Suicide of the crowd pleaser

So, the other day i decided to watch The Untouchables, the 1987 Brian DaPalma classic .  It was as good as i remembered, and Billy Drago as creepy as ever. After watching it , i went to imdb to check out some reviews . What i saw there shocked me,  there were numerous people that hated it and further went on to break down everything they thought was wrong with it. I was thinking, “come on people!!!!, this is a classic”. But as i read on, they weren’t just rants, they had THEIR valid reasons. 

At another time, i looked up Burn After Reading by The Coen Brothers, same thing. A large portion of the reviews stated their dislike for it, and many were from those that said they were Coen brothers fans, others just didnt think the film was any good. These are the same team that made; No Country for old Men,Fargo and The Big Lebowski, all cult favorites and critcally acclaimed.

Days later, i was watching one of my favorite TV shows NCIS. Having read great reviews years back, that loved the show as much as i did, i wanted to see new reviews since the show had passed it’s 10th season. The great reviews remained, but i came across several scathing ones, bashing the show for many of the same reasons that many of us love the show. I was like WOW, is it that you don’t get it, didnt give it a chance.How can you hate it for the very same reasons that it’s unique. This lead to a Eureka moment. When it comes to film making, YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE.

Trying to appeal to everyone is almost a sure way to fail,for the simple reason that everyone wants something different – Seth Godin

No matter how excellent the story,directing , cinematography and performances, there are people that either aren’t impressed or will find something to complain about, an equal amount will declare it’s the greatest thing they’ve ever seen.

Whether it be CocaCola or Apple , two of the biggest brands in the world, no brand, no product,no item has ever won everybody over. Look at something like PEACE, a world with no wars or fighting, and everyone holds hands in a big circle, with flowers around our necks as we sing, ‘Kumbaya’. Universally desired, right!! WRONG, How do you think arms dealers, gun manufacturers would take that when no one is buying their products, and they have to exchange their Buggati for a Fiat Punto? Similarly, no film or filmmaker can please everyone(as much as the studios would love that). Transformers made loads of money right? But there are people you cant pay to watch it or any other Michael Bay movie. Avatar broke box office records right? It was also one of the most ridiculed films of that year. The Godfather is one of the greatest films of all time , right, i bet you there are some people that would fall asleep in the first 15 minutes or start playing with their phone.

No matter how great a film is, there are some that cant be bothered with it, and even some films considered bad, have those that will  loyally defend it. A film-Maker that wants to please EVERYONE is going to compromise so much that it just becomes another commitee made film, and he looses a lot of the people that could have supported it.

Now, there are those with unique voices that dont even try to please everyone, and those that do love them, adore them for that, and are very loyal. People like Wes Anderson,David Lynch,Woody Allen, The Coen Brothers, Spike Lee, Darren Aronvsky dont make films that appeal to manstream crowds. Their films are true films of auteurs , which dont have the same appeal as popcorn movies would.

Nollywood has proven,  that no matter how many critics , doubters,naysayers it has , there is a VERY strong core audience that LOVE it and help to keep buidling it’s brand and even as it has begun to diversify a little, converting some naysayers into keenly interested viewers,it NEVER forgets it’s CORE AUDIENCE, the fans that made it what it is today, and that is why it will continue to stay a beloved brand.

As a creative person(writer,singer,artist,film-maker) not everyone will love your work, no matter how great it actually is, 100% acceptance should not be the aim because doing that will water down whatever uniqueness your work may have. Find your core audience(like Tyler Perry has) Aim for those that will line up around the block in the rain to watch your movie, buy your book, album, tickets to your show, and be happy and excited when they get it, even if that might just be 35%.

PS- Would like to know your views on this, please leave a comment and feel free to share . Thanks

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4 comments on “Suicide of the crowd pleaser

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