‘Dude, cheating is over!’
WHEN Hollywood superstar Will Smith is passionate about anything, whether it is his music, TV shows, movies or philanthropic support for eco-friendly bottled water Just Water, his foremost thought is the impact it will have on people.
Speaking yesterday in Cannes, Smith said any great work of art, media, entertainment or product requires great storytelling if you want other people to believe in it. And when other people believe in it, creative and commercial success will follow.
“Great artistry starts with the seed of an idea, but the reason why you’re doing it has to be the core of the story, especially if you want to connect with people,” he said.
And one way of ensuring he stays connected with people is to listen to his children.
“Having a household full of teenagers isn’t fantastic most of the time,” he said. “But in terms of staying relevant and creating something that is globally relevant, having teenagers in the house is really good.”
It was his son, the rapper and actor Jaden, and his fears about the litter of plastic bottles polluting the oceans that brought his attention to the international initiative Just Water, which is aiming to manufacture 100% renewable bottles.
Another reason for listening to his children has been to understand why authenticity is critical to creativity.
He recalled the day when he learned his eldest son Trey wanted to split from his girlfriend of 10 years because they wanted to see other people. Smith said he was totally confused because had he been the same age he would “just cheat”.
“My son replied: ‘Dude, cheating is over! Technology has killed cheating. Where can you go where someone doesn’t have a phone?’”
Smith continued: “Using smoke and mirrors in marketing is over. Today, 10 minutes into a movie, people would tweet to their friends, ‘It’s s***, don’t come’. What Trey said taught me you have to be truthful to fans.”