What Innovators Can Learn From Hollywood

11 04 2008

Scott KirsnerBoston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner (who also writes the always informative CinemaTech blog) gave a talk in March at the NERCOMP Annual Meeting entitled “What Innovators Can Learn From Hollywood.” It’s all about how anybody in the film industry who has tried to push something new through the pipe has usually found large resistance.

This talk, which takes you from George Eastman and Thomas Edison, through the introduction of sound and color, through today’s film NLE creators, and including Walter Murch and Pixar founder Ed Catmull in starring roles (and which is available at Educause) is really about how to create change in a culture which tends to want to stay the same. And, that’s most cultures.

Though Scott’s talk is mostly about corporate change, the same thing applies to individual films. How many times have you found yourself not trying a different edit because you’ve really grown to like the way you’ve already done it. I’ve heard directors complain about editors who won’t try out things, and I’ve found the same thing both with directors and with myself.

It’s important for all of us to find a way to be innovators, even in very small ways. I don’t believe in changing things just to change things (without having a plan for that change). However, if you’ve got that plan, then sometimes it’s better to change things up, just because you haven’t done it in a while. You can always put it back in the “old way,” but you’ll often find out something that you hadn’t realized the footage can do.

We are all stodgy people and innovators at the same time — we just have to push both sides of ourselves.

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One response

27 06 2008
Scott Kirsner

Hi Norman-

Thanks for posting about this talk.

Scott

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