Is Your Website the Next Avatar?

Much was made of the epic fight for the Best Picture Oscar this year, which was essentially duked out between James Cameron’s Avatar, and Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. The films couldn’t be more different. Avatar is a technical tour de force set in a digital fantasyland. The Hurt Locker is a taut, suspenseful drama set in an all-too-real war zone.

Both directors succeeded in realizing their creative visions. But what different visions they were. Cameron’s required a $237 million budget; Bigelow’s required a comparatively miniscule $11 million.

Why the enormous difference in the price tag? Avatar hinged on revolutionary technical innovation, which understandably cost megabucks. Bigelow’s movie soared to success with a fantastic screenplay, great performances, and the gritty realism of an on-location shoot. She could afford to see her vision through on the cheap. (Only in Hollywood is $11 million “cheap”!)

If you’re thinking about launching or enhancing a website, think about where you fall on the Cameron/Bigelow spectrum. Before you start asking agencies how much it will cost, give some thought to your business goals and objectives. They may indeed require a Cameron-esque level of technical fireworks. And that’s fine. Just make sure you’re ready to spend the budget to pull it off.

If you have to work within stricter budgetary constraints, that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all. In fact, a smaller budget can actually bring focus to your project. You make the hard decisions because you have to. You may have to do away with some of the bells and whistles on your wish list, but you may find out that they weren’t essential in the first place.

The point is, saying “Make me a website,” is like saying “Make me a movie.” You’ve got to know what kind of film you want to watch before you start shooting.

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