"Never in the history of cinema has a medium entertained an audience. It's what you do with the medium."
"I'll tell you exactly what they want, Senator. They want chase scenes and car crashes. They want firm breasts and tight-assed Latino men. They want their cowboys to be strong and silent. They want their cops to bend the rules to get the job done. They want the boy to get the girl. They want the alien to be killed, unless he's cute. They want the good guy to win, they want the bad guy to die, hopefully in the biggest explosion the budget will allow. But most importantly, Senator, they want to walk into a theater and for ninety minutes be able to forget about the fucking mess you have left of this nation."
— Peter Dragon, Action
This is what we want,
you know we had to wait a good while,
This is what we need,
To live out all the love that we read,
This ain't no new kinda story,
This ain't no new kinda story.
— Starflyer 59, "No New Kinda Story"
Norman: "I just don't want to be cliché!"
Chuck: "It's not cliché, Norman, it's the formula, and it works!"
"Almost everything is imitation. The idea of The Persian Letters was taken from The Turkish Spy. Boiardo imitated Pulci, Ariosto imitated Boiardo. The most original writers borrowed from one another."
"Marge, you're my wife, and I love you very much, but you're living in a world of make-believe! With flowers and bells and leprechauns and magic frogs with funny little hats!"
— Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
"Oh, look at me! I'm making people happy! I'm the Magical Man from Happy-Land, in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane!"
— Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
"A single, highly focused motivation—let's say "revenge," for example—can carry any number of novels; conversely, it can result in a clichéd story that employs eighty-three out of the 100 items on that list of "Things I Wouldn't Do If I Were An Evil Overlord" one finds floating around the Internet. It's why that desire for revenge developed, and how that vengeance is enacted, that makes a story worth telling."
— Elaine Cunningham at Something New with the Dragon.
"Listen Rex: all we do is put old stuff together in new ways. Creativity is incremental, my boy! Let me tell you a story… Once upon a time, there were two bricklayers, okay? Imagine these two guys… Brothers. Now. The two of them have a pile of bricks each, and they can build whatever they want. The first one starts to lay bricks. The second brother just stands there and watches while this goes on. Finally he says, “That’s how everyone else lays bricks! How about some originality? How about some innovation?” The first brother ignores him and keeps building. He puts up layer after layer of bricks. Eventually, a structure starts to take shape. People gather round. They gawk! Why? Because even though the elements of building are old, the sum of the parts is new, innovative, exciting, fresh. See?"
—Barry, Rex Libris
By most expectations, anything involving ditzy demon girls and gaming-obsessed geekboys and a rotating lineup of high school beauties should have been the stuff of critical derision. Yet the show's sharp sense of humor, honest emotions, and polished production values prove that working with familiar clichés doesn't have to result in a clichéd product. With the right prodding and poking, any anime series can indeed become greater than the sum of its parts.
The mentor figure always ends up getting killed. I nearly didn't do it simply for that reason. However, I eventually decided that a good story is more important, sometimes, than avoiding the expected. Once in a while, you just have to do what feels right, even if that feeling leads you into areas that others have tread.
At some point, you'll have to move from imitating your heroes to emulating them. Imitation is about copying. Emulation is when imitation goes one step further, breaking into your own thing....In the end, imitating your heroes is not flattering them. Transforming their work into something of your own is how you flatter them. Adding something to the world that only you can add.
—Austin Kleon, author of "Steal Like an Artist"
I don’t expect all genre conventions to be turned on their head. They’re there for a reason, after all, but it takes a very good writer to take those conventions, own them and then write something truly special within their constraints.
— "The 'Rules' of Contemporary Romance", a blog post
No trope is too old as long as it works.
—Hong Kong idiom.
Talent borrows. Genius steals.
...Familiar, eh? This formula's been used over and over, especially in anime and JRP Gs.
That doesn't mean that it's bad, however. It has been said that all the great stories have already been told, and that the difference is in the telling. That's where both Persona 3 and Persona 4 distinguish themselves, combining their gameplay mechanics and aesthetic/thematic inspirations to tell an old story in new, unique ways.
"Don't avoid the cliches - they are cliches because they work!"