you a job in hollywood...... unless you can convince someone with clout to be in or back your movie such as a bruce willis ect....
 
Old 11 November 2005   #14
Lunatique,
I couldn't agree more. I just got back from a SEMA (car equipment makers) party that easily cost 3 mil. That was entertained by free alcohol, music, and motorcross. With easily millions being spent on the event.

We all choose our enviorments, ours promotes the recognition of such things as logical story structure and appreciation of a good well devised plot. If you're coming though from a world of just "How big is that Amp?" or for that matter any other world, you just won't be able to distinguish between the two.

I think it ultimatly comes down to acceptence or rejection of our chosen role as commercial artists.

Leigh makes a valid point of if it gets butt in the seat then great!. Personally I lean towards the other side of the argument, that we as artists are responsible for not only reflecting our culture but shaping it.

The end reality of that though is that I won't get to work on the next Sin City film. I'm stuck in vegas trying to hold down a day job while I pursue my own dreams.
 
Old 11 November 2005   #15
Originally Posted by kraal: there is a famous script writting book that explains this ( i am not at my bookshelf so i cant tell you the name) but it states that is you plan on being artistic or creative the hollywood is not the place to sell you script


There's also a quote (through i can't, for the life of me, remember who said it) that said: "If you want to sell great stories, write a book."

I couldn't agree more- except for a few exceptions, in the last five years, I've probably been more entertained by a good book (e.g. "Guns, Germs and Steel") or graphic novel than anything on the T.V. or in theaters.
__________________
"He swung the bat. . . ."
<Cmdr. Amarao, FLCL>
 
Thread Closed share thread



Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
CGSociety
Society of Digital Artists
www.cgsociety.org

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright 2000 - 2006,
Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Minimize Ads
Forum Jump
Miscellaneous

All times are GMT. The time now is 03:12 PM.


Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.