You need to hear some things I’ve been hearing this week. I’ve been hanging with some crazy people. Authors, multi-millionaire entrepreneurs, movie moguls, you name it.
One of them, a gentleman by the name of Peter Guber, said something especially worth passing on. Now Peter Guber isn’t some random shmuck – he’s the former CEO and Chairman of Sony Pictures. He’s the current CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group and Dick Clark Productions. Also the co-owner of the LA Dodgers. And that’s just part of his background and what he’s into now.
Here’s what he said: “When it comes to relating to audiences, it’s not about state of the art technology, it’s state of the HEART technology.”
He also said that we are not in the fill-in-the-blank business, whatever you happen to be doing. “We are in the emotional transportation business.”
At the time, he was talking about business in general. But this is coming from a genuine Hollywood movie mogul, and it applies most directly to those of us who put our hands to the shaping of stories through sound, music, and moving pictures.
How easy is it to get caught up in all the crap of planning, shooting, and editing that we forget our primary directive?
Whether they know it or not, our audience is waving their arms at us, saying “Make me FEEL something,” exactly what we’ve been discussing in our Academy sessions here in LA. The audience wants an emotional experience from what we offer them. Not just a random “eh, that was sort of cool” or “I wonder if we have any beer left in the fridge” sort of experience.
Where I come from, in the TV editing world here in Los Angeles, there are all sorts of editing jobs where editors come in, put in a half-hearted “what does it matter, it’s all gonna suck at the end anyway” kind of effort to their work, and go home and complain about how meaningless their work is and how much people don’t appreciate them, and woe is me, somebody pour me a martini. Or a Diet Coke. Or something.
Make no mistake, I’ve been bummed out before in my editing. I’ve made my very best creative offers and had them flung back in my face. I’ve put in weeks of painstaking work on a project that gets peddled around to 6 other editors, each of which care less than the last person who touched the cut, and by the end nobody has ownership, and that poor piece has nobody left in its corner to fight for it.
I’ve been there, and it’s demoralizing. But my mission, and your mission, remains the same:
Make the audience feel something.
If the project is a genuine work of art, FANTASTIC. Make it everything it can be. If it’s not art, that’s no excuse. Make your audience emotionally identify with at least a moment of your piece, no matter how formulaic, bare bones or prosaic it may seem. And it doesn’t matter if you’re cutting it on the fanciest high-end editing rig or just swapping clips in your cell phone, the true art of what we do doesn’t lie in our tools, even if they are state of the art.
We’re here to shape and move our audience’s state of the heart.
Certainly, that’s easier said than done at times. If you’re wondering exactly how to make that happen, go here. If you like the idea of interacting with an international group of storytellers who are doing that exact thing, then join us here.
Because when you tell powerful stories that hit your audience right where they are, the impact of your storytelling will enter levels you never thought possible.