Finding Purpose: Where You See a Story

Posted: June 20, 2012 in journalism

If you’re old enough to remember the original premiere of Star Wars back in 1977 you’ll never forget that first shot.

First you hear it. Then the immense Imperial Battleship rumbles slowly across the entire screen. There in the darkness of a movie theatre, the film literally took my breath away. Big screen. Big sound. Big impact. Big wow factor.

Now compare that with seeing a copy of Star Wars on my I-phone. Sure it’s more intimate and portable but it’s something I “monitor”. I don’t experience it the same way. I may marvel at how such a huge image can fit in the palm of my hand but the enormity of that moment just isn’t that same. In the theatre there’s less to distract me but there’s little “wow” factor. Nice but nowhere near the same.

How and where we see a story affects its impact and how we engage the story narrative. Stars Wars was an epic. It’s a blockbuster. Those are big words. No content on my mobile will ever compare.

The medium has a direct impact on how the message is digested. Perhaps the novelty of the I-phone trumps all. Perhaps nothing will ever take the place of the movie theatre. And then again, perhaps it’s just too soon to tell. The medium of the miniature alters my perception of content. And there’s no way to replicate the sound from that first screening in 1977.

Maybe you disagree. Maybe you feel we’ve sacrificed nothing in the quest to personalize and in the process, minimize media. Maybe you feel we’re better off. May that force be with you. You’ll need it.

  1. You are so right. Blockbusters are dinosaurs. And not just because of the screen size, but because there are so many screens now, and so many ways to command our attention (distract us?) that the cultural monoculture has suffered a death star death blow. Nevertheless, we media folk have to get over it and get over ourselves. It’s not about sacrifice. It is about change. People will always look back – just look at Instagram. If you want to drive the conversation, though, you have to look ahead.

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