How the lack of constraints killed the quality of Star Wars 21 Jul 2005
43 comments Latest by John
Constraints drive innovation and forces focus. They are to be embraced, not removed. That’s one of the points we’re pushing in the Building of Basecamp workshops. To explain the need of constraints, I’ve used the decline of quality in the Star Wars movies as an example. A couple of weeks ago, I found the following comment on Slashdot, which boiled down my argument down to a single spot-on paragraph:
No the problem is money. Lucas has way too much of it. Especially for the first film [New Hope] there was a severe budget crunch. They were limited in both money and time. I think this forces a film team to make decisions that in the long run are good for the film. If you have no boundaries, you are more likely to throw in little bits that really have no business being in the movie. If you are limited, you are forced to trim the fat and leave the good bits. With the prequels, Lucas had no limits. He effectively had infinite money and time in which to make these films. As a result he wasn’t forced to REALLY think about which parts worked to help the film and which didn’t.
Constraints are a unique advantage that small teams have over the big guys. Less money, less time, less people. Don’t be too eager to relieve yourself of these advantages through VC money, long release cycles, and quick hires.