Don’t perfume the roses

We are currently working on a production in a new medium. It’s not exactly cinema, nor theater, nor virtual reality. It’s some kind of other medium that nobody has ever tried before, related to all of those other media, yet different.

As we reach out to our creative community for thoughts and advice, I am noticing a pattern. The computer scientists look at this as a kind of experimental laboratory for what is possible. They want us to push it to be bigger and more spectacular, more novel and nonlinear, more different from anything that has come before.

In contrast, the writers and storytellers are pushing us to simplify, scale down, find the essential core of character arcs and relationships. They are advising us that less is more, particularly when dealing with a new storytelling medium.

As much as I like computer graphics and animation, cutting edge special effects, and all of the whiz bang possibilities of new media, I am siding with the writers on this one. We need to let the medium unfold in its own way, so it can reveal to us its true magic.

I am reminded of something Jean Cocteau once said: A poet who tries to write poetically is like a gardener who puts perfume on his roses.

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