Go Farther: The next (big?) thing

Hoping to be the next JK Rowling, George Lucas, Gene Roddenberry, Gary Gygax, etc.?

I'm concerned in the wake of Harry Potter, and to a lesser extent Twilight, there's going to be efforts to duplicate the success of the same – with dismal results.  I already see people accused of being derivative of Stephanie Myer when they clearly weren't.  I see a lot of imitators of the above people, and little of the passion.

So what are people waiting for?  What's the next big thing (or small thing that feels big)  What does it need?

Synergy.  Three kinds in fact.

The first kind of synergy means whatever this "big futurue property" is that it has to translate well into multiple media.  Books and movies, games and comics, etc.  It has to be something that can be experienced in multiple ways.

The second kind of synergy is social.  It has to be a property that draws people together, transcends boundaries, and is something that people can get passionate about.  This is one reason I feel Harry Potter is a more important geekonomic phenomena than Twilight – a broader audience and appeal.

The third synergy (which in many ways is the core) is that the "big future property" has to have its own synergy – it has to bring a world, an experience, a universe to life that draws people in.  You see it in Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek (despite timeline issues), etc.  The world itself has to hold together (even if its more a few ideas with other stuff hanging off of it).  It has to have both an interesting world and interesting characters.

So what's going to be the next big thing?

Give everyone a story with a great world and great characters.  Give everyone something to get INTO that inspires them, intrigues them, interests them, draws them in.  Remember the great worlds that draw people in, like the dismal-heroic future of Warhammer 40K or the overheated realms of great soaps.  Remember the great characters that call to us – repressed-yet-noble Spock, harried and heroic Harry Potter, irrepressible and evil Lex Luthor.

Give us a story that draws us together – because of the above.  Give us social media sites, websites, and wikis to express and explore what we love.  Encourage it and connect people.  Wether it's people who preform deep Jungian analysis of your work, or just think your leading man is dreadfully hot, draw them together.

Finally, go (reasonably) nuts with the media.  Give us new ways to experience things.  Make sure the games are good (please), the movies epic, the books accessible.  Just go all out and at least CONSIDER that MMO.

I don't know if the above can be made deliberately – they can be cultivated, and a good property with such potential, can be recognized, at least. But it's worth remembering.

Thats what I think will work.

So . . . how are you going to be involved in it?  Are you the next JK Rowling?  Will you be the marketer that clinches the interest?  Will you be the editor that turns that merely good film into an epic?

We're waiting.

– Steven Savage