Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Death by Committee

Adam Carolla is a modern day philosopher. After a series of failed television pilots, radio shows and movies, he finds himself dolling out wisdom on his daily podcast, in which he loses money on every single download. Today he was a guest on the Howard Stern Show and asked a question that is relevant to anyone who appreciates art, be it comedy, film or theme parks. "When did any art form get better by committee?" his rant begins.

"Did anything ever get better, is there any great work, any concerto, any painting, any poet, where a hundred fucking friends of your mom just stood there and said, I don't think I like it? Change that, Leonardo. That should be different. No, it's impossible."

What ultimately goes into Disney theme parks today is dominated by managers, focus groups and other uncreative types. These are committees, whether they are bored housewives corralled into a focus group or executives with agendas, that kill art. They are often persuaded not by what makes good art, but what's new, hot, trending or simply easiest to digest. Disney theme park attractions are no more influenced by the talented folks at Imagineering than by the Disney DVD section at your local Best Buy. Based on which bitter Imagineering blog you prefer, the death by committee disease has even seeped into the highest levels of WDI.

What we want to do is to differentiate from committees this idea of collaboration between visionaries, which is what WED Enterprises once was. Looking back at the great works of Imagineering art and contrasting them with what appear to be committee-driven ideas, it's clear where each project draws its influence.

Collaboration between visionaries.

Inspired by best-selling DVD.

First of its kind.

Budget crunch.

When creativity is allowed to thrive by collaboration.

When creativity is suffocated by committee.

There will always be a need for managers and market research, but they should support art, not dictate it. Top level executives must be Imagineering's biggest defenders, not their saboteurs. The job of anyone with an MBA and a suit should be to get out of the way and allow the talent to really fly. Use that education of yours to figure out how to sell Mount Prometheus to Southern Californians, instead.


Anonymous said...

Another gem of an article. So refreshing compared to "FANBOI" Honor Hunter!

Spokker said...

I love Blue Sky Disney, but thanks nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

That's shocking that you do. I always thought you had a great deal of disdain for him. He definitely seems to have some for you.


It's strange, because you point out the things he glosses over. What do you like about his blog?

Spokker said...

Honor Hunter keeps me up to date on all the latest Disney press releases!

I don't detect any disdain from him, just playful teasing.

Anonymous said...

Honor Hubter is to Disney what John Gruber is to Apple ;)

Spokker said...

I just wonder who he is. He speaks very authoritatively about insider stuff at Disney.

In any case, I go to his site seeking his point of view, so I clearly like his blog. I like seeking out opinions that are the exact opposite of mine.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious myself as to who he is.

I just can't get past his "rah-rah" cheerleader stuff.

He'll throw in some dig at "suits" every so often, but he's just so biased FOR Disney that it undermines him.

And ugh, he is just an awful writer. He needs an editor. He even misspelled "apostrophe" the other day...

And LOL at the "phishing" comment. What the hell did that mea?

Good to see you're a good sport about him, though.

It's going to be interesting to see if Disney hits him up with a DMCA notice for using all of those images without putting "copyright Disney," etc. on them.

Anonymous said...

Mean, not "mea"