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Creativity Leash

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It's not just about the creator. This index archives all the ways in which producers, executives, advertisers, editors, and fans hold sway over the creative process.


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  • Actor-Inspired Element: A character's trait is inspired and/or improvised by their actor.
  • Adored by the Network: The network executives give better promotion and airtime to the shows they like better.
  • Attention Deficit Creator Disorder: When a creator is working a lot of projects at the same time.
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  • Audience-Alienating Premise: A work fails to find an audience because it has a premise that is widely considered to be too boring, controversial, weird, etc.
  • Auteur License: A creator is given freedom to complete their project the way they envisioned it.
  • Bishōnen Jump Syndrome: A work has a male target demographic, but appeals to a female one via Bishounen character designs.
  • Bleached Underpants: The creator originally created a more adult-themed work before creating this kid-friendly work or has made a more kid-friendly adaptation of their original adult-themed work.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The adaptation is more violent than the original work.
  • Bowdlerise: Editing a work to remove content that could be considered inappropriate.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: The franchise keeps going because it's very profitable for the company that owns it.
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  • Censorship Bureau: A self-governing body with a censorship code.
  • Channel Hop: A television show ends up airing new episodes on a different network. Can also apply to works changing publishers and distributors.
  • Christmas Rushed: Production of the work was forced to finish faster so that the final product could be released in time for the holidays.
  • Contractual Purity: A family-friendly actor moves onto more adult content, likely attracting attention from Moral Guardians.
  • Cosmic Deadline: The rate the plot resolves itself starts going into overdrive near the end of the story due to development problems.
  • Darker and Edgier: The work is made darker and grittier in tone.
  • Dead Horse Genre: Music that critics automatically hate.
  • Deader Than Disco: A work was once popular, but is now widely despised and has little chance of making a comeback.
  • Demographics: The kinds of people the work is supposed to appeal to.
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    • Audience Shift: A franchise installment aimed at a different demographic than previous installments.
    • Fleeting Demographic: A demographic that will eventually stop enjoying the work once they've outgrown it.
    • Growing with the Audience: A continuation of a children's work from the past that is aimed more at adults who saw the original when they were kids rather than children today.
    • Multiple Demographic Appeal: There's more than one demographic who appreciates the work.
    • Periphery Demographic: A work of fiction has fans outside of its intended demographic.
  • Denser and Wackier: Making the work sillier and more gag-oriented.
  • Direct to Video: Rather than wait for a theatrical or television release, the movie is released directly to VHS or DVD as soon as it has finished production.
  • Distanced from Current Events: A work gets censored, delayed, or canceled due to a then-recent Real Life tragic event or events.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: A minor character who is very popular with the fans.
  • Executive Meddling: The executives force the creator to make changes to the work.
  • Executive Veto: The executives say no to an idea the creator wants to do with the work, so the creator has to either work around the restriction by coming up with an alternative that still does what they want without upsetting the executives or drop the idea altogether.
  • Exiled from Continuity: A character may not be used in a work due to a major limitation, especially legal reasons.
  • Extra-Long Episode: An episode that runs longer than a normal episode's running time.
  • Extruded Book Product: Ghostwritten series of books where the main plotline of every book is basically the same, and created at a rate that's higher than any one writer usually writes.
  • Friday Night Death Slot: A show's time slot being moved to Friday nights means that the network wants the show to decline in ratings precisely so they'd finally have an excuse to cancel the series.
  • Ghetto Index
  • Hollywood Hype Machine: When Hollywood chooses one specific actor to turn into the "Next Big Thing", slapping them on every tabloid and gossip magazine.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Adding more nudity and fanservice to the work.
  • Jumping the Shark: The moment where a series starts to decline in quality.
  • Kinder and Cleaner: An adaptation contains less profanity than the original.
