Friday, August 5, 2016

Developing Entertainment For Your Brand Needs A Different Time Cycle

 Excellence takes time, talent, and the right process and environment to discover and grow the big idea. 

In today's crowded entertainment and story marketplace, nothing short of excellence creates success 

There is no "good enough" when it comes to getting over the creative bar that will find and attach an audience. I'm not talking about how expensive the entertainment is nor about any particular style or genre. There are many examples of excellent entertainment that doesn't break the bank from a production budget standpoint.

A big challenge for many non-entertainment companies (I define this as a company whose primary product is not the entertainment itself) is to understand and support the process and timeframe necessary to achieve the story excellence needed to effectively compete. This is understandable (though not desirable) because you always get the behavior you incentivize for and if you make your profit from something else other than the entertainment, then that's where you'll focus your process, competencies and decisions. 

Product, service and experience companies all have very unique and specific milestones and timeframes that become ingrained in their cycle planning process. It becomes critical for there to be someone involved who understands the uniquely different, and often changing timeframes and development steps involved in entertainment development. This is especially key in setting the horizon for when the entertainment will meet up with product, experience and/or service. I have seen many cases where getting the financial approval to proceed with the entertainment development is tightly tied to the new product concept to be launched 12 or 24 months in the future. By the time funding approval is received based on those non-entertainment approval cycles, there remains little or no time for development. This usually guarantees mediocre or worse results because everything depends on the breakthroughs that occur in development.

Entertainment development is a highly iterative process within which highly trained creatives are striving to “crack the story” and find a new way to tell a timeless story.  The process works best when, in the development phase, everyone involved in the process is willing to repeatedly dump 90% of the work because a powerful discovery has been made that is clearly going to be the heart of the idea and now everything must comform to that newfound heart. Discovery happens at a certain rate in each project and it can't be rushed without diminishing the quality of the end result.

There are very good reasons why entertainment studios of all sizes are organized into “Development” and “Production.” Nothing is certain in development until the big idea has been found and refined because only excellence will succeed. The gods of development are: Creation, Uniqueness, Human Truth, Excellence of Concept, Vision and more. The Gods of production are: Cost, Schedule, Refinement, Expansion, Excellence and Consistency and Effeciency.

For brand companies entering this new world, committing to entertainment needs to include the commitment to the uncertain timing of the development phase. This can be uncomfortable because the decision to pursue entertainment often comes as part of a plan to drive and support specific product, licensing or  service/experience rollouts. Production timing can be hard planned but if you don’t already have the new story in hand, plan in the 6, 12, or 18 months necessary to find that story. 

More of the future of your brand will be shaped by this work than you may imagine.

The upcoming fourth installment in the 8 part blog series "8 Things You Should Know Before Making Entertainment For Your Brand" will be:

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