Recently I heard about a friend of a friend of a friend who loves television but doesn’t like movies. That struck me as odd, but I can see it. It gives you more time to get acquainted with characters and watch them grow. It allows more opportunities to develop complex and engaging story lines and build the world. These things are not only appealing to the viewer, but from a creative standpoint I can see the draw for writers and actors as well.
As I heard more about this person, though, I was left with the impression that the preference likely had more to do with attention span than creative choices. A 2-hour movie is a a serious commitment in our culture today. A TV show is, at most, half that. If you skip the commercials, an hour-long show is only about 45 minutes; a half-hour show stripped of ads is only 22. Factor in that most shows are paced in 7-minute blocks (the time between the commercials) and the attention span grows even shorter.
When I announced that I was quitting social media, a number of people told me point blank that they would not follow me into this blog-and-email-only scheme. I am interesting enough to follow and chat with when they can simply trip over me in a news feed and the updates aren’t too long, but I’m not interesting enough to expend some effort for. I’m okay with that. It’s not a personal slight. Their needs as content consumers are not the same as my needs as a content creator.
Audience is important, but in the end your needs as a creator have to win out. If your current audience prefers TV shows and you want to write movies, you simply have to find a new audience. There is, after all, still a demand for movies in spite of the 7-minute TV-trained attention span. If you can’t express something in a meaningful way in 140 character social media update, use 500 words in a blog post, or 50,000 words in a book, as much it takes to expand upon the idea and tell the story to your satisfaction.
For the folks that stick around, I do hope that you find as much pleasure in the format and venue change as I do.
Video of the Week
For all my Dire Paladins, fellow pulp fans and Big Trouble in Little China fanatics:
This Week’s Blog Posts:
- Official Series Bible: Suggested Systems
- Can’t Keep Up? 5 Reasons to Quit Social Media
- GTD + Evernote = The Secret Weapon
- 43 Folders, Evernote, and the Secret Weapon
- 1st Edition AD&D Reprints? I’ll Pass, Thanks
- Creative DON’T: Do Things Because Other People Want You To
Books I’ve Read This Week
- I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had, Tony Danza
- America Again, Stephen Colbert
- Citizen Marketers, Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba
- The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz
- The Walking Dead Volume 1, Robert Kirkman
Media I Consumed This Week
- Sherlock Holmes (the Robert Downey Jr. version, finally)
- The Walking Dead, Season 2
- The Royal Tenenbaums (for about the hundredth time, one of my favorite movies)