Getting the Word Out, Hollywood Style
You bore me when your message is delivered without any style. Consideration must always be given to the fun factor in every message. What is going to make hearing this message enjoyable for the audience? Entertainment is that which appeals to the intellect by satisfying the emotions. Style is a combination of several elements:
- The communicator's passion, confidence, and voice of authority
- The use of humor (be careful of pandering)
- The clever way the message is framed using memorable phrases, parallel formulations, or power ideals
- The appropriate use of memorable analogies and metaphors
- The use of an emotion generating anecdote (to incite either pity or outrage)
You bore me when you get too detailed. There is an appropriate setting and form for very detailed communications. But generally, in most speeches and homilies, the hearers do not want to know everything that you do. They want to be assured that you know more about the matters at hand than they do, but they're not interested in having to do all the work that defines your job. One good example can do the trick. Long lists of reasons or facts quickly spin a message off into irrelevance.
You bore me when you don't leave me anything to do. Every communication is a dialogue. The speaker has a teaching role. The hearer has a translating role. Let the audience members do their part of the puzzle. Let them make applications and put two and two together. It is always a good idea to make your hearers have to reach up a bit and think.
Also, a good communication gives the hearers marching orders. If you have successfully summoned up the listener's passions, you will frustrate them if they don't know what to do with what you have told them. Always give the viewers something to do in a message.
Don't waste my time. You waste my time when you tell me something that isn't true. Every good message should convey some piece of information that is new and useful to the hearers. People put untruths in messages for generally three reasons:
They haven't done their homework.
They are vain and think they can wax brilliant on everything.
They are trying to propagandize.
People hate being played for fools. The trust of the hearers is a fragile and vital commodity. They want to take what you tell them and communicate it to their friends and family. If you give them something to hand on that comes back to bite them, they will never trust you again.
Read Barbara Nicolosi's popular past contributions to Patheos:
Barbara Nicolosi is a screenwriter with an M.A. in Cinema from Northwestern University. She is currently writing Fatima, Miracle and Message for Origin Entertainment. She is an adjunct professor of cinema in the Seaver Graduate School at Pepperdine University and lectures on cinema and screenwriting at universities and conferences around the world.
Barbara was the Founding Director, and is now the Chair, Emeritus of the acclaimed Act One Program in Hollywood, CA. She is the co-editor of the 2006 Baker Books release Behind the Screen: Hollywood Insiders on Faith and Culture, and blogs at Church of the Masses.