Imagine watching a movie you really love. It’s a great movie in many respects, but then there’s that one part that leaves you wondering, “What? That shouldn’t have happened. That doesn’t even make sense!” And sometimes you may end up thinking, “The movie would have made a lot more sense if it happened this way…” Many of us get these little strokes of creativity, but imagine taking your idea further, and building a whole scenario for how the movie would end differently based on that one little change you came up with in your head. Then imagine writing this scenario down, making it into a script, animating the whole scene, hiring voice actors and doing some of the acting yourself, and making a whole video out of your little idea. Sounds crazy, right? Well, that is exactly what Daniel Baxter did, and how he ended up blessing us with his series of videos, titled How It Should Have Ended.
Daniel Baxter, with Tina Alexander, launched their first video on March 6, 2007, which was “How Star Wars Episode IV Should Have Ended.” They capitalized on a major plothole, namely that Princess Leia returned to the rebel base even though she knew she could be followed, thus allowing the Death Star to blow up the rebel base. They reenact this new telling of the story with animation and perfectly executed sarcasm and wit. They continued this trend over the next eight years, creating over 100 videos that expose even more plotholes of movies, TV series, and even video games.You can check out their first video by clicking the link below.
Daniel Baxter fits Lubart and Sternberg’s idea of a creative who employs the investment strategy. He “buys low” by taking a popular movie and twisting the well-accepted ending up on its head, and “sells high” by writing and animating his next idea within a month (Lubart & Sternberg, 271). He uses all six resources of creativity that Lubart and Sternberg list, especially redefinition and insightful thinking. He uses redefinition and insightful thinking by “selectively encod[ing] information others do not see as relevant” when he finds plotholes in entertainment pieces and by “synthesiz[ing] the implications of this information to make the best investment decisions” when he decides which plotholes to use in his videos based on which would produce the funniest or most entertaining results (Lubart & Sternberg, 273).
After they finish creating the characters, he describes the rest of the process as “digital puppet shows,” where instead of drawing each scene they move the characters through Adobe© After Effects software, which allows them to program the characters’ joints like limbs so they can move without redrawing the entire character.
The videos that Daniel Baxter and his team make with How It Should Have Ended would not be possible if the creators did not have a combination of quirky wits to write the scripts, artistic talent, and knowledge of computer programs in order to implement and design each video. Here’s to hoping that he and his team stay creative.
Lubart & Sternberg: Lubart, T.I., & Sternberg, R.J. (1995). An investment approach to creativity: theory and data. In S.M. Smith, T.B. Ward, & R.A. Finke (Eds.) The Creative Cognition Approach (pp.271–302). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.