A question about giving up on similar ideas…

I had the most original, never-before-seen idea ever, but someone else sold a project almost exactly like mine. Should I still pursue this idea or should I abandon it?

Jeremiah R., Clone, NM


Dear Jeremiah,

Each year, thousands of ideas find themselves abandoned or neglected by overzealous creators unprepared to handle the responsibility of caring for and cultivating them. It could be that the idea was too much work for them. Or the idea lost its luster after the creator saw others parading so many similar ideas around at the local idea park. No matter what the reason, these ideas were soon left out in the cold with no options and no chance for a creative livelihood.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The Society for the Prevention of Carelessness with Ideas (SPCI) deals with hundreds of cases of abandoned ideas each year to help them develop into strong, healthy sources of entertainment. But the SPCI can’t do it alone. Your help is needed to ensure these ideas stay alive and find a good home. Look at what the SPCI and people just like you have accomplished together over the years:

In 1958, an idea cared for and loved by a man name Kurosawa in a faraway land spawned new ideas in the heads of creators around the globe. Most of these ideas went neglected and died off, but in the 1970s, an offspring was taken in by a thoughtful creator. He fed the idea a budget and some special effects, and soon, Star Wars grew up to be a strong and healthy breed of idea known as a franchise.

Also in the 1970s, an idea known as Jaws grew up to capture the fear and terror of America. But it came from an idea with no clear self-restraint, and in 1981, another apparent sibling of this idea was nurtured by a filmmaker in Italy. Even though L’Ultimo Squalo (Great White) was legally prevented from release within the U.S., its development wasn’t completely wasted. It would be years later, but the movie would receive eventual notoriety as part of the documentary, The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made.

And we can also look to the comic book community… one of our most active supporters. In comic books, ideas are cultivated over-and-over again to make sure no idea gets left stranded. Dark Knights become Moon Knights. Crime fighters skilled in the ways of archery roam the streets colored in both green and purple. New ideas come forward as an ultimate revitalization of a comic book company’s existing line of superhero concepts. Even the ideas portrayed by the art itself doesn’t get abandoned as some of the more dedicated supporters make sure even a single line of work doesn’t get neglected.

Support doesn’t just stop with ideas spawned within specific media. The SPCI knows even unfortunate ideas cross-bred between different media can bring joy to someone when properly cared for. These mutts (often referred to as “adaptations”) draw a lot of attention to themselves due to the nature of their parents. Highly successful ideas will spawn popular adaptations, but sadly, many of these adaptations fall short of the nobility and magic of their heritage. But to neglect even these mutated offspring can deny someone the possible joy of seeing the General Lee fly across the big screen, smashing things up as the Hulk on their video game console or flipping through the printed schematics of the Starship Enterprise.

See what can become of these ideas when we, as a community, work to keep them alive? Sure, the responsibility might be too much for some people, but others will care too much for an idea to let it be abandoned… to let it die. They’ll see it through the accusations, critics, death threats, lawsuits and even bankruptcy knowing they’ve fought the good fight for an idea’s survival.

But what can you do to help? With a donation of as little as 100 words a day, you can sponsor an idea and give it a fighting chance to stay alive long enough to eventually see its dreams become reality. Just this small amount will provide ideas with the nourishment they need to carry on. Please, help keep an idea alive.

This has been a public service announcement paid for in part by the Society for the Prevention of Carelessness with Ideas, the National Idea Registry, and the Foundation for the Betterment of Hollywood Lawyers’ Bank Accounts. Samples cited have no foundation in reality and were presented to provide subliminally assumed associations with big names and franchises. In some cases, this service has been known to cause headaches, nausea, deterioration of social status, and sudden loss of financial assets.

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