WARNING: DON’T WATCH THIS CLIP IF YOU HATE SCARY MOVIES! Okay, so my son and daughter both go to the movies to see what should be just another horror movie. I am a reluctant fan of anything that causes extreme emotional distress (that’s why I became a mother :), but this one I will pass on. Thank goodness for impulsive decisions. Both my son and daughter are horror movie veterans so I expect the usual response – but I don’t get it. What I get is a detailed explanation of a horrifying experience. Here’s how the movie became more than a movie:
1. To even get it to your town, you had to place votes on the web. Six-hundred votes got it to your local theater. One million votes got a nation-wide release.
Point: This means people didn’t just go see a movie, they made it happen in their town or city. They became a part of the “paranormal experience.”
2. Word-of-mouth spread quickly, and a trailer showed the audience’s reaction (brilliant move). The trailer above promises a horrifying experience that will imprint images on the brain forever. My son and daughter would both verify that the hype was true. They’ll never forget it.
Point: Think about it – everyone showed up at a theater ready to be horrified. Ready to scream. Ready to have fun with a packed theater audience. It’s like being at camp and knowing that it’s ghost story night. The campfire is burning, everyone sits around the fire in the dark and is scared before the story begins. I mean how many “hook” stories did I hear as a kid? The hook scraping the top of a car, hanging off a door, stuck to a tree. And yet every hook hooked me because of the experience.
3. The director did not put credits on the film, and used the actual names of the actors as the names of the characters. It was filmed in the director’s actual home. No “scary” music was used.
Point: This blurred the line between fantasy and reality. Like “The Blair Witch Project,” audiences felt this might have really happened to somebody, somewhere.
I won’t give away the horrifying scenes described to me, but the special effects were minimial (the entire movie was made for $11,000 – I’ve spent more on purses in my lifetime). The story felt real. The audience was prepared to be scared. The energy in the theater palpable. You know what? This is what creates experience whether it’s a corporate event or a horror movie. You have to:
1. Enroll people.
2. Get them talking and anticipating change.
3. Create an unforgettable story that is real and applicable to their lives.
By the way, my kids think they’re getting me to that movie. That’s not reality. It’s not going to happen. I hope.