Getting a little emotional
Let’s face it. Likes, Shares, Pins, Tweets, Hearts, Views, Comments (and so on) are the holy grail of any video campaign. In fact, these responses have become so ingrained in our measure of success, that a film will often be judged on it’s ‘viral feedback’ above it’s quality, narrative or innovation.
This is a blog about emotion and how it’s often employed, overlooked or incorrectly used. Emotional arousal is one of the key reasons why we do anything. It’s why we often say unexpected things after high intensity exercise or sex, it’s why we tend to vent when we’re angry, or babble inanely when we are joyful.
Conversely, think about the last time you were depressed. Did you immediately rush off to tell someone you were depressed, or did it take time for people to coax information out of you or even get you out of bed and away from the pizza boxes, reruns of Red Dwarf and perpetually dark room. Errrrr…I digress.
With the explosion of viral marketing, huge research has taken place to analyse the effectiveness of emotion to promote not just sharing, but action. Video content is self-contained (most of the time) and the final seconds of any video are a vitally important tool for ‘telling’ your audience what to do next. However, this comes down to infinitely more than your ‘call-to-action’. The emotional (and contextual) prompts that an audience is given throughout a film are integral to how they respond, act or promote your content.
This isn’t to say that low-arousal emotions (depression, contentment, indifference) don’t have relevance to your film. They do. But it’s the lingering emotion that you leave your audience with, that will determine their next move. These feelings don’t need to be positive, we’ve all shared something on Facebook that made us feel angry or anxious. But they do need to be powerful, genuine and contextually relevant. That’s where things get more complicated.
A good filmmaker will draw on low and high-arousing emotions to manipulate the audience along an arc that ultimately ends with arousal (no, not that kind).
Understanding what emotion does isn’t complicated, but knowing the right way to harness it, is!
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