Target Audience

I interrupt my busy schedule to bring you the most brilliant illustration of target audience I have ever seen.

First, though, a quick progress report on my iClone efforts. (Darn commercials, can’t get away from them anywhere.) I’ve successfully mastered the components of 3DS Max that will allow me to mesh unlimited custom clothing for iClone projects. However, the plug-ins provided by Reallusion for Primary Content Developers do not seem to work with my computer. It’s 64-bit, and apparently the plug-ins for G5 characters are designed for 32-bit systems. No other download options are offered. I’ve Googled until my eyes crossed and followed every tip I found on the Web about installing in this folder and that. No joy. The problem seems to be a particular DLE file that came with the plug-in. Maybe it’s corrupted? As of right now, I’m waiting on tech support from Reallusion. Will keep you posted.

Back to our (not so) regularly scheduled broadcast.

While most of my blog posts focus on either machinima or writing, each to the near exclusion of the other, this one is for everyone who ever tried to create a work product for public consumption. And it’s especially for those who’ve poured their heart into a novel, machinima, quilt, painting, photograph, or whatever, only to be met with a lukewarm response by people whose opinions are valued.

It’s our human nature to perceive this as rejection, to think if only we’d written better, filmed better, sewn better, painted better, then that person would be awed and gushing over the genius of our creation. This morning, Adriana Boettcher shared a story via Facebook that shoots gaping holes through that mental process.

At first I regarded the story with skepticism, as I do with all anecdotes circulating indiscriminately around the Web. However, after further investigation, I discovered this story is absolutely true. In 2007, a journalist at the Washington Post conducted an experiment that placed an internationally acclaimed violinist in a metro subway station, playing Bach on a 3.5 million dollar Stradivarius. Almost without exception, he was ignored (or barely acknowledged) by everyone passing through. Read the full story (and Hoax-Slayers’ take on it)  here:

Interesting note: the journalist responsible for this social experiment won the Pulitzer for it in 2008.

One possible conclusion of the experiment, as widely circulated in email and Facebook forwards, is: “If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?”

This is a little too abstract for me. A little too pie-in-the-sky. The way I see it, this is the best proof anyone could offer that we, as artists, must consider our audience. The subway station crowd was not Joshua Bell’s target audience, and despite the insanely expensive instrument and otherworldly talent, his best efforts went unappreciated. Does this indicate a flaw on the part of the audience? No. Does it mean Joshua Bell needed to revise his method and pick a different instrument, or play a different kind of music? No. At what he does, he is a master. But those subway folk, like me, would not pay $100 a seat to hear him play even if they knew exactly who he was. They were NOT HIS TARGET AUDIENCE.

Whether we are machinima directors, writers, painters, or world-renowned violinists, the same dynamic seems to apply to us all. Know your audience. Understand that not everyone will pause to appreciate your work even if you’re a master at creating it. It’s not our job to stop traffic or interrupt busy schedules. It’s our job to create beauty where others see only mundane, color where the landscape is black and white. And, as the following video demonstrates, those looking for our brand of artistry will recognize it no matter what the circumstance.

Watch to the end.


5 responses to “Target Audience

  1. Wow, this blot hit me right at the core. The musician video just confirmed it. Consider your audience is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard yet. Thanks.

  2. Brilliant post! So true. My writing appeals to some people, but not others and that’s okay with me. I have favorite books and movies that I can’t convince everyone I know to love as much as I do. Everyone has different tastes.

  3. The sense of this expreiment removes the writer’s angst. I’ll remember this and concentrate on the art of writing.

  4. This blog really helped me personally. This stayed with me the most: It’s our job to create beauty where others see only mundane, color where the landscape is black and white. And, …those looking for our brand of artistry will recognize it no matter what the circumstance.
    I believe our target audience is looking for us just as we are looking for them. Let’s just continue to be real artists.

  5. Absolutely, Odara. I think we, especially as writers, get so hung up in writing to catch the attention of an agent that we forget the actual readers themselves. I’ve certainly been guilty of that. That’s one thing I’ve enjoyed about machinima: it hasn’t been around long enough for industry “gatekeepers” to decide that if your workproduct doesn’t guarantee instant cash, then it isn’t fit for the current market.

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