Nobody likes a boring anything. No matter what art form, no matter what aspect of said art. Nobody enjoys sitting through a video which seems like the artist is just on cruise control, going through a checklist of must haves. Nobody enjoys watching a video that seems just like every other video ever made. Logical enough, right? And yet think about all the commercials you see. In fact, go watch television right now. Sit through and pay attention to a full segment of commercials. How many are interesting? How many will you remember? And how many are dull and forgettable? I’m willing to bet the vast majority will have been forgotten by the next commercial break.
So why do people stick to the same tired formulas? Let me clarify first and foremost that there is value to formula. There’s comfort in following well-worn formulas and the viewers will take pleasure in this. The difficulty comes when one relies totally on the formula to carry the film instead of adding interesting unique characters and honest stories on top of the base formula.
The basic reason people fall back on the formulas is creative laziness. Let’s use a college advertisement as an example. Instead of coming up with a new idea, so many schools will advertise the statistics intercut with a montage of smiling students and random shots of the campus. That’s it. Congratulations, you’ve made an advertisement for a college. But not your college. To overcome the pratfalls of dullness and formula, one has to think what sets your college apart from others. This applies to businesses and narrative films as well. What sets yours apart from others? What sets your voice apart from others? When you dig into the specifics of yourself and the subject, your product will inevitably become more creatively daring and memorable. When you focus on what sets you apart from others, the viewer will set you apart from others as well.
And when that happens, your video will truly be worthwhile.
-- by Curt Ege