Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Brad Bird and the Shared Experience at the Heart of Movie Magic

Readers of the Social Business Insights blog already know the power of sharing. Sharing information leads to efficiency; sharing expertise unlocks innovation; sharing data yields insights. In his TED@IBM talk “Dreaming Loves Company: Tomorrow’s Cinema,” Academy Award-winning writer and director Brad Bird explained how the shared experience lies at the heart of the magic of cinema. He was preaching to the choir as far as I, an avid movie-goer, was concerned, but it was fascinating to hear an expert articulate what’s so unique and captivating about seeing a movie on the silver screen, especially when the theater gets it right.

Take Star Wars, for instance. When Bird saw the original on opening day and Darth Vader came on the screen, the entire audience hissed, as if some “dormant villain-hating DNA … had been suddenly awakened” in them.

image I had a similar experience during Star Wars Episode II: when Yoda battled Count Dooku and started flying all over the place like a hyper two-year-old on a sugar binge, the crowd went completely nuts. It was a moment of shared exhilaration and joy that is impossible to re-create in a living room. It remains one of my all-time favorite movie-going memories. So somewhat paradoxically, when you have a great, enthusiastic crowd with the members feeding off each other’s energy, it can make the moment more personal.

This is true of any special moment we share with a community, even online, but it is difficult if not impossible to simulate the energy of a live audience in a virtual setting. And movies differ from sports (for example) in the expectations of the audience. As Bird said, "a movie audience enters a theater agreeing to surrender control to the storyteller. It’s a group dream, shared with a ‘one time only’ mix of strangers. Collectively, a single audience has thousands of years of hopes, dreams, hurts, experiences ... a gold mine of emotions waiting to collide in the dark.”

During his riveting talk, Bird had much more to say about what makes the cinema experience magical and how theaters have lost their way. I still love going to the movies at modern theaters, with all their flaws, but Bird’s talk left me with the hope that more establishments will follow the lead of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and others, and put in the effort to create experiences that are worth leaving the house to share with strangers.

from Social Business Insights Blog http://ift.tt/1qnXGNQ


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