On Creativity and Solved Domain Problems


Firstly, just by way of some background to the scientific study of creative in both the sciences and arts (since 1950), please see (or, skim):

StoryAlity #71On Consilience in the Arts / Humanities / Communication (for a list of key works, referenced)

and please see

StoryAlity #14C – Two Crucial American Psychological Association speeches: J P Guilford (1950) and D T Campbell (1975).

And here is a list of lists – of Unsolved Domain Problems.

Here concludeth the Preamble

Now – to the crux of the matter.

In the domain of Biology for example, Darwin solved the problem of evolution. (see: Csikszentmihalyi 1996, pp 97-98)

Charles Darwin (age 33) and his son William (n...

Charles Darwin, and son William

Charles Darwin’s first sketch of an evolutionary tree. (Note the “I think” at the top.)

Meanwhile, in the domain of physics, Einstein solved the problem of special (1905) and general relativity (1916).

Einstein after winning the Nobel Prize in 1921.

(Asked how he felt about it, Einstein replied “Meh – it’s all relative.”)

In the domain of Lighting, Edison (with help from Nikola Tesla) solved the problem of an affordable mass-market light bulb.

Thomas Edison and his first (unsuccessful) prototype of the “wind-up” light bulb.’

In the domain of Transport, Henry Ford solved the problem of an affordable mass-market motor vehicle.

Mr and Mrs Henry Ford in his first car. This was also the same date in history the first parking ticket was invented.

Csikszentmihalyi notes that:

`…the creative process is less linear than recursive.  How many iterations it goes through, how many loops are involved, how many insights are needed, depends on the depth and breadth of the issues dealt with. Sometimes incubation lasts for years; sometimes it takes a few hours.

Sometimes the creative idea includes one deep insight and innumerable small ones. In some cases, as with Darwin’s formulation of the theory of evolution, the basic insight may appear slowly, in separate disconnected flashes that take years to coalesce into a coherent idea. By the time Darwin understood what his theory implied, it was hardly an insight any longer, because all its components had emerged in his thought at different times in the past and had slowly connected up with one another along the way.

It was a thunderous “Aha!” built up over a lifetime, made up of a chorus of little “Eurekas.”’

(Csikszentmihalyi 1996, pp. 80-1)

Unsolved Domain Problems in: Various Domains.

See: Lists of Unsolved Domain Problems

A (previously) Unsolved Domain Problem in: All Culture.

Since The Selfish Gene, (Dawkins 1976), nobody seems to have solved the problem of “What is the unit of culture?” (aka, the meme'). Also, "What is the narreme, or unit of story?”

But, I think this book chapter solves those problems…?

StoryAlity #132The holon/parton structure of the Meme, the unit of culture (and narreme, or unit of story).


Some Unsolved Domain Problems in: Film / Screenwriting

Unsolved Domain Problems in Film/Screenwriting *

It is my own view (JT Velikovsky) that: In the domain of feature films, a key problem many screenwriters/filmmakers encounter is that, on average, 7 in 10 feature films lose money. (Vogel 2011: 71)

7 in 10 feature films lose money

Problem: 7 in 10 feature films lose money

Another key problem is that: only 2% of screenplays submitted to film (economic) capital controllers are produced. (Macdonald 2004: 190). This is also a problem for film financiers, as it means that 98% of screen ideas they spend time reviewing are rejected; given 98% waste, this is arguably not an efficient system.

This is also a problem for film financiers, as it means that 98% of screen ideas they spend time reviewing are rejected; given 98% waste, this is arguably not an efficient system.

Only 2% of screen ideas/screenplays are produced

Problem: Only 2% of screen ideas/screenplays submitted are produced

We shall return to these 2 x Unsolved Domain Problems in Film/Screenwriting soon-ish. – I believe they can be solved. (My PhD thesis is focussed on this problem.)

Also: see, StoryAlity #115The `Less-Than-1%’ Problem in the Domain of Film

Meantime, your opinion matters to us, so: What do you see as the #1 domain problem in Film/Screenwriting?

(If you like, there is a survey you can take on this, here: https://storyality.wordpress.com/surveys/)

Key Domain Problems in Film/Screenwriting – A Field Survey (Survey #2) 


At any rate here is the Index to this PhD research weblog, a blog which examines various aspects of this problem, and possible solutions.

…Thoughts? Feedback? Comments?


JT Velikovsky

High-RoI Story/Screenplay/Movie and Transmedia Researcher

The above is (mostly) an adapted excerpt, from my doctoral thesis: “Communication, Creativity and Consilience in Cinema”. It is presented here for the benefit of fellow screenwriting, filmmaking and creativity researchers. For more, see https://aftrs.academia.edu/JTVelikovsky

JT Velikovsky is also a produced feature film screenwriter and million-selling transmedia writer-director-producer. He has been a professional story analyst for major film studios, film funding organizations, and for the national writer’s guild. For more see: http://on-writering.blogspot.com/


(Well – this is an unsolved domain problem in screenwriting as of this writing at: the Year 2012, maybe this will all change in 2013, or subsequently). In fact, if you are a screenwriting student or academic, please see this list – and, by all means, please add to it if you can:

StoryAlity #117Velikovsky’s 40 Domain Problems in Screenwriting (or: “Consilient PhDs I’d Like To See


Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1996), Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention (1st edn.; New York: HarperCollins) viii, 456 p.

Macdonald, Ian W. (2004), ‘The Presentation of the Screen Idea in Narrative Film-making’ PhD thesis, (Leeds Metropolitan University).

Vogel, HL (2011), Entertainment Industry Economics: A Guide For Financial Analysis (8th edn.; New York: Cambridge University Press) xxii, 655 p.

20 thoughts on “StoryAlity #13 – Creativity and Solved Domain Problems

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