Last night I watched the film Primer, an independent production that has garnered critical acclaim and awards including the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Without revealing too much of the science fiction themes, it is highly technical and captures the spirit of innovation.
The movie begins with four friends who are trying to invent new technologies in their spare time, using as little money as possible by cannibalizing appliances and ‘borrowing’ materials from their corporate day jobs. As they experiment in a garage, they finally create something of note.
This film does a wonderful job of catching that excitement, the discovery of something new and the promise of success. It is an intimate representation of a process that has occurred hundreds of times. Many innovations have come from two guys in a garage. Whether we are talking about Apple, Atari, or Microsoft.
Primer itself is such a success story. The writer/director Shane Carruth quit his corporate engineering career to become a writer. After a few years of fiction writing, he turned to film-making. Primer cost a mere $7000 and has become a cult hit. Carruth did much himself, playing one of the two leads, besides editing and scoring the movie.
Many can enjoy this film for its glimpse into that innovative world. Others can appreciate the improbably success of the tiny production. It is an example that if you try your hardest, and be creative, you can find success. It doesn’t matter how small you are, innovation is big.