I flew out of Wellington late last week and – as the aircraft climbed into a flawless sky – caught a glimpse of Peter Jackson’s studios, with outdoor green screen, then of The Hobbit set perched atop Mount Crawford.
Shooting was wrapping up that day on the last pick-ups for the third movie. Ending, for Jackson, a fourteen year odyssey into J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantastic world that began in October 1999 with the first shooting day on The Lord Of The Rings.
In the process he planted Wellington, New Zealand, firmly on the movie-making map. Today we’ve got major Hollywood blockbusters under way in the capital – and top directors like James Cameron in residence.
It got me thinking. I was introduced to The Hobbit aged 8. It’s a timeless story. I re-read it recently, before I saw the movie – and it’s still got it. My nephew, now aged 8, is a fan and just loves watching the movies. It’s a story for all ages.
A story that, truth be told, Tolkien wrote not for the world, but for his own kids. And in creating something personal, something immediate for those he knew, he created something profoundly iconic – something that speaks to people of all ages, that spans the generations. In a way, it is a product of its time; his writing is firmly 1930s in many respects. But we don’t care.
That makes me wonder. Who do writers write for – and how far do they get when writing for a specific audience, as opposed to a general one? What counts – commercial product or author satisfaction?
I have my own thoughts on the answers, and I’m sure you do too. I’d love to hear from you – let’s talk.
Copyright © Matthew Wight 2013