Nuts and Bolts

Tom, Kai and I (The Outfit) had our first meeting concerning our Untitled Visual Novel Project. I’m enjoying this chance to plan something collaborative. I’d like to treat this with all the gravity I treat projects in my professional life. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, and accounting for all factors that usually derail creative endeavors involves a lot of deep thinking.

Experience tells me that implementation is what prevents projects from being completed. Discussions of what constitutes a “good” or “original” idea aside, anything that can’t be practically done is a waste of time from a project management standpoint, as there would be little to manage. Effort should lead to output, and in proportionality. A large concern for me when it comes to this visual novel is: who are we making this for? How long should the story be? How many branching paths are in the story? What choices are we giving players? What software are we assembling with? What media files are we using? What’s the distribution plan?

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

There’s a lot of media that arguably should not exist, but were made because a committee did the research, found the resources, and hired the technical talent to get from start to finish. I didn’t care for DC’s Batman v Superman or Justice League. I wasn’t in love with Avengers: Endgame. I didn’t like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Even a film I really wanted to love, the 2017 Ghost in the Shell, was a narrative fumble. These films spent millions of dollars on screenwriting, casting, filming, editing, marketing, and distribution. They banked on pre-existing franchises and their audiences to recoup costs. Were they masterpieces? Hell no! But aside from the flaws I perceived, they at least managed to reach completion because of an efficient Hollywood machine.

I love to write. While I don’t believe compromising on integrity is a sustainable practice for creators, the incessant auteur in us all must yield to the realities of production. We cannot make work through aspiration alone, and perspiration does not equate to progress. As is taught in any leadership course, goals must be measurable, attainable, and time-based. And then, after a framework is in place, can we set the nuts and bolts aside to let creativity flow.

Feature image from