It used to be okay to just make a lot of noise, because only the big projects with big money could afford to have a voice via television or radio advertising. With the rise of the Internet and social media though, now everybody has a voice. Anyone can be loud. In order to gain the attention of your audience now, you have to be better than loud.
You have to be unique.
You have to invite people into an experience.
As much as I love writing and blogging, my real job (if I can even call it that) is being an actor. The theatre is a perfect example of uniqueness and experience. Live theatre has been telling stories for thousands of years, dating all the way back to Ancient Greece. Today, even with the development of television, movies, and millions of other ways for audiences to take in stories, live theatre is still well attended all over the globe. Why? Because in live theatre you don’t just witness a story happening on the screen, you’re a part of it. There is audible laughter and applause, a give and take between actor and audience. You’re invited into the story that is happening right there, enacted by real people, and the performance you watch that night is unique to any other that will ever be viewed again.
Companies like Improv Everywhere have taken this to the next level. This group of pranksters travel around the country performing what they call “missions.” These missions are basically guerilla theatre, or surprise performance art. You may have seen them on YouTube doing the “Food Court Musical” or “No Pants Subway Ride.”
“An experience is something you find yourself in the middle of. You aren’t simply witnessing something—you’re a part of it.” – Charlie Todd (Founder of Improv Everywhere)
This is what makes Improv Everywhere so successful. They use their gifts as a team to create performances that are utterly unique and experiential. The performance literally happens all around you, and surprisingly, you find yourself in the middle of it. When it’s over, you want to know who these people are because you have to tell your friends about them. This has led to Improv Everywhere gaining a gigantic following.
Creating in today’s culture means so much more than just making noise or doing what people expect. Creativity means grabbing people’s attention by inviting them into a unique experience. In order to create something vital and ultimately get people’s attention, you must ask these two questions…
1) What makes me, my team, my project unique?
2) How do I/we give people an experience through our art?
Do this, and you might just create something special that people will want to follow.
Follow jon on Twitter @jonjorgenson