The timeless ‘egg’ or ‘chicken’ argument came to the surface at Cannes Lions 2014 as the ‘idea’ or the ‘technology’. It was clear that the answer from the creative community was, no surprise, the idea. To quote one speaker ‘it shouldn’t be technology for technology’s sake’. This is true, but in the same vein it shouldn’t be ‘creativity for creativity’s sake’.
The problem is that people are separating the two. This is most likely because it’s the way we currently divide the industry – ‘creatives’ and ‘digital people’. That is not to say digital people aren’t creative, but rather ‘creative’ in the departmental sense.
That aside, when you get down to it, the best work is when the two are fused together – the idea is the technology and the technology could not work without the idea. They are inseparable. This was clear when Jon Collins and Tim Webber fromFramestore (the company behind the special effects for Harry Potter, Gravity and Avatar) spoke in their session called: ‘Achieving the Impossible’. Here they talked about how closely they worked with Alfonzo Cuarón (co-writer, director of Gravity) to bring the movie to life. Cuarón’s team moved into the Framestore offices, where they spent a year working out how to make the story. The result of this collaboration is evident in the movie, where the story and technology are seamless.
Really, it’s not a question of ‘technology’ or ‘idea’, and just like the ‘egg’ or ‘chicken’ argument, if we continue to think of it in those terms there will never be a ‘right’ answer.