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Don't-Do-Sequels

Don’t Do Sequels

Success! You’ve conquered adversity and created something awesome.

Oh no…now people are expecting you to do it again. What if you can’t produce something as good? What if your next project is a complete failure? Now you’re petrified. You’re scared to attempt anything. You’re afraid you can’t measure up to your past success.

Let me ask you this. Why are you trying to create a sequel of your previous work? A sequel is more of the same. A sequel is the first step toward a tradition. Traditions don’t break molds. Traditions aren’t creative. Traditions are filled with expectations. Don’t sabotage yourself by creating a tradition pregnant with expectations.

Sequels rarely thrill an audience. Sequels are a cheap way to create. But they often bring more pressure than they’re worth.

When is it okay to do a sequel work? Michael Crichton, one of my favorite authors, only wrote one sequel in his life. He wrote Lost World as a sequel for Jurassic Park. He saw it as a challenge. It was a game to him.

Only write sequels on your terms, when you’re looking for the challenge.

Instead, treat every new project like its own thing. Get rid of previous expectations and let yourself create freely. Don’t be bound by traditions or sequels.

16 Comments

  • “The Empire Strikes Back” is arguably the best Star Wars Movie. Sometimes the constraint of the rules of the original promote creativity, but then again look at all the prequels and you’ll know that’s the exception to the rule.

    • Jonathan Says

      Exactly! Sometimes the sequel is even better. But too many people fall into the trap of doing sequels. Sequels should be from your own motivation…not from outside or internal pressure.

  • “The Empire Strikes Back” is arguably the best Star Wars Movie. Sometimes the constraint of the rules of the original promote creativity, but then again look at all the prequels and you’ll know that’s the exception to the rule.

    • Jonathan Says

      Exactly! Sometimes the sequel is even better. But too many people fall into the trap of doing sequels. Sequels should be from your own motivation…not from outside or internal pressure.

  • Daniel Says

    Hi Jonathan, I just found this blog from stage design ideas and this is the first post I have read but it was awesome and I look forward to reading more from you!

  • Daniel Says

    Hi Jonathan, I just found this blog from stage design ideas and this is the first post I have read but it was awesome and I look forward to reading more from you!

  • Great thoughts. I think sometimes we tend toward “sequels” in the church creativity world because we do something that works, people connect with it, it was fun, or (hopefully) people’s lives were impacted. We think, “That worked so well, let’s do it again!” or “We got three comments about how great x was, when can we do it again?” Yet, my experience is that the second, third, or moreth time isn’t really as special as the first. Yet we do it anyway. Maybe part of it, too, is the weekly repeating aspect of church ministry.

    • Jonathan Says

      Definitely…it’s because people praise “x” so much that we have to do it again. Ultimately I believe that’s the source of most traditions. Sometimes “x” can have excitement for many years…but eventually it dies out. And more than that…it becomes a drain on everyone trying to “outdo” the year before.

      • How true. That’s one of the reasons I’ve always had a hard time with huge Christmas and Easter productions that are mostly because it’s what’s always been done. In my last church, we ended up pulling the plug on doing the “outreach” Christmas production because it was no longer fulfilling its purpose and instead served a Christmas dinner to less fortunate individuals in our community. There were some who weren’t happy because we weren’t doing the “traditional” program.

        • Jonathan Says

          that’s awesome! and the traditionals can learn to love a new tradition (that you can take away again…hehe)

  • Great thoughts. I think sometimes we tend toward “sequels” in the church creativity world because we do something that works, people connect with it, it was fun, or (hopefully) people’s lives were impacted. We think, “That worked so well, let’s do it again!” or “We got three comments about how great x was, when can we do it again?” Yet, my experience is that the second, third, or moreth time isn’t really as special as the first. Yet we do it anyway. Maybe part of it, too, is the weekly repeating aspect of church ministry.

    • Jonathan Says

      Definitely…it’s because people praise “x” so much that we have to do it again. Ultimately I believe that’s the source of most traditions. Sometimes “x” can have excitement for many years…but eventually it dies out. And more than that…it becomes a drain on everyone trying to “outdo” the year before.

      • How true. That’s one of the reasons I’ve always had a hard time with huge Christmas and Easter productions that are mostly because it’s what’s always been done. In my last church, we ended up pulling the plug on doing the “outreach” Christmas production because it was no longer fulfilling its purpose and instead served a Christmas dinner to less fortunate individuals in our community. There were some who weren’t happy because we weren’t doing the “traditional” program.

        • Jonathan Says

          that’s awesome! and the traditionals can learn to love a new tradition (that you can take away again…hehe)

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