Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Artist’s Vision Vs. Corporate and Audience Expectations

A space soldier in high tech armor and holding a blaster looks across a futuristic city.
Photo Credit:

I'm so behind on my upcoming short fiction collection, The Hidden. I still have several stories to revise for it, and then the cover illustration to make in which I'm planning on coming out with two versions of: a pre-release version that will be hand-made, and when I say “hand-made” I mean drawn and painted by yours truly with “old school” tools such as a pencil and coloured pencils; and the final release version which I will digitally produce. Why two versions? Personally, because I believe that digitally produced art cannot replace the natural energy and human spirit that goes into freehand art. And so I still respect and empathize with that small niche audience out there who prefer freehand art. But I don't discriminate against the majority either. If they’re willing to pay for digital, photorealistic art on book covers then I'll provide them that option, even though it’s not my thing. This reminds me of George Lucas’s issue with the Disney Company over the upcoming Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, which is less than a month away.

Lucas gave his specific reason to CBS This Morning the other day for no longer par-taking in the production of the Star Wars films. It was because Disney, who now owns the Star Wars franchise--which I think was a big mistake on Lucas's part to sell to them--wants to make the movies the “fans’” way. I really think that's, at least in part, bull shit because Disney is no longer there to satisfy anyone, including Star Wars fans; they're there to satisfy themselves with their own profits. I talked about this in one of my articles at a while back. You may want to take a look at it if you haven’t already done so.  Lucas's issue with the upcoming Star Wars film is a big example of how Hollywood is buying off of the fans' desires and ignoring the creator's vision.

Lucas told CBS This Morning that Star Wars is a “soap opera” rather than a space opera. He told them that “it’s not about the spaceships.” And maybe it’s not. He wants to show the development of the characters but Disney is implying fans don't want to see that. Why can't there be both “spaceships” and character and dramatic development? That's the way it happened in the prequels and that's the way it happened, even if on a more superficial level, in the original trilogy. And, needless to say, it kept drawing crowds.

Maybe Disney thought Lucas would go too far with the “soap opera” side of the movie, but so what? He may no longer own the franchise but, being the original creator, wouldn't he have a right to see some of his ideas put into the film? Disney had agreed to allow Lucas to act as consultant to the films, but if they threw out all his ideas for the 7th film then they weren’t really allowing him to carry out that role. But there you go: that’s what happens when a movie creator sells his (or her) work to a mega corporation like Disney. The corporation that purchase’s it has the legal right to do what it wants with it and, more often than not, it will.

That’s why I go the self-publishing route and not the traditional one of the big publishing houses. Too many big publishers want to basically buy writers’ stories so they can do what they want with them to make a profit for themselves. To do this often means the publishers giving readers what they want by demanding the author to make changes in the story even to the point of the author sacrificing his/her original vision. On the level of film-making, that was the problem Lucas--who did have his own vision for Star Wars--had with Disney. I would not want an editor from a big publishing house telling me to rewrite my story where it annihilates my original vision and intentions for it just because they want to buy off of readers’ desires for the sake of making profit.

Would you be willing to write your stories according to an editor’s or your fans' expectations even if it meant sacrificing your original vision that you want the story to convey? Please feel free to leave your answers in the box below.


  1. Fortunately I've not had to. None of the edits suggested by my publisher have changed anything on that level.
    What I want is decent dialogue in my Star Wars films. I think I'm finally going to get that next month.

    1. They sound like a good publisher.

      Yeah, the Star Wars films can use better dialogue. I've heard some really poor dialogue in some of the past ones. Hopefully, if nothing else, this next movie can do better (with dialogue).