A New Thing – #InspirationFriday: Engagement

I know there are a million websites, books, magazines, and other visuals that provide inspiration so I’m not trying to replace anything. What I do think there is a lack of is how things work – or more importantly how we can translate these items into our own work.

The main goal of inspiration is to kickstart our imagination into developing a new spin on our intended task. But without failure we get lost into seeing an item work, that we don’t get to understand why.

So every Friday, or as often as we can, we’ll have a new inspiration post that will dissect some of the techniques we can translate into our works.

Some of the featured items will be well know, others will be independent works, while others will be redesigns that are not actually real world examples but why their version helps their intentions.

Also we’ll try to range the products from imagery, to video, and other mediums – but we’ll see how we go!

So to start it off, is a controversial viral video titled, “eTalks – The Secrets of Food Marketing”, however, as our click bait viral marketing goes the naming of this video around the web was more suited to, “No One Applauds This Woman Because They’re Too Creeped Out At Themselves To Put Their Hands Together”.

So what makes this video an inspiration – especially as a first case study? Essentially there are a few factors that makes this quite effective.

Firstly, we have a well spoken, and developed actress. Do the audience members know she’s acting? No. But without a doubt she is playing on the persona of many of the great speakers that we know – Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, any of the TED Talks presenters, the Microsoft presenters. Oh and Kevin Spacey.

Next we see that she’s easing in the audience. Studies show that making a person laugh eases that person’s tension and makes them more geared toward liking you. We’ve all experienced it, that we can go from the unknown person in the room to instant superstar if we can make a person laugh. We do it to our comics as well. When we see them in films we expect a certain level of amusement and comedy from them, and when you see that they are playing that expected role you don’t have to understand a new persona of them.

So the video goes on, and the speaker explains the video progressing through the slides. I’m not going to explain every detail because that’d be too arbitrary, but I will jump to the concluding feeling you have as a viewer. You are shocked, in disbelief, and taken off guard. Here is someone who has invited you into industry secrets, revealed some facts and techniques that verify her as a certified person, and then slaps you hard across the face.

And it’s a very clever viral video. The length is long enough to get you to watch it and have a breadth of information, but not too long to make you feel like it’s a chore to watch.

But what I find the most inspiring part of this video is the presenter. As I commented on my first remark, the speaker is well spoke, and playing on that knowledgeable persona. She’s confident, and makes you believe every word up until the turning point. Yet after you do realise that you are getting played as a viewer what makes you continue watching the remaining three quarters of the video?

Surely, shock factor has a massive part to play, and the pre-established engagement makes you feel that she is a reliable source to get your information from. And the video gets you to continue watching.

But I’d argue, as i’ve probably alluded to now, is the fact that the presenter is engaging.

This is where I think this is excellent inspiration. As filmmakers, designers, editors, creatives we have to be engaging. When we alloy for jobs in a crew, when we are sourcing out people to joining our crew, when you are pitching your idea to a studio, or pitching for funding you have to be engaging.

Again I wouldn’t limit myself to just this as inspiration, but take this example to watch some of the Apple conferences, or E3 announcement presentations. Subscribe to Ted Talks podcasts, or subscribe to their YouTube channel. But I think one of the most fundamental characteristics when you are aiming to work in the creative industry is to be engaging. It can be your storytelling, or it can be just that person that makes people want to work with you.

The only deals you’ll ever cut these days are if you go through the tedious pathways of the studio system or if people are willing to take a chance on you from your charisma. So lighten up and become a people person, and really engage people with what you have to say otherwise you may as well write it on a post it note and drop it off a building in hope someone will pick it up and track you down.