Get A Second Opinion

So you’ve got what you believe is a genius idea that you think has serious potential to make you a lot of money. Heck, you might think this is such a good idea, it has the potential to change the world. That’s fantastic news! Good for you! Kudos to you on your creativity.

But hold on a second there, tiger. Before you go any further, I want you to consider something.

Let’s take a look at something I’ve referenced on this blog before, the Star Wars films.

The original versions of the original trilogy, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, are considered masterpieces of film. They are widely considered some of the greatest pieces of film making not only in the science fiction genre, but in any genre of all time. That’s quite the accomplishment. But they almost didn’t turn out that way.

There have been many documentaries made on the original Star Wars films. Far more than I could ever hope to list here, so if you’re interested, go do a quick Google search. While some paint the creation of the original films in a positive light, others reveal a number of things the average film fan doesn’t know. See, the Star Wars movies that ended up coming out are actually very different from what George Lucas originally intended. At the time, he was a much younger filmmaker with much less creative control than he would have liked. There were also budgetary concerns to take into account. The end result is that some of Lucas’ loftier (and, let’s be honest here, dumber) ideas were either impossible to do, or vetoed by the studio or other crew members.

The result was three of the greatest movies of all time.

Now fast forward to now. George Lucas is immensely rich, and has full creative control over his work. He has since released three more Star Wars films. Not only did they not come close to duplicating the critical (or commercial, though they don’t have twenty years of merchandising behind them) success behind them, but they’re…well….let’s be honest here, not very good. Why? Well there are a number of reasons, but what it all boils down to, is somebody gave Lucas the keys to the kingdom and told him to go nuts. And he did. With no studio oversight and no one daring to keep “The Great George Lucas” in check, the prequel trilogy is a shadow of the original films.

Not only that, but with every subsequent re-release of the original films, Lucas has gone back and changed things. Recut scenes, added or removed dialogue, replaced perfectly good practical effects with CGI, even completely replaced an actor in the final scene of the final film. One of the most iconic moments in Return of The Jedi had additional dialogue edited in that completely removes the power of the scene.  All of these things were done to, in Lucas’ own words, “Bring them more in line with the original vision for the films.” I’m not going to mince words here. Every re-released version of the original Star Wars films has been worse than the last. They may be prettier, they may sound better, but the closer they get to Lucas’ original vision, the worse the films become.

I’m just going to come out and say it. George Lucas’ “original vision” sucks and he shouldn’t be allowed to touch Star Wars ever again. Fortunately with the recent sale of Lucasfilm to Disney for an astounding 4 billion (with a B) dollars, he’s passing on the franchise to other people, and Star Wars fans everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Now the last time I checked this was a blog to give self employed people such as yourselves advice as you walk the path to PIE. Not a film blog for me to lament George Lucas’ supreme mishandling of one of the most beloved franchises in human history. So there is, of course, a point here, and a business related lesson to teach you.

Let’s look at two key points here.

The original trilogy, in their original forms: Critical and commercial successes spawning one of the most well known franchises in human history. Immensely profitable. The end result of George Lucas’ original vision, but tempered with studio oversight and thoughts and ideas from other crew members who were willing to stand up and say “I have a bad feeling about this.”

The prequel trilogy: While commercially successful, reviews were mixed. Fans (clients, if you will) were split. Lots of bad ideas, plot holes, bad writing, I could go on and on. The end result of George Lucas becoming the end-all be-all of what went on with the films, with no one willing to tell him “I don’t think you should do that, George.”

The original vision was definitely by George Lucas.  But the opinions of others are what made them truly great. This applies to your business as well.

So while you may have absolutely fantastic ideas,  don’t just pull the trigger on them right away. Consult your team. Consult some friends. Get the opinions of other people. It may turn out that your idea maybe wasn’t that great to begin with, or in a far better scenario, they may have some ideas that will make your good idea even better.

Remember, while yes, you are self-employed, you don’t walk the path to PIE alone. Get the opinions of the people around you, and you may just find your slice of PIE ends up even bigger as a result. And you may just avoid the kind of backlash George Lucas experienced with the more recent Star Wars films, and nobody wants that.

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