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The problem with originality

I have heard so many lecturers say, ‘there is nothing original, everything has been done before’.

Which always makes me think they must have missed the point somewhat.

We live in a post modern age, so ask yourself this.

Did anyone else grow up with your dad’s choice of music, your mum’s taste in films, hang out with your odd friends and their odd obsessions, fall in love with the same films, books, music as you, then studied what you have? The answer is no, so in this eclectic world you have a very unique or original path that has brought you to this point. No one else has had the same mix of influences you have been exposed to; maybe in the 19th century, people were exposed to far less culture, but today you can be watching a manga cartoon on one channel, turn over to see a 1950s black and white french movie, you switch on your computer to see a man in Russia is letting people vote on electrocuting him, then you go to college listening to your music on shuffle and then they set you a project; but all those things you’ve seen, read, listened to and experienced, they are informing your view of the world, realise this, tap into your unique character and I promise what you produce will not have been done before.

Sure there is a lot of similar stuff out there, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find out that what informed that work, and how it is received will be unique to each and every post modern one of us.

Next time your tutor asked where you got the idea from, just say, ‘Well I was watching
some early 70’s Japanese horror film, when a trance track came on the radio, this and the taste of chewing gum in my mouth all melded together and the idea just popped into my head. Oh and I might have spotted my sister’s white rabbit in the garden at the same time, but I’m not sure if that influenced me or not’. Then see if they say your idea is unoriginal!

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