Connecting With An Audience is Hard Work
Connecting with an audience is preached about in the blogging world.
Just connect with your audience is advice given. I’ve probably been guilty of this phrase in the past.
Well, it’s not easy. Connecting with people can be hard work especially when you’re not interacting face-to-face. There is a barrier online. Some people seem to have an easier time connecting than others and there seems to be a unique quality that allows those certain people the ability to connect.
There was an interesting article and interview featuring director Sam Mendes recently in Fast Company that perhaps shed some light on what that quality of connecting with people might be.
Mendes cites John Edward Williams’ novel Butcher’s Crossing as inspiration for this idea. In it, a young man enters the Colorado Rockies to take buffalo hides. “He organizes a trip, kills the buffalo, and gets snowed into the valley for an entire winter,” Mendes recalls. “When he comes back, the world has moved on and no one wants buffalo hides.” Whereas the main idea in this book is the death of the Wild West, Skyfall gets the same general idea of changing times: As Bond returns, the Cold War is painfully over and cyberterrorism is at the forefront of fear. “I love the idea of throwing him completely off his axis and having him go from being the naughty boy that they have to chastise to being the old guy,” he says. “But by the end, he’s the wise one.”
That’s incredibly interesting and insightful to me. I bolded the part I want to focus on for emphasis.
What is Mendes doing with this focus for the new Bond movie?
He’s finding a common situation for the audience with which he wants to connect. That feeling or situation of suddenly waking up and realizing you’re the old guy out there. You realize there are new guys coming up and maybe you’ve lost a step. You have to change in order to have the same success you’ve had in the past. You’re no longer new. You’re no longer different.
It’s at this point where people have a choice in life. They can either start all over taking the knowledge they have and recreating themselves or they can kind of keep doing what they’re doing and slowly fade away until the day they die maybe seeing a resurgence at some point.
I think the reason people have connected with this story is because they want to reinvent themselves. The Bond fans out there have been going to see the British spy on the big screen for 50 years. These guys are probably in their 60s and 70s by now. When they first started seeing Bond they were young men.
Now, those men can relate to the situation of suddenly realizing they’re the old guys.
The old guy reinventing himself and succeeding is not a new play in storytelling. It’s been around forever and will continue to be a storyline in all forms of art including writing.
I think it’s one of the secrets of connecting with an audience. Reach them on a level that is emotional. People are smart. They realize what their situation is even when they don’t want to address the reality.
In this case the men in the theater realize they’re old, but they want to feel the thrill of finding new life before they die.
It’s an emotional connection and it’s something we all strive for in writing…including blogging.