JJ Abrams’ Lost Thoughts on Creativity

JJ Abrams’ Lost Thoughts, get it? Ha ha… sorry. Anyhow, a friend recently turned me on to TED.com, a site where you can view talks from the cognoscenti from all sorts of incredible fields and backgrounds.

On TED, I recently found this entertaining and thoughtful lecture by JJ Abrams, the creative guy behind Lost, Cloverfield, Alias, and more.

Game designers should take note of his praise of the democratization of creativity. JJ Abrams works in an industry where a couple of dudes with standard desktop PCs can build all the effects necessary to make Lost or any other JJ Abrams production.

Someday, perhaps ordinary gamers will be able to do the same with a few game consoles. Now that would be a game design revolution, and it’s one that we’re already seeing hints of with some of the downloadable content for the 360 and PS3. It’s certainly in the best interests of console manufacturers, who would be happy to see game designers kicked to the curb in favor of a “reality TV” kind of vox populi revolution in game content.


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  1. I’ve been hearing this refrain for 15 years. As soon as it became possible to create films with digital cameras, everyone in the industry was saying how it would democratize creativity, and that people could make films in their backyard.

    But those films stay in the backyard.

    It’s ironic to me that JJ Abrams talks about the democratization of creativity, when he is currently TV royalty, being able to make films and television that costs millions of dollars. Ultimately, you can create whatever you want, but if you want high quality product that will be seen by a lot of people, well, then you can’t do it alone.

  2. Very true… there are some really mind-blowing works that never reach the channels of distribution. And now that the media moguls are, intentionally or unintentionally, getting farther from the business of making content (esp in the record industry), they add less and less to the value of the product. C.f., Radiohead’s last album.

    I’m certainly cynical about the prospects of any one homebrew game or movie ever tallying at the box office/register. Still, it’s an improvement over the days when you needed a building full of specialized equipment to make a game or movie.

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