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Disputes between friends regarding Originality


Dreadmallon
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   My friend and I today were arguing about originality, and if it is truly good or bad. He believes that

anything not original is "boring," and the only reason the majority will like it is because they are "mindless drones." For his example, he talked about Star Wars; Episode VII, saying how "it will only be okay, but everyone will go to see it, because it's Star Wars." However, we did manage to agree that originality =/= popularity, and that not everyone will like things that are original (I used the new Pokemon (sorry Gen 5 and 6 fans) as examples). 

  

   This started when I was discussing with him my new idea for a (non-pony) OC (really, all I did was show him a rough sketch of what he'll look like). My friend disapproved, saying how it was unoriginal because it looked like "a Sith Lord, that character from Mass Effect 3 (?), and Corvo (Dishonored)" mixed into one. This was entirely unintentional, but he said I need to scrap the idea because assassins are cliche and boring. He later went on to say how it would be popular, yes, but only because the reader will like anything that looks cool. (For more detail, my character has a bandolier/belt, armor, a mask, a jacket, and a metal arm made to look intimidatingly creepy). 

 

    Pretty much, he said that things that have been used a lot are boring, unappealing, and unoriginal (he used Romeo and Juliet stories as an example). So not only is this limited to my OC, he thinks anything that has been done before is boring, etc.

 

    My main argument was that originality was not always good, and that it could be just plain random and unappealing to the reader. I raised the question of "Why do you think these unoriginal things are popular?" to which he responded with "I know why they became popular, but they became boring."

 

    His final comment on the whole thing is that people who make these things tend to make more money because people like them more, but are not true artists (<- Admittedly, that made me angry) because it's not original at all.

 

 

 

    I just want to see your guys' opinion on the matter. I know it sounds biased, and it is, but I literally talked to my friend a second time to recall some of the argument and his side. So I actually am quoting him.

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Uh... make your OC however you want. True, robot arms are more than a little cliché, but so long as you pull it off right, it will be more than adequate.

 

However, to your friend's credit, original things are the best. That is, in fact, why you are on the forum of a fandom about such a show, no?

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People are entitled to what ever they like and some like a mixture but this is just placing things in a category. However I like things that are original as they can bring me to the good times that I had with them but sometimes Un-Originality can be quite amusing and different bring new perspective to the viewer. Just depends on the mind set.

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Your friend sounds like the most boring person alive. On top of that, a jerk. You can design your OC anyway you want. It's about what you like, not what he likes. Not much is original in this world anyways, so who cares? Just have fun with what you like.

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Originality is pretty much what I base my imagination on. I want things that haven't been seen or done before; and if they have, how I could put my own spin on it. Taking music for example, I like to make tunes that sound odd and quirky, shoving that odd side of my personality into it. Characters, I like to make them seem unique on the outside and inside.

 

Unoriginal things are boring, to be honest. Take pop music for an example: how many times have you heard a love song? I've heard so many of them they just seem emotionless and tacky...because they are. They're unoriginal. (Don't even get me started on dubstep...*shudder*...)

 

Characters are vital to make original. Sunset Shimmer was such a generic and unoriginal antagonist in my opinion so she didn't make as much of an impact on me than, say, Discord, who was so unique in both appearance and characteristics.

 

If your character is looking rather unoriginal, then perhaps their backstory and personality could make up for that. (Can't think of any examples for that :P ) All I'm saying is that your friend does prove a very good point, originality should be prioritised over popularity. :)

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Hello

 

Just to let you know, I have moved your thread to the 'General Discussions' section as it seem to be more relevant there as opposed to Creative Resources, which is used more to gather opinions and advice on a member's artistic projects.

 

In regards to originality, it is very difficult to to create something that is 'purely original,' as many artists gather inspiration from various sources, such as nature, history or even other peoples' works.  However, I think the term 'originality' can be more flexible than many may believe because everyone was their own individual perspective on how one views the world around them.  This can be even more prevalent when this discussion comes to artists, as one does not have to reinvent the wheel to be original but how it can be used.  Just look at the many artists out there who take something like....Samus from the Metroid series and draw the character not in line with the original art style.  Is the character an original creation of the artist?  Absolutely not, however they make the creation their own by putting their own self into the drawing, whether it be through various styles in color, line, shading, lighting and every aspect that gives artwork a distinctive personality that can be drastically different from what the original conveyed.  That, in and of itself, can make something like fan art 'original.'  Yes, it is more preferable to create an entity that is truly your own but we are all fans of something (whether it be games, movies, shows, etc.) so why should we be restricted in not drawing what we love?

 

However, one must be cautious when attempting to create something original as they may isolate their audience if their creation is so far separated from reality that nothing in it can be relatable.  Most things you see in any form of media has some roots, if only loosely, in reality.  Yes, you can make something original but if it fails to captivate someone and make them think about your creation, it can be all for nothing.

 

To wrap up this long-winded reply, I would like to address your friend's final comment on 'true artists.'  Granted, these artists in question did not create the characters, setting and whatnot that they have drawn but that is only a small fraction what what makes an artist an artist.  An artist is supposed to create something that stirs up specific emotions within the audience either through content, setting, lighting, color, posing of characters and several other factors that takes years of study to perfect and express correctly.  To say that these are not 'true artists' because they desire to express their perspective on an existing franchise is a bit of an insult to the hard work and hours these people put into their craft, many of which do create their own characters and original concepts on top of whatever fan art they may desire to make.

 

I think I have wasted enough of everyone's time with this wall of text of utter nonsense so I shall end with this note; everyone has the right to their own opinions, whether they are correct, misguided or simply wrong.  All one can do is express their side of the discussion and hope that the other side will listen, hoping not for agreement but rather respectful understanding.  Agreement is just a bonus.

Edited by SkyBound
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I don't know anything about originality! I mean, hey, just look at my username!

 

In all seriousness though, I believe originality is a good thing, but it's not necessarily bad to take inspiration. In my projects, I draw inspiration from Ashens, Todd in The Shadows, Nostalgia Critic, Angry Video Game Nerd, and even Yahtzee Croshaw. As long as you aren't blatantly copying their formula, it's alright.

Edited by Marty McUnoriginal
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I get where's he's coming from about being creative and interesting, but at the same time he's taking it to a extreme. It's as they say "every idea has been done before". The original Star Wars itself was heavily influenced by westerns and samurai movies, and many other praised works have clear influences.

 

The thing about creativity is that it's near impossible to have something that's 100% brand new and has no similarities to something else. It's more about execution and how you use elements, as Tvtropes says "Tropes are not bad, tropes are tools".   

Edited by Shoboni
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   Generally, I agree with the idea that originality is key. However, he's talking as if every tiny detail should be original.

 

  I asked him why the "hero cycle" is so popular, and a template of many stories. His reply was the same as I said before. "Mindless people."

 

  Thank you for your opinions on the matter, guys. I'm still wondering what to think of this (although, I'll admit, I am working on new ideas).

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