One of the interesting things that I’ve noticed over the past decade or two is that I’ve gradually become more interested in creative works that I would have considered “boring” when I was younger.
Whether it’s the deliberately slow pacing of modern films/TV shows like “Blade Runner 2049” and the 2017 “Twin Peaks” TV series (which I got on DVD as a Christmas present last year), whether it’s slower-paced games in the “point and click” genre etc… I’ve found that things I’d once have considered “boring” are much more interesting than they might initially seem.
But, how can you learn to enjoy creative works like this? Here are a few tips.
1) Work out why it is “boring”: Simply put, good “boring” creative works are slow-paced or uneventful for a good reason.
This is either because it gives the audience time to think about what is happening or because it gives the audience time to appreciate things like the atmosphere, visual elements, the characters etc..
A “boring” slow pace could also be there for the sake of emotional contrast, suspense or something like that. Kind of like how music sounds more dramatic because it also contains silence as well as noise.
Likewise, boredom can be used to add a sense of realism to a creative work. After all, everyday life is a boring, humdrum thing most of the time.
Artists, writers, directors, game developers etc… will sometimes include some of this boredom in order to show that their story is a more realistic (and immersive) one. Once you see it this way, then “boring” scenes can be a lot more understandable.
But, whatever the reason, there is probably a good reason for why a creative work is “boring”. If you can remember this, then you’ll enjoy these things more.
2) Read more:
Although I don’t read nearly as much as I used to [Edit: No prizes for guessing what I rediscovered a week or so after preparing this article. Expect regular book reviews to start later this month], one of the things that changed my attitude towards “boring” creative works was reading a lot when I was a teenager.
But, why does reading matter? Simply put, reading gently gets you used to stories being told at a slightly slower pace.
Even the most fast-paced thriller novel still needs to take the time to introduce the characters and the premise. It’ll tell a more complex story than the average movie. It’ll be something that will demand that you spend 4-6 hours reading it. And, you’ll probably enjoy it. So, reading more (even in more fast-paced genres) is a great way to get used to slower-paced films, games etc…
3) Remember, it’s about the journey: One important thing to remember about “boring” creative works is that the most important part often isn’t the story, but everything else. I’m talking about things like the atmosphere, the narrative voice, the visual style, the underlying ideas etc…
In other words, these things are more about the journey than the destination.
A good cinematic example is probably the first “Blade Runner” film. The basic story of this film is just a simple detective thriller story. But that isn’t what makes it a brilliant film.
It’s a brilliant film because of the fact that it takes place in an intriguingly mysterious futuristic world which also looks stunningly beautiful too. It’s a brilliant film because of the fact that you notice something new about it every time you see it. It’s a brilliant film because of all of the thematic/philosophical/moral complexity hiding behind the simple story. I could go on for hours, but it’s a brilliant film because of everything other than the basic story.
In short, if you find a creative work to be “boring”, then try focusing on something other than the story. The story the creative work is telling might not be the main reason why it was made.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