Updated: Jan 1, 2022
Right up there with perfectionism and a problematic ego, lies jealousy. We are inspired to create and innovate by those we love, and we're so in awe of the amazing things these people make that we can sometimes be knocked down internally by their greatness. We are jealous of them, because they are doing the great things that we want to do...
...And so are the ones who we think are shit.
The Uwe Bolls, the EL James', the Beibers, and even our friend who's made an indie film he thought was so amazing, but actually had a piss poor narrative that didn't make sense. If anything, the bad ones give you a worse, angry, jealousy. Quality is irrelevant. They're doing it, and you're not, and it's just another barrier to fight through on your struggle to be creative.
My girlfriend has started listening to Lady Gaga's new album, I don't like her music, and I never have aside from some of that which was created for the film 'A Star is Born', but I have often been in awe of her ability to seemingly completely reinvent herself both musically and obviously with her glam appearances. As much as I don't enjoy listening to her music, I can't deny that she's good at what she does, and knows what she's doing.
I'm jealous of her. Of her seemingly easy way of making hit songs that people lap up like candy. Is she making music she loves, or is she so knowledgeable of music theory that she knows how to pander to her audience...Maybe it's both, who knows?
Meanwhile, I sit in front of my computer or with an instrument, for hours, unable to hit a melody, riff or series of chords I think has potential.
Ok, let's be realistic here, I'm not classically trained in music, so there's a good chance that my lack of academia around music has a part to play in all this, and definitely plays into my insecurities around creation, but the feelings exist all the same, when the desire to create is there.
There's a bigger problem with those who are considered more objectively bad. Like Director Uwe Boll, colloquially coined the "World's Worst Director", who potentially single handedly proves why films shouldn't be made of video games. Oftentimes gets some popular actors for the time period his films were made, yet somehow manages to deliver something worse in execution than the majority of the comedically hideously-timed TikTok users.
Then naturally there's a whole heap of people whose content we just don't like for our opinions. I love Christopher Nolan's films, and I really appreciate his traditional approach with regards to admiration of cinema. For not doing 3D when it was asked of him, and for not releasing 'Tenet' on any other platform prior to cinemas opening post-covid19. I like the intricate plot details, the narratives and the cinematography. But for some people, this is just all too much, and for many others, doesn't fit into their box of 'accessible' entertainment, in that some stories may not be as easy to follow as others, or perhaps too obvious.
I'm jealous of Nolan, because I see him as an incredible visionary of a filmmaker, not to mention the writing talents of his brother. I like the idea of making a film in my head, but have no idea where to begin. My creative struggles lie within music, but the sentiment is the same. With inspiration comes a desire to somehow want to match their calibre, despite lacking the years of practical experience and knowledge. It becomes easy to forget your current footing and need to produce more content before you could contemplate coming close, and realistically, in a creative field, you shouldn't be trying to aspire to be like your influences anyway.
People like Uwe Boll, create the more angry sense of jealousy. We can see that they make bad things, and we feel that we could quite easily do better if given the same opportunities, and as such, wonder how we haven't if likely following perceptively similar paths to get there. Who and how decided their money was worth investing...Maybe he's a great business man who can sell a story in a pitch, and just not on screen.
The truth is, they're there, and I'm not. That's just a fact. How they got there, and why, is all irrelevant. They've achieved the success irregardless of quality.
So instead of being angry about these things...Then perhaps we should accept the jealousy of those we admire, and we can seek to convert the aggression from those we despise.
So why not create...Does it matter if you're bad? I'm sure people like Uwe Boll quite fondly watch their creations and adore them, and even if they were financial failures for the investors, he still got paid. Remember when IMDB had forums? I spent a lot of time on those when I was in my late teens, spreading my opinions around like toxic filth, and being just as vehemently obnoxious as what has become of the majority of overly adamant social media blabbermouths. I instigated arguments, I encouraged them, and I slammed the opinions of others because I was immature, and the anonymous nature of such things gave me power beyond my dreams, that I naturally abused. So I visited David Hayter's forum page...Someone who I have admired for many years as the voice of Solid Snake from one of my all time favourite video game series, and what did I do? Slammed him for lazy screenplay writing of the 'Watchmen' movie, because I felt that it took the graphic novel and adapted it beat for beat (Aside from making Ozymandias far too obvious a villain). I wrote this at a time when I was following a lot of video game movies that were in the pipeline, and spent much of my time arguing the point that videogames were becoming too cinematic in themselves, that an adaption should take the core idea and actually 'adapt' it, rather than shove in as many likenesses to the video game as possible. So I felt the same about adapting a Graphic Novel. Using it's visual nature as a storyboard to me, at the time, felt like a lazy cash grab, rather than an endeavour to make art. A very obnoxious viewpoint for something that was made essentially for fan service anyway. But guess what, David Hayter himself replied to my scathing comments, and since the forums are now disbanded and this would have been circa 2010, I can't remember the exact words, but I believe it to be something along the lines of 'I'm sorry you feel that way, but I made $$$$$$ and you didn't'. It's true. I'm not in his position, and he's not where he is for being bad at what he does, he's good, and capable of writing hollywood fodder films that make money. How can you not be jealous of that? Jealousy doesn't solve anything here however, if anything, holding onto the jealousy of those both good and bad provides nothing but a barrier, and the jealousy of those you feel worse than you is the worst, because what if you believe in your content, and input so much passion for it to transpire that ultimately, you still can't even hit that benchmark of those you think are bad? Well, we need the bad ones, and we can use that jealousy. Instead of worrying that you'll be as bad as the bad ones, instead recognise that by being aware of that, you've taken on board the things you think are wrong, and will therefore avoid doing them. Rather, if you don't know specifically what you don't like, dissect it, tear it apart in your head or on paper, and create yourself some 'Do Nots', and then how could you possibly be as bad as those people? Maybe they're where they are, because someone decided the world needed to see what a published mistake looks like, so that future artists can prevent themselves from doing as such. If being bad can make you money, then does it really matter if what you're making is considered globally good or not? Make your shit, and get it out there, and if it's not bad enough, or good enough, to make you money...At least you did it, and poured your passion into it. For yourself.