Copying is not theft. If you follow this blog you already knew that, but there's a much more interesting concept that I have experienced many times and cannot explain: Creative Syncing.
Yes, I just invented the term, but it refers to the common phenomenon of two or more creative projects with very similar features being released at almost the same time. The duration of a film pre-production is long enough to discard, in most of the cases, that any copying had been involved.
One can find lots of examples in movies: Armageddon and Deep Impact, Antz and A Bug's Life, The others and The sixth sense... but there are many more in the short film market, also unknown projects that were not finally developed.
Here's my own case. After producing lots of short films in many different ways, I have only started preparing a feature once. I didn't write the full script, but there's notes and documents on how it would be. Even a producing company had access to them, but they refused the project. Basically, I wanted to go a step further in the mockumentary genre. The story had to happen during one day only: a wedding. The movie would be exclusively composed by the footage that the video crew would have filmed in the church, the reception, etc. And, of course, it had to have all those cheesy effects, filters, transitions and music that typical wedding videos have. It was a comedy, so many bails and accidents would have fitted there perfectly.
Some months later, I came to know that this was being produced:
Two basic differences: Even though I'm sure the directors have included some funny moments, the main mood is horror, not comedy. Also, at some point, they decide to switch from mockumentary to classical fiction, for the first time in the REC saga.
Of course, the details of the two plots would be completely different.
And here's the last coincidence. I'm currently working in a Sydney based video company as a cameraman and video editor. Guess what most of our projects are. Correct. Wedding videos.
Maybe, this whole Creative Syncing thing can be explained by the combination of: cultural background, generational references of the writers, a common way to read present events, analysis of what the audience want in a precise moment and, most of all, the human tendency to find coincidences and give them a meaning. Maybe.