How To Create A Great Experience
A look into two iconic video franchises and how they leave fans satisfied or disappointed and how you can apply it in any work you do.
In the past few months, there have been some conclusions of some iconic mainstream franchises. From the epic conclusion of Avengers: Endgame to the most recent conclusion of Game of Thrones, fans spirits were high at the start of the Game of Thrones season as well as the films and days leading to Endgame.
But after all is said and done, the complaints from Endgame didn’t ruin the movie entirely. Yes there were certainly complaints — like Thor’s fat shaming, or how the ending of the film proceeded (Sebastian Stan made said his piece on that recently) — but it’s widely accepted as a fantastic conclusion.
That can’t be said about Game of Thrones.
And while making a tv series versus a feature film are two widely different beasts, there are still some things that we can learn from these two productions.
How we can create a truly amazing experience.
And how we can ruin the experience.
Accept That Some People Won’t Like It
Regardless of if your work makes a significant positive impact in peoples lives or not, there will always be someone who isn’t satisfied. Regardless of the success of these two video productions, there will always be people not satisfied.
But the key is how it’s all handled. Over the next few weeks, I can imagine some actors and directors will respond to the backlash in Game of Thrones. All the same, the directors and actors have already responded to criticisms about Avengers: Endgame.
These strategies are things that we should be doing for our own work as well. When someone isn’t happy with the work (and there will typically be at least someone) we shouldn’t be defensive when they make their opinions known.
Instead, we have to learn to accept that our work isn’t always something people want. And that can be a tough thing to accept at the beginning. After all, we often believe that our work is helping people and we find solace in that. To watch someone say the contrary can make us defensive and hurt.
And those emotions can influence how we respond. In cases of these large productions, they are used to getting some backlash, however, that can’t be said to the regular individual who’s starting a business or writing a book.
Pace Yourself During Creation
While there is a larger amount of time put into the creation of Endgame over the final season of Game of Thrones, it is still important to look at the production process.
Game of Thrones wasn’t as well received because of issues with pacing. While it’s understood that the writers had less time to work with than in previous seasons, I’m still curious as to why HBO allowed less time for this final season compared to the previous seasons.
My only theory is that the company wanted the story to be wrapped up faster which only creates this issue of pacing.
On the other side, the directors of Endgame had ample amount of time to tell the story properly, clearly significantly more than usual considering the duration of this particular film versus typical Marvel movie films.
They key here is when we are working, our production can be severely hampered when we cut corners. It’s not being efficient by giving us less time. True in most cases when you have less time you tend to focus on the more important things, however in these examples, it’s hard to argue less time boosts efficiency. After all, both of these franchises have expansive stories involving dozens of characters.
In the end, you want to be pacing yourself and learn what is the ideal amount of work for you to create something amazing that people will enjoy. From there, it’s key to stick to that formula and to not deviate from it so long as you are getting the results you want.
Make Notes, Do Research
One note that I found unique about Game of Thrones was the fact that the writers didn’t use any source material (i.e. the books) in the creation of the final season.
Being someone who hasn’t seen Game of Thrones, I’m not sure how faithful they were to the source material in previous seasons. Still, there is a lot of merit behind relying on source material for inspiration. It’s to the point that it’s to be expected these days that creative work of any kind has some kind of reference.
This is the difference between creating something that’s alright and creating a positive experience to those who consume it: authenticity. These days, we are looking for more of that and can tell whether something is forced or rushed, or purely authentic.
And the biggest way to stay authentic is to use these references and do the research. It doesn’t have to be 100% faithful to the material, but the inspiration should be pulled from something that’s grounded. A study, something someone else created, a book. I think it’s important for our creativity to have some kind of grounded reality.
It pays to do these things and leads to a better experience, even for those who don’t know the source material. After all, we only need to look at the final season of Game of Thrones as an example of what happens when you don’t stay at least a little faithful to the material.
In the end, authenticity can appease the crowd if you’re drawing in a large amount. It shows your care and consideration as we see in Endgame, where some references are actually references to some comics as opposed to previous Marvel films.
This is a great standard for our own work, whatever it may be.
Doing the research shows that we care more about our work and those emotions seep into the final product or service that we provide. Even if the consumer doesn’t fully understand what’s going on, they will be able to tell the care and consideration in the work you’re doing.
Pacing yourself ensures you’re not burning out and you’re not so focused on a deadline. While deadlines certainly help in focusing on what matters, sometimes we need a little bit of extra time to ensure everything is as it should be before we show it off to the world.
And finally, we need to have the emotional resilience around the fact that even if we put a lot of care and effort in our work, some people aren’t going to satisfied. It’s important for us to accept that so we can move on and grow from the experience.