I am currently reading The Art of Immersion by Frank Rose, and I cannot recommend it highly enough for those into stories, games, and the internet. It has inspired me to write Googling Facebook, a blog novel.
However, what caught my attention most recently was the observation that
In too many cases--Star Wars being an obvious exception--the producers of a movie or a television show or a video game haven't plumbed their story deeply enough even to identify its message, much less whatever underlying myth it may embody. "So the message changes and the audience becomes frustrated," he [Jeff Gomez of Starlight Runner Entertainment] went on. "It's out job to figure that out. And to do that you have to crack the IP"--the intellectual property, the core of the story. "That means immersing ourselves in it and figuring out what makes it timeless and relevant. There's an aha! moment that's very specific to each property. It's the moment when I've found the true emotional connection."
Actually, this sounds like the job of the literary critic -- it ought to be the job of a literary critic. In theory, isn't that what literary theorists are supposed to be able to do? Someone who is well versed in traditional stories, particularly epics, ancient plays, and mythology -- that is, someone in tune with the species' deep knowledge and emotional connections -- would be able to do precisely the job descried above. I wonder if that has occurred to anyone. If it hasn't, places like Starlight Runner Entertainment are missing out on where the talent for what Gomez described really lies -- and literary theorists are missing out on a lucrative new opening in their field. Many, I am sure, would think it below them to work in such an industry, but many won't. I'm sure not one of them. What could be better than to have a great job doing what you love? Who cares if it's not in a university?