When Studios Take Control: Creativity Vs. Money

When Studios Take Control: Creativity Vs. Money

Oftentimes we hear about a producer or studio executives changing a product to fit their view - is that always a bad thing?

Sometimes we go and see a movie, watch a TV show, or read a book and think “so where did that come from?” Like some plot point from out of nowhere, or a character all of a sudden changes without any real buildup. This happens because of either lazy writing or mandates by the people behind the scenes, and it affects most media we consume. From the record label asking for more breakup songs on the next album to studios recutting movies without working with directors, the people with the money really like to get involved and control the production, often leading to a bad product in the end.

Music wise, we often see the same song several times a year. In 1965, every record label was looking for their own Beatles, hoping the happy love songs would outsell the competition, and in 2015, it was all about trying to capture the same success people like Taylor Swift were having in the pop genre. Even the Beatles themselves had issues with this, where oftentimes a certain song would be a hit, so they were requested to write a few more like it – until of course they formed Apple Records in 1967, and produced their own music how they wanted it, considering they were running the show. More an issue with boy bands and pop stars, the label makes the decisions about albums and songs, oftentimes causing the actual artist to be near barred from working on their own music. If a sound works, they'll want that sound across all their musicians – whether it's a specific style or even more cute love songs. Or the label will partner with a movie studio and basically tell an artist to do a song for the movie, and make it catchy – regardless of whether or not they want to do the song for Fifty Shades Freed or not.

Studio meddling also comes into play with the film industry, though sometimes it works out in everybody's favor. For example, the writers behind Rogue One wrote a script in which the lead heroes survived because they felt Disney would not approve of killing off every new character. Rather, they loved that idea, and even called in for reshoots to change the ending to be darker. Meanwhile, we have the DCEU, which three of the five movies were mandated by Warner Bros. - Batman v Superman had to be under two and half hours and set up a Justice League movie, Suicide Squad had to be toned down and the Joker/Harley Quinn scenes cut so that they could sell an abusive relationship to teenagers, and Justice League had to be under two hours and be a lighter tone to compete with Avengers. This negatively effects each film, to a point where a director's cut is needed to actually see where the story was supposed to be. Avengers: Age of Ultron was recut and reshot to tie more into the overall arc of the MCU than be a sequel to the first film, which actually caused Joss Whedon to leave Marvel Studios altogether. Universal became very involved in the production of The Mummy, leading to a forced cinematic universe and now, it seems that project will be abandoned. The Cars sequels happened because Disney demanded they be made to sell more toys. Sometimes yeah, a film studio will have a better idea, such as replacing the directors and hiring Ron Howard to fix Solo, but the track record isn't all that good.

Of course, we have to talk about the literature side of things. The Lord of the Rings was basically ordered by the publisher, as they wanted a sequel to The Hobbit. Tolkien spent almost two decades writing the book, and even then, the publisher requested it be split in three installments to “save paper.” Or when a producer wants to get a sequel to a Broadway show, and it usually fails or is nowhere near as good as the original – namely, Love Never Dies. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child began life as a prequel about a young Harry living with the Dursleys, but J.K. Rowling decided to make it a sequel instead, telling Jack Thorne and John Tiffanny to re-write their script into a sequel to Deathly Hallows. The original American version of A Clockwork Orange is missing the final chapter because the publisher felt the audience wouldn't want to see a full redemption, whereas the British one did feature this chapter – the film was adapted from the American print. However, the publishers are usually not too involved as record labels and movie studios. Of course sometimes they'll demand a sequel or request that some things are changed in order to sell better, but eventually they come around to restoring missing chapters or their reasoning is justified, like changing the description of the Oompa Loompas (yeah, look that up if you want a real product of the times).

Should the studios get involved? Yeah, sometimes they should – but only in a manner in which they just suggest ideas, and the filmmakers don't have to take them. Wonder Woman could have been a very different film if the crew did what the studio demanded before test screenings. Solo would be an “Ace Ventura type comedy” if Lucasfilm and Disney didn't fire Phil Lord and Chris Miller. They need to step back and let the artists and writers and musicians do their own work without being mandated, only getting involved when they absolutely have to in order to make sure their product is going to be the hit they want it to be. Let the singers make the experimental album they want to, let the director keep their vision, allow the author to say “nope, this is how the book is” when they want to change it. If people like the artist, they'll go and get the new media they put out, especially if they know this is truly what they intended for us to see or hear – and usually, that is the best option.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Brothers/DC Comics

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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