  • Lighter and Softer: Making the work more lighthearted and kid-friendly.
  • Lowest Common Denominator: Marketing something to as many demographics as possible.
  • Magazine Decay: A magazine moves away from its original concept.
  • Media Watchdog: A government-appointed body whose job it is to field complaints about media and censure or penalize the creators if deemed necessary.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The television show is mainly made to promote merchandise.
  • Moral Guardians: Groups of people who want to protect children from being exposed to some level of sex, violence, etc.
  • Music Is Politics: The music industry is a business with political machinations and as such can result in censorship.
  • Network Decay: The channel seems to have forgotten the kind of content it was intended to air when originally founded.
  • Once Acceptable Targets: Targets that used to be okay to make fun of, but today would cause considerable backlash if attempts were made to mock them.
  • Orphaned Series: A work ended prematurely because the creator doesn't want to or can't work on it any longer.
  • Pandering to the Base: The creators prioritize giving the fans what they want over what they intend to do with the work.
  • Pigeonholed Director: A director is always associated with certain genres they work in.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Is considered a problem by many who believe that today's media is too tame.
  • Postscript Season: A show gets renewed for more episodes after it was supposed to end.
  • Protection from Editors: If a work is exempt from criticism, its quality usually takes a toll.
  • Public Medium Ignorance: People think all medium works the same way.
  • Ratings: A measurement of how many people are tuning in to a television show.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Real life events inspire what the final work will be like.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: The audience picks up romantic subtext between characters that are not meant to be in love.
  • Ruder and Cruder: An adaptation contains more profanity and/or inappropriate material than the original.
  • Running the Asylum: Fans of the series are given a free hand to implement their own ideas and interpretations now that they're the ones in charge.
  • Sacred Cow: A work is so popular and well-regarded that saying anything negative about it is a very effective way to get everyone pissed off at you.
  • Scapegoat Creator: The creator receives blame for a work's flaws when none of the flaws are their fault.
  • Schedule Slip: The release of a work gets delayed.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: Production or distribution of a work is ceased or hindered by legal issues.
  • Screwed by the Network: A show gets cancelled because the network didn't treat it very well.
  • Sequelitis: As the number of franchise installments goes up, the quality of them goes down.
  • The Shelf of Movie Languishment: The movie has been finished, but has its release delayed for some time, if it ever gets released at all.
  • Shipping Bed Death: Characters getting a Relationship Upgrade ruins the audience's enthusiasm for the pairing.
  • Tamer and Chaster: Reducing the amount of sexual content in the work.
  • Testing the Editors Creators decide to make sure the editors are doing their jobs.
  • Torch the Franchise and Run: The creator deliberately ends the series in a way that it can't conceivably be revived.
  • Trilogy Creep: The tendency of some trilogies to have additional, unexpected installments.
  • Typecasting: When an actor keeps playing the same kind of role in most of their works.
  • Unacceptable Targets: Targets that are considered to not be okay to mock.
  • Unisex Series, Gendered Merchandise: The work is aimed at all audiences, but the merchandise is only marketed towards one gender.
  • Unpleasable Fanbase: Nothing the creators can do will ever completely satisfy the fans.
  • Very Special Episode: An episode dedicating to dealing with a serious subject not usually brought up in other shows.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: When a creator overestimates how intelligent their audience is.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: Repeating stuff that was mentioned just earlier under the assumption that the audience won't remember it.
  • Viewers Are Indexed: The sliding scale of what creators think about their audience.
  • Viewers Are Morons: Explaining everything as if the audience is too dumb to figure it out themselves.
  • Wag the Director: The cast makes demands that must be met if they're going to act in the work.
  • What Could Have Been: This work could've existed or at least have been very different had it not been for one decision, legal barrier or unforeseen misfortune.
  • Writer on Board: Making a point at the expense of storytelling.
  • Writer Revolt: The writer reacts to Executive Meddling by sneaking in a "fuck you" aimed at the conditions forced on them.
  • Younger and Hipper: A work's characters are retooled to be younger.

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