Saturday, February 23, 2013

Nicholas Sparks - Why so famous?

How do film directors and producers ensure that their films don’t flunk, and end up being best sellers? I recently learned about certain risk management techniques that all these billion dollar production companies use to make sure that all the time and effort put into producing their movies don’t go to waste. They contain tactics like: - sticking to traditional genres and other conventions. - Hiring prominent writers, producers, or directors with a record of success. - Producing cultural products with built-in audiences, for example like: sequels, prequels, remakes, and spinoffs. Etc. There are many other risk management techniques that ensure the success of a film.

That got me thinking about books, and how most of these risk management techniques can be applied to books as well as films, and the first thing that popped into my mind was: Nicholas Sparks.

Why is Nicholas Sparks so famous? Why are his books all best sellers? Don’t people get sick of the same story over and over again? How is he not afraid of once writing a book that’s never going to be read? And the answer to all these questions lied in the risk management techniques.

Nicholas Sparks’ books contain many risk management techniques, and the most prominent ones are: sticking to the traditional genres and conventions. Who doesn’t love a heart-warming romance novel? Famous writer. Everyone knows who Nicholas Sparks is, and what he represents. Built-in audience. Even though his books aren’t sequels of one another, they all have the same basic story line.

All these tactics work because they give the people what they want. Sometimes all the people need is a typical boy meets girl story, with conflicts and ups and downs, and finally it all works out at the end. This is what the audience is looking for, and that is proven by the fact that all of his books are known and loved all over the world. The notebook, A walk to remember, Dear John, The last song, Safe Haven; all of these books are best sellers.

Most of them have been turned into films; highly successful films for that matter. Why? Because they contain what the consumer market wants. They have the same typical story line, a genre that is loved by millions of people, famous directors like Lasse Hallstorm, Adam Shankman and Nick cassavetes, and even the same cover picture; a recipe for great success.

Sadly, all these tactics really work, because at this moment, I really want to watch the newest movie, Safe Haven, based on Nicholas Sparks’ novel. It gives the viewer what they want, a safe, stable, enjoyable love story. At some point (even though none of us care to admit it) we want to watch a corny, mushy, love story where everything works out at the end, and the world is a big bowl of rainbow ice cream, with unicorns flying around. We want the typical cover picture of *hands on each other’s face - falling madly in love - everything is going to work out - living happily ever after*. We might criticize it being such a typical unrealistic love story, while rolling our eyes and leaving the movie theatre, but really, we knew that going in, why did we buy the tickets in the first place? It's our guilty pleasure.

A walk to remember trailer

Dear John trailer

The notebook trailer

Safe haven trailer

The last song trailer

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