Why do some creators win and others don’t?

As the credits for Avatar part two rolled, I could read James Cameron holding various titles; the director, the writer, the editor, the screenplay, the producer, and so on.

If you try to read between the lines, he is a person who dreams, invests in his dream, plans, and executes his dream. This man is in complete control of what he really wants to accomplish. He doesn’t really need to hard sell his idea to the investors and doesn’t really need to convince someone of his grand vision. Doesn’t need to hire a director to execute his plan. He is the master of his own game.

James Cameron is not alone. Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Anurag Kashyap, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali are some of the movie makers who follow the same approach.

It is efficient to have just one orchestrator with enough skin in the game to manifest grand dreams. All they seek is excellence. Money follows.

The flip side of this is one may find it difficult to scale this. We must patiently wait for many years before these maestros bless us with their productions.

Marvel studios defy this logic and solve for scale. They deploy an assembled army to make the magic happen on a scale. The good part is that it works. But do you happen to remember who wrote Avengers End Game?

Marvel creates spectacular imagery using the assembled army of writers, directors, producers, etc. But Marvel and Disney are exceptions.

The assembled army approach fails 90% of the time when it comes to creative pursuits.

You need not look far, see Bollywood (applies to major movies in Hollywood as well). Some obscure writer wants to make sure that his script sees the light of day. Some producers want to try their hands at movie making (read money laundering). Some actor wants a comeback and needs to fit into the script. Then the script is tweaked to give him more exposure. A typical side cast is assembled, because somehow the audience is used to seeing them in all the previous movies.

There is only one dream, to make mint money on public holidays and long weekends. Nine out of Ten times this fails. But who cares? As long as there is a new motley group that is willing to test their luck.

Absolutely nothing wrong with this approach. But then you also don’t get to ask questions like, where is the door to the Oscars?

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