Last week, I finally saw Golden Globe winning film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Even before it was nominated, I had been excited to check it out in cinemas. And it absolutely delivered.
The next day, I arrived at the office and instantly started raving to a colleague about how much I loved the film.
“I really want to see it”, my colleague said.
“You should”, I replied.
“But is it worth seeing in the cinema?”
The question didn’t exactly take me by surprise. I used to be a film festival programmer, and the amount of times people asked me this was almost unbelievable.
My colleague wasn’t asking whether they should go see it. I had just given them my impression, and they already said they were interested.
What they were actually asking was whether the audio and visual effects would be better experienced in a cinema.
And that’s a real problem.
Martin McDonagh is the undisputed king of dark comedy. His perspective on humanity and the world is confronting to even his most avid fans (and often disturbing to the casual viewer) because it’s unflinchingly honest. On the odd occasion that a studio is willing to take a risk on such films, I rush to buy a ticket.
I rush to buy a ticket, because I know that if I don’t, the studio will think I don’t want to see movies like that. Instead of budgeting for the next Three Billboards, they’ll put that money towards the next Transformers 5346².
My colleague considered this.
“I haven’t really thought of it like that.”
The truth is, when it doesn’t impact their lives in an immediate and personal way, most people don’t.
Here’s the thing: demanding excessive explosions in a McDonagh film is like going to a Michelin-star restaurant and putting tomato sauce on your steak.
What you’re doing is undervaluing the craft. You’ve become so used to the mediocrity of the more common experience that you’ve come to expect it. By doing so, you’re forgetting what matters. And the more people who forget, the quicker the craftsperson will as well.
This isn’t just limited to film and food.
The gym that screens their members so those that are serious get the attention they deserve.
The fashion designer who offers the tailored touch.
The mattress maker working hard to ensure you get a comfortable night’s sleep.
If we don’t value what we appreciate, what we love, it will die.
It may just seem like another part of doing business, but carving out a niche to give the right people the best experience is a courageous act.
As members of this niche, it is our responsibility to embrace this courage and support the craftspeople who create with us in mind. That, ultimately, is our duty.