Getting a degree in acting takes a fair amount of guts and craziness – especially given the fact that I went to Baylor with the intent on getting a degree to get me ready for medical school. It’s one thing to act like a buffoon in a high school – it’s another thing to think you can give an Al Pacino or Toni Collette level performance or yuck it up like Steve Carrell or Christina Applegate and get paid for it. Who goes through years of training to put themselves in the midst of people judging you based on your ‘look,’ personality, marketability, ethnicity and talent? The ‘certifiable’ kind of person.
Crazy or not, once I made the decision to fully commit to getting a degree in acting, I dove in head first with my studies. Getting to know more about ‘how to act’ was (and still is) exhilarating. Like walking a tightrope, there’s something a little dangerous, exciting and surprising with each gig. Surprisingly enough, being able to relay that kind of thrill to an audience can be particularly difficult; but it’s something you ALWAYS want to accomplish. So, when you see someone execute this kind of thing on a Black Belt/Sensei level, it is truly amazing. This is why I am overwhelmed with awe whenever I see Denzel Washington’s performance on Training Day.
The first time I saw Training Day, I was (I kid you not) giddy with a flurry of emotions – jumping up and down like I got my first bike on Christmas morning. Not like this is news to anyone, but Denzel’s take on Detective Alonso Harris in this film is picture perfect. From the moment you see Alonso, you are immediately taken in with his strength, power and wolf-like charm, while, at the same time, completely afraid of what he can and will do.
And even though we may never achieve the Sensei-like status as Denzel Washington, this is the kind of energy and adventure that we want to achieve with all of our clients. We want each effort to have a sense of
- Danger – Even if you have a ‘slow build’ to a particular campaign, why not swing for the bleachers? You want your team to feel as if they’re on a mission – and you can’t really have a mission without establishing some sort of ‘unachievable’ goal. Additionally, the more ‘dangerous’ the task, the tighter your group gets cause it’s all hands on deck.
- Excitement – People get taken in when they see something that excites them. Think about the time when the Simpsons movie came out when they partnered up with 7-11 or when the newest iPhone was released. These efforts worked well partly because they were personal, immediate and engaging. When you tap into something like that, it creates conversations and makes fast friends.
- Surprise – I recall seeing Perry Ferrell of Jane’s Addiction one time say that one of the biggest things that they strive for in their music is to achieve some sort of surprise. In a communications effort, you can do this by really stretching your team to mine the ways your audience can make these flashes of discovery. It makes sense because those little moments when the rug is pulled out from under you create memories. Memories that are altogether intimate.
Like Denzel’s performance in Training Day, what are you doing these days to create a sense of danger in your communications efforts? When was the last time you were truly excited about your marketing campaign? When was the last time you felt like King Kong in your gig?