DO you ever worry about accidental plagerism? There are common threads thoughts, trends, and themes, in TG captions and a lot of people surf same or similar sites for inspiration and pictures... I always worry that I'm going to create something not like
Well, Joseph Campbell talks about a “monomyth” in his seminal book, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” where story archetypes follow certain patterns. There are only a finite number of plots to go around, most people suggest seven (person vs. nature, person vs. person, person vs. the environment, person vs. machines/technology, person vs. the supernatural, person vs. self, and person vs. god/religion) while some would suggest only one, which is a person against conflict. Most stories/movies, etc .. mix and match as needed.
Everything is going to be recycled. Just watching a sitcom will make you aware of that. I’ve mentioned before that I could predict my daughter’s Disney Channel shows with such a degree of accuracy, she wanted me to stop watching them with her. Bewitched is a perfect example of a formulaic show .. Darren has some sort of presentation, insults Endora who puts a spell on him, he struggles with it, then Samantha saves the day by incorporating the issue that Darren has, and they make the sale, with the drunk boss happy once again … never mind that Samantha seems to be the only one keeping McMahon and Tate alive in a business and creative sense.
I am more concerned with switching up enough in my captions where people won’t be able to predict what I am up to next. That goes for both the actual caption AND the sequence of captions I make. If I make a silly one, do I follow it up with another silly one, or a sultry caption instead? If I make a sweet caption, do I then get sadistic and dominating for the next three that I create?
Pictures are a bit more problematic, though with Google image search, there are lots more photos to sift through now. A number of years ago, it was difficult to aggregate pictures by what you were looking for, so people tended to all fish from the same few sites, which could lead to redundant images. There are a few shots for me that are iconic, in that I’ve seen them used at LEAST three times in captions (I believe I’m the first to use the picture up above in March of 2009, and seen it used at least twice since.) I’ve even been reluctant to use famous pornography actresses / website stars because they could pull someone out of the story in seeing them. However, even using the same pictures can lead to hugely different captions, as seen in my experiment a month or two ago with five captions all using the same image and background.
I guess the whole point of plagiarism is knowingly copying someone else’s work. I guess there are degrees in what people would consider copying. Picasso is quoted as saying, “Bad Artists copy, Good Artists steal.” I think that Caitlyn is a great captioneer, and once, I saw something she created and I said, “Wow, it is a lot like a caption I made,” but after reading it, there was a unique spin on it. Whether she had read my original or not, there was a different overview to it that attacked the plot from a different perspective. In fact, she probably hadn’t read my caption, but came to the same realization that I had when I made mine. When Nirvana stole (and pretty much admitted to doing so) “More Than a Feeling” from Boston for "Smells Like Teen Spirit," they spun it into something totally removed from the original. They used the chords as a starting ground and expanded it to a different entity of its own.
What I do have a problem with is when someone lifts paragraphs straight from someone else’s work and does nothing with it. It can be glaring, especially when they are using source material that is quite distinctive. I know one captioner that straight up pilfered a picture from a caption that Petra made. How do I know? It was a trade caption made for me that had the “Playin Petra” tag she used to use at the bottom of the picture. That is just bad form!
I wouldn’t worry too much if you aren’t cut and pasting your captions from other people’s works. Since it seems like your question was cut off due to Formspring having that 140 character limit, I’m not sure where your question was heading. Feel free to PM me at Rachel’s Haven or post the full question in multiple boxes on Formspring if I haven’t fully covered what you wanted to talk about. Lastly, you could also post in the comment section.
DISCUSSION QUESTION: How do you go about making sure you aren’t copying someone else’s work when making a caption? As a reader, do you care if you are reading something that has been plagiarized? Since I mentioned both Campbell and Picasso in this post, how many dick and fart jokes do I have to add in the next post to balance the blogs intellectual factor?