Do People Still Value Creativity?

This is just going to be a straight-out rant. No images, no examples: Just me ranting.

Do people still value creativity? The more I look at our culture and society, the less I think they do.

Its a paradox, really. In this modern age, we’re able to connect with anyone and everyone in a blink of an eye, seeing ideas and concepts we may have never imagined or thought of. There are countless blogs and websites dedicated to inspiring people to new levels and concepts, and each and every day, someone somewhere is seeing the world in a way you and I have never thought of, exposing their viewpoint, and making us question what we know.

In the end, we actually suffer from it at the same time. To me, crying “Information overload” or “we’ve bombarded with too much information all the time!” are foolish, short-sighted, and, frankly, 100% BULLSHIT arguments. we can very easily choose to not be overloaded with information. If you want to look at a baseball game on TV, you don’t need to sit at a computer typing, listening to music, and using a web search engine all at the same time, but you choose to. Same with everything. We live in an age where you can pick what you want to take in, be it as little or as much as you choose.

No, even though we are given the chance to learn multiple things, we live in an age of both instant gratification and one where we are allowed to learn as much about something as we want. When you combine the two… it gets messy.

I’ll give you an idea: In 1995, if you said you wanted to be a comic book artist, it meant going to the library, a book store, etc, and getting any information you could on the topic. How to Draw books, contact sheets, etc,… It may have only taken a day to get the info if you were diligent enough. Getting better at your craft was something else, and you knew it would take time.

Today, if you want to learn how to be a comic book artist, all you have to do is type in the question and you’re sure to get an answer in the first 10 search results.

The problem? Because you can find out so fast, some of the information you would have gained is now gone, stuff you only get by doing this physically.

One prime example is time. It may have taken you a day, a week… maybe even a month to find the information before, but in the process you were given a chance to fully digest what you wanted to do and if you even wanted to go down that path. Another is personal interaction with people. You would have to talk to or ask someone for the information. Again, this may seem minor, but chances are actually decent that you would have met someone who was more than happy to talk more about comics, someone who may have been down your road… countless things.

Can you get that online, on message boards and such? Yes. But we have such a need now to get to our goal as soon as possible that we seem to just ignore the time aspect and actually learning from these people. Honestly, didn’t you just SKIM this entire thing until you saw me write “skim” in big letters? Do you see my point?

So lets go back a bit and apply this to other things.

Anyone can get a camera, make a video, and post it online. In 1995, anyone with a camcorder and some dedication could make a video and share it with people. By 2000, you may have even been able to put it on a CD-ROM and sell it. The thing, again, was that it took time and effort to do it. It still does, and I would be nuts to say it doesn’t! You and your friends can go out after reading this, make a video for fun, and post it online.

The problem? Everyone is doing it, and no one is really rising to the top.

There are comedic troops out there making high-budget skits and quality videos, but if the content isn’t great, does it matter? And without great press or buzz, does it even matter? If a guy makes a joke in a bomb shelter and no one’s around, was it even funny?

Again, this is a problem with Instant-Gratification. We don’t want to put a lot of time and effort into things, not because we’re lazy or have short attention span, but the idea of the personal gain, of immediate fame and success has become so damn central to our world!

Instant-Gratification and the End of Thought?

I woke up this morning to watch Saturday Morning cartoons, and I got my now-weekly reminder that the networks don’t care about making cartoons anymore, or anything, for that matter. What do I mean? There are exactly 4 new shows on this year. I repeat, out of 4 networks that show dedicated children cartoons, only 4 new shows are up. Why is this?

Well, there are a lot of reasons which I wrote about on my other blog, but it basically comes down to a few things: Less Money and Low Ratings. The US Government passed a law in 1996 that cut back on advertising during kids shows, mandated 4 hours a week for children broadcasting, and stated that there had to be 2 hours of educational programming. At the same time, more and more cartoons were shown on cable. Within 10 years, after a massive animation boom, there was a massive animation bust where less and less cartoons were being made, and the few that were were being moved more and more to Canada and done in Adobe Flash.

Instant-Gratification helped to kill animation and some very creative people.

There are many creative people out there who would love to be animators or work in animation but don’t. This is due to countless factors, but we can safely say its due to both lack of money and lack of patience. Studios are cutting back animation departments, so people who would have either been future animators or storyboard artists or other things, are forced to look for other avenues to be creative. This may mean going into advertising or a corporate world where they can’t be as creative, or maybe give it up altogether. For some people, learning to animate becomes frustrating and tiring and hard, so they find Adobe Flash and learn that with even poor skills they can make a cartoon.

Does poor animation does a bad cartoon make? HELL NO! Some of my favorite cartoons are poorly animated, and they can be havens for creativity! But with limited tools, resources, and skill… well, you get Adobe Flash to animate with. Before, someone may have gotten a stop-motion camera and tried to do something with crayons, glue, and dolls. Now? They make some shapes, animate them, and call it a day. This is partly because now they can create something and be happy with it after a day of work.