Transparency Is Essential for Getting the Most Out of Entertainment

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Have you ever wanted to know how the proverbial sausage is made? I’m not talking about breakfast foods, but rather the creative process that goes into making something you love.

It’s the reason why special features for home releases of big movies and TV shows are so popular: they offer a glimpse behind the scenes and reveal to the world what it takes to create world-class entertainment.

But that’s just one way. Another way for creators to get in touch with their fans is to create – and regularly update! – a blog.

While blogs might feel a little passé in the year 2014, it’s still pretty hard to deny that they play a pretty important role in the zeitgeist. After all, many of the world’s most popular websites are essentially blogs, albeit fancified, dressed-up versions.

Even more interesting is that everybody – even lawyers – seem to have an opinion on the importance of blogging. The idea is simple: blogging is a way for you to keep your fans, devotees, customers, or friends up-to-date on what’s going on with your company, industry, or just your life.

So where does entertainment come into the mix? I’ll tell you.

There are a handful of creators who do a particularly good job of remaining transparent and present for their fans. George R.R. Martin, whose work-in-progress A Song of Ice and Fire served as the inspiration for HBO’s Game of Thrones, still operates, and regularly updates, a Live Journal, of all things. He uses it to show fans interviews he’s given, or just to remind them that, yes, he’s still alive and still working on the follow-up to A Dance with Dragons.

Another example would be my favorite composer, Bear McCreary. Known for his masterful work onBattlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead, and, most recently, Outlander, Bear McCreary is imitated by many but matched by few. His blog is updated regularly as well, giving us a look at his most recent contributions to the world of television.

In both of these cases, the purpose of the blog is to give fans some insight into the creative process or offer some other supplemental material that fans who only watch the show, or read the books, might be missing out on. And for anybody who wants to follow in their footsteps one day and become a renowned composer or showrunner, that kind of transparency can be an indispensable source of encouragement, advice, and even support.

Other well-regarded creators are a little less interested in having fans dive into their headspace. In a classic example of directorial stubbornness (some even called it disrespect at the time), Paul Thomas Anderson famously decided not to record a commentary track for There Will Be Blood. Then again, as great a movie as it was, I probably wouldn’t have needed to be reminded of how many veiled George W. Bush references there were, even if said reminders came right from the horse’s mouth.

Of course, sometimes it’s just too much. Sometimes I don’t really want to get inside the heads of the people whose work I admire. It can be a distraction, or it can influence my interpretation of the events unfolding on the screen or page. However, even if I don’t always want a Being John Malkovich-style vantage point, when I do, I’m always glad that I have the option.

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