Contentment Is A Slippery Slope Towards Complacency

(originally published in Screen Magazine 9/26/12)

I hate the word content. More specifically, I hate both the noun and adjective uses of the word content.

So as of today, I’m on a mission to remove this word from the creative industry’s vocabulary.

First, let’s talk about the adjective: content. As in “He doesn’t feel the need to be more creative, more innovative, or do anything differently. He’s content.”

Is there anyone out there who feels they have accomplished enough, learned all they can learn, and helped all those who could use some help? If so, please step aside and let the rest of us do our level best to kick ass and keep moving the industry forward. Please don’t misunderstand me. I highly recommend being happy and satisfied with your work. Just don’t be content. Contentment is a slippery slope towards complacency. Followed by mediocrity. Ending up at “average.” And as anyone who has worked in this industry for more than a week knows, “average” just doesn’t cut it.

Now then, let’s move on to the noun: content. I see and hear this word everyday. The client is looking for content for their website. We need more content that appeals to our social media audience, etc… I understand why everybody uses this word in the creative industry. It simplifies everything. But I think it oversimplifies. You might as well say we need corporate “stuff,” or “bland wallpaper,” or we need “un-interesting visual material to fill up some space.” In this industry we can’t allow ourselves to be content (the adjective) with mere content (the noun.)

Content (the noun) doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it has the potential to be fun, informative, innovative, and yes – even entertaining.

From here on out, I intend to use the word entertainment in place of the noun content. Doesn’t corporate entertainment sound better? Doesn’t it sound like the goal is to produce something more innovative, creative, and engaging?

So please help me with my mission to remove both “content” and “content” from the creative industry’s vocabulary. Together we can do this. I for one won’t be content – uh, make that happy/ecstatic/entertained, until we do.

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About Creative Arts Consulting

We develop marketing strategies, perform CFO services, offer strategic management advice, and build new revenue streams for owners and management who like to keep their focus on their clients and craft. Clients include: production and post-production companies, record labels, authors, recording artists, start-ups, etc. View all posts by Creative Arts Consulting

3 responses to “Contentment Is A Slippery Slope Towards Complacency

  • Mallie Hart

    I don’t think the word needs to be removed from our sphere. Per your own words, it’s just been generalized to death. Content does not stop and start with words. Content = ideas, imagery, brand ideals and more. Perhaps it is simply time to take the word back from the generalists and give it new purpose and life.

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