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Who "owns" the story: creator or audience?


MetalSkulkBane
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MetalSkulkBane

Context: In this review of "Luca" I learned that a lot of people interpreted Luca and Alberto as having gay crush on each other. And director of the movie denied this, seemingly trying to stop people from interpreting movie this way. That movie is about friendship, that per-pubecent kids don't do romance, yada yada.

Just to be clear. I don't want to talk about whenever he was right to do so. 1) CellSpex said everything that is to be said, 2) My recent topic about kid ships was blocked, so I guess it's touchy subject for some weird reason.

What I want to discuss is how much Creator has control over his own work. Physically speaking, it's impossible for Writer to force opinions on people. But does he have a... idk 'spiritual' right to say "Your opinion is wrong?" Stories aren't math, they can't be objectively calculated. But still, shouldn't author know best what his own creation represents?

(For argument sake let's pretend 'Creator' is a single person, not director, writer, animator, editor, voice actor and so much more)

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When a story becomes public you kind of turn it over to the audience. You can use the weight of your own word to influence how people interpret it but ultimately what that majority thinks is what will decide how your story will be remembered.


That being said, I don't think a queer reading of Luca as that common outside of the internet. The director has stated that he welcomes alternate readings of the film too, so this OP comes off as a tad disingenuous.


 

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Although I identify with the pronouns he / him and I am a straight man, the themes of diversity, acceptance and inclusion in our film are dear to my heart!

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We were aware making the movie that this was a wonderful journey of owning your own identity, and coming out with it – whichever that identity is. I thought that everyone would bring their own identity to it.”


The movie is a catch all metaphor for feeling "different" in his own words and can be read in a variety of ways. Disney films are meant to cast a large net with their metaphors for the widest possible appeal, so I doubt that they're losing sleep over this.

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CrownSlayer’s Shadow

Unless done for a company, it belongs the creator. No if, ands, or buts about it.

If I were to work for Disney and make a story published and distributed under their banner, Disney owns my work.

If I go indie and produce the work myself and distribute it for all to see, the work entirely belongs to me as the author.


The audience can purchase, judge, and critique the work if they show interest, but they sure as hell don’t get to own it or dictate how it should work based on their own personal whims. That said, the fact that the creator has an audience means they need to be aware of perception—not sure if it fits the context, but you don’t get to make a character making blatant discriminatory slurs, for example, and then claim they’re not being bigoted when people call that out. The only reason the audience has influence is because they’re spending their hard earned money to support you into making more, as they enjoy what you produce—but they can stop that at any time they please, hurting your pockets.

Of course, it’s not that one-sided, as that doesn’t excuse audiences from being asshats, but that’s to say the audience is there to enjoy the experience—the creator of a work does not have to cater to an audience making demands of the work. And there’s good reason for that given how people can sue or try to take credit of an idea in a work. And then there’s cases where the work changes hands, and the new person in charge has less understanding of the story than the audience does.

But to simplify, the audience never owns the brand, trademark, or copyrights.

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I'd say the creator's word is gospel generally speaking, even if that can lead to some unpleasantness sometimes (two worlds in Sonic, anyone?).  The audience owns their experience and interpretation of it, but the creator still has every right to say "yeah that really wasn't what I was going for", make their audience aware that the alternate interpretation is pure fanon. All the same though, if the creator actively tells people they are not allowed to interpret it a different way and their interpretation is bad/stupid then they're just being kind of an ass.  Still technically their right, but real bad form.  The original work is owned by the creator, but the creator has absolutely no authority over the audience's personal experience of the work.

And if the creator can't handle that fact with dignity, they have to weigh up the risk vs reward of putting their work out into the world to be consumed by others.

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CrownSlayer’s Shadow

Put another way, it’s like owning a car:

I, the creator/author, own the car under my name. The audience can sit in the passenger seat and enjoy the ride or not, but they don’t own the car. And if I crash it, that’s my fault.

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Well given the entertainment industry is mostly about artistic expression, the audience having different interpretations than what the author intended is pretty much inevitable.  As mentioned, the second you put your work out to be consumed, you've more or less forfeited the right to have the final say on what people can or can't think about it. 

So...depends on how the creators react; some creators encourage fans to have their own interpretations and draw their own conclusions about their work, while others kind of dissuade that, particularly when said interpretation runs counter to what message or theme the author was trying to convey. 

 

A lot of fans would say that the creator shouldn't have any influence on how the work in interpreted, after all, who has any right to judge how they think right? And that is true...to an extent. There are instances where a creator would try to get some message across that just goes over everyone's head, and if you're a creator, there's nothing worse than being misunderstood and that can breed some annoyance. Particularly if your work becomes more well know under that misunderstanding and what's everyone immediately thinks of. 

 

So....eh, case by case basis. 

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Rabbitearsblog

I would say that the creator owns the story since they are the ones who created the story in the first place.  However, once they show their work to the public, then they should expect the audience to sometimes have a different reaction to how their stories go.  Like for example, if I wrote a story and I had a specific message for the work in the mind and I decided to showcase my work to the general audience, then the audience might have a different reaction to my work.  Even if I told the audience straight up what kind of message I'm trying to push, they will still look at my work in a different light because some of them don't have the same mindset that I do in regards to how I'm writing the book.  The creator may own the story, but expect the audience to have a different viewpoint on your works once you release it to the public.

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