Letters from the land of look behind.

Smokey and I hanging out at Lake Chilko, BC

This week I was trying to think of a contemporary animated series or just series for that matter that was not a nostalgic reflection of a time gone by and you know what happened? I couldn’t think of one!

Then I was trying to think of a recent Film or something that wasn’t a retrospective snapshot of an acceptable, better, cooler, grittier or just plain more interesting time period than now. I just couldn’t think of anything that one could consider a mainstream hit, that was truly original and set in the here and now. I mean I know there are independant Films that are exceptions to this rule (Especially in European cinema.) but in general when we are talking mass appeal and high end productions we are talking the land of look behind.

So the first natural question is why? Why is this so important for success, why are we continuing to do it and why we as humans insist on living in the past?

Well in the Kids space the generation gap is a huge thing for me, I mean even the youngest creators are already out of touch with the kids of today and their personal stories are a collection of memories and life experience that is already nostaligic. Mostly because the world is changing so rapidly and also because that is what we have been taught to do — all of us.

To look back at how things were or how things felt when you were a child and to express the things that made you feel safe. Like you belonged to something or to somewhere. A community built around a collective and retrospective understanding of what was popular and acceptable.

This goes for those that finance new content too. The market is so competitive at the moment and the battle for an audience’s attention never more fierce. So its understandable to try to manage your risk and that reassurance can be found in a brands past performance.

Combine both these things with the fact that its almost impossible to understand the here and now, as its the fastest moving point in time. When you are trying to get a hold of it, it can feel like trying to hold onto water. The further we get away from the here and now the easier it is to see, understand and agree on what something is or in this case was.

I was going through a difficult and often painful pre-teen personality crisis in the late 8o’s, yet when I watched stranger things I found it reassuring some how. The creators captured something, something of me or as the ratings would suggest something of alot of us. How can we know what it is that we are collectively sharing/ experiencing right now if the generation actually living it are not able to be heard yet. I mean, expressing what we are living or feeling now in any meaningful way is a struggle for almost everyone.

Our relationship with the world around us is iterative and full of false starts. So it’s hardly surprising that we need time to really understand the importance of what is happening to us now and to be able to express the meaning of it to others.

So why do we humans need to live in the past? Well it seems to happen most when the present or future seems uncertain. While understandable, this does not move us forward a great deal and thats why we need the dreamers and the risk takers.

The Dreamers making the impossible for no reason at all and the commercial risk takers willing to help them do it. These creative pioneers will be judged by future generations who might just look back and say hey that was pretty cool.

Originally published at www.uandeye-creative.com.

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