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Michael Eisner: Creativity doesn't have to be expensive

The former Disney CEO explains the importance of content... via Indiana Jones

Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner might have won the Casual Connect crowd over with clips of The Lion King, Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Bojack Horseman this morning, but his message was a clear one - however technology changes it's ultimately the content that matters.

"Time and again outstanding content will be successful across a range of technological delivery systems," he said during his talk From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: The Eternal Interplay Between Content and Technology.

"The medium is not the message, the message makes the medium. The technology that allows us to play games on phones and tablets is absolutely fantastic, but what good is it without the games a lot of you in this audience develop? All sorts of people love Scrabble. It was something they played across the table with someone they knew; now millions of people play Words With Friends on their phones."

He also used The Lion King as an example, a movie that was a huge success at the box office but went on to continue that success on DVD, on cable, through merchandising and most recently through a record-breaking stage show.

Eisner argued that the crucial content didn't need to be expensive to be great, explaining Raiders Of The Lost Ark had a "reasonable budget" when it was made.

"Great entertainment requires a large infusion of outstanding creativity. Creativity is often challenging - it can't be defined, it can't be quantified, it can't even be itemised on a spreadsheet - but here's the big news, creativity doesn't have to be expensive," he explained.

"A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that entertainment will improve by just shovelling more money at it. This has been proven wrong."

He cited the film flop of 1980 Raise The Titanic, which was famous for costing around $40 million but only grossing about $13.8 million at the box office. To prove his point about cheap creativity he showed a clip from Raiders Of The Lost Ark, where a sick Harrison Ford shoots a sword wielding enemy - a decision that was made to prevent a delay in shooting.

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Rachel Weber avatar
Rachel Weber: Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.
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