Most of us can remember the first time we felt goose bumps or experienced that transformation in your endorphins (or wherever those emotions live … sorry, haven’t seen Inside Out yet). I can vividly remember sitting in my hometown one-screen movie complex, “The R Theater,” for countless hours of spy movies, westerns, horror flicks and fantastic adventures. There was not a time when sitting in that dark womb that I wasn’t entertained or exhilarated or fascinated. But as I got older, I remember being in AWE when I saw films like Jaws or The Exorcist or Apocalypse Now or Fantasia – these movies were transformational and enthralling – and supported with recreational mind alteration, as I recall.
Those days led me on a quest to get that sense of enchantment and engagement on a regular interval – in fact, preferable for a career. It led me to live theatre and film/video production and live entertainment. The sensation of “being moved” by a performance, of amazement at the mastery of an audience or the ability to shape and mold my senses for those moments of being spellbound in the presence of captivating talent, had me hooked. The profoundly stimulating sensory emotions and remarkable realization of “out of body” experiences was a lifelong mission for me. I needed to understand how to get that immersion from the artist, the communicator, the performer, the screen, in my ears and washing over the audience. I wanted to be awed. And so do our clients. And their audiences.
Connecting the Dots
I know this yearning is a shared experience; that’s why millions of us consume sports, concerts and live performances. And it’s why any number of seemingly remarkable professionals deliver their art. We long to revel in that awe-inspiring satisfaction of “I was there.” We want to take part of the celebration, of the remarkable experience. We want to be absorbed in the pure joy of the act, fascinated and astonished at the beauty of the occasion … we want the AWE – the delight, the transformation in our reality … the bewitching of our senses.
I came across an interesting quote from one of today’s masters of popular entertainment – sorry Kanye – that perfectly summarizes the challenges and rewards of the power of awe:
“My generation was raised being able to flip channels if we got bored, and we read the last page of the book when we got impatient. We want to be caught off guard, delighted, left in awe. I hope the next generation’s artists will continue to think of inventive ways of keeping their audiences on their toes, as challenging as that might be.”
– Taylor Swift in the Wall Street Journal
I share Miss Swift’s goals for our own clients and their audiences – to delight them and amaze them and leave them wanting more. We want people to talk about what they experience and share it and spread the word … “I was just part of something AMAZING.” For me, that is what moves us forward … being part of the profoundly delightful, whether that is a motivational wholesalers meeting, a one-on-one consumer experience at NASCAR’s Midway or a shared moment among strangers in Times Square. I’m in awe of anyone who can make that happen – in a positive, hopeful and entertaining style. Long live joy!