Do you have an idea that people think won’t work? Maybe it is like Charlie Brown’s little Christmas tree and others just don’t have the vision you do. Kinda what like Charles Schulz was up against…
A Charlie Brown Christmas may be one of the most acclaimed and popular Christmas specials shown each year. It won both an Emmy and Peabody awards despite being written and produced in just six months. Its soundtrack sold millions of copies, and the show has been adapted for the theater. It has been shown annually for over fifty years.
And almost everyone thought it was going to be a disaster.
Watching A Charlie Brown Christmas now is a tradition but the show is anything but traditional. When you deconstruct the show into parts, think about what it had going against conventional wisdom and accepted practice:
- It was a children’s holiday special with a jazz soundtrack.
- The producers hired child actors to fill the roles.
- The pace is unconventional.
- It has no laugh track, an almost universal production element at the time.
- The story of the birth of Jesus is recited by Linus at the climax of the show, and many involved in the production thought the religious element would be controversial. The producers were worried that the religious theme would turn people off. Charles Schulz was adamant that the show would focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
So what happened?
Just days before it aired, the producers thought they had a disaster on their hands. The network executives agreed. But…
One of the animators predicted it was the best special he’d ever work on. A TV critic who viewed it before it aired praised it. And when it aired, it was number two in the ratings and it received critical acclaim. It is now a staple every December.
Almost everyone thought it would fail. They were wrong.
Schulz was determined to tell the true meaning of Christmas in his special, and he stuck to his guns. Lee Mendelson kept the unorthodox mix of traditional Christmas music and jazz. The animators knew they had created something special.
Despite the opinions of everyone else, Schulz, Mendelson, and crew stuck to their convictions. They did something unconventional and created what has become a beloved special with success no one imagined. And millions of people are glad they did. The show itself was an unlikely a success as Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree selection.
What are you not doing because someone has told you “it won’t work”? What unconventional idea do you have that you are not pursuing? What risk are you not taking because others can’t see your vision? Take a page from the creative forces behind A Charlie Brown Christmas and do the unconventional anyway. Follow your dreams and bring your vision to life. Pick that little tree no one else wants, give it your attention, and see what happens.
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