FEEL-GOOD ENDINGS, FEEL-GOOD BEGINNINGS

There is literally nothing that drives us more than film’s ability to -in the end- make you feel good. That’s why we love the medium and that’s why we love our work: a feel-good ending is just such a powerful thing! But with great power comes great responsibility. And in this post, I’d like to tell you how we vow to take our responsibility, in the form of three resolutions for 2023.

1. Every corporate film that can, should end on a feel-good note.

Meaning -importantly!- that the viewer should feel good after seeing the film. That’s different than just the company showing the film feeling good about itself, after seeing the film. You won’t believe how easily this difference is overlooked. On the one hand, considering how much harder the former is to pull off, it is understandable one would ignore the difference. To us, on the other hand, it’s very much worth being extremely strict about that difference, because A) it challenges us to become better filmmakers B) it gives us purpose, namely: “to make audiences feel good” and C) it increases the effectiveness of our films dramatically (pun intended), which in turn makes our clients happy and business good. Getting there means nailing our story beats, with each and every script in 2023. Boy, do we look forward to pushing ourselves to do just that! A small heads-up though: the more ‘feel-good’ the ending, the more painful and confronting the struggle portrayed during the film will be. Just so you know…

2. Feel-good endings should be truthful.

I deliberately avoid the world moral or morally justified, because as soon as corporate film makers step over the ledge of passing moral judgment, they find themselves on a very slippery slope. In the complex world we live in, everyone has their own truth and absolute truths are, well, difficult. However, truthful means that a film is in accordance with reality. This can both refer to the practical reality of everyday life, but in can also pertain to certain universal, timeless themes or ideas that are expressed in a story. Themes that are rooted in the human experience, such as love, loss, redemption & perseverance. A good story always draws from such themes, because it is what logically connects the struggle to the feel-good ending and what offers meaning to the experience of watching the story. Whatever the message is that the film should convey, it should be truthful on both the everyday and the universal level and the only litmus test for truthfulness is of course our audiences’ “bullshit-o-meter.” Fortunately, a corporate film’s truth is often expressed explicitly in a quote or even a superimposed title towards the end of the film and therefore easily gaged and if needed, re-worked. This copywriting element logically connects the film’s story to the client’s message and must provide insight and value to the viewer, so they better be very well written! In 2023, we will push ourselves to write (or adapt from the realms of sciences and arts) the best, feel-good ending truths we possibly can.

3. We should not only hone our craft, but we should also seek to further the understanding of storytelling and its impact, specifically of the feel-good ending, in the context of corporate communication.

Much of what we know or claim to know, comes from anecdotal experience, common sense and of course trade literature, which is also often inspired by anecdotal evidence. Measuring the performance of our work through social media interaction is a common practice. However, I’ve always felt it leads to a suboptimal understanding of the actual value and impact of a film on social media, let alone on each individual viewer of the film. A 15 or 30 second commercial may have been seen and even liked by millions, but did it actually change anyone’s mind in any way? Did anyone even remember it? A good story nestles itself in the viewers mind, becomes memorable, informs judgment and maybe even slightly influences the perception of the world. We know storytelling leads to emotional experiences, and experiencing emotions has an impact, but why, how and what exactly?  That’s worth studying! So in 2023, that’s what we plan to do. In a scientific way, I might ad, because in 2023, we will be working with scientists from the University of California in Los Angeles, Oslo University and the University of Amsterdam and help them by sharing  insights, experiences from practice and creating content to contribute to their research. We do this because next year, we 1Camera will be celebrating its third lustrum and in the next five years we hope to better understand two big questions: how do stories create emotional impact (specifically in the feel-good ending), how does that emotional impact translate to social media interaction. We will of course share our understanding with the world.

Did I mention next year we’ll be celebrating our third lustrum?  Yes, indeed: we are turning 15! So you bet we’re looking forward to 2023: may it not only be a year of happiness and health, but also of great and powerful stories with compelling feel-good endings. This is only the beginning…

 

– Jasper

 

Feel Good Ending- Frieslandcampina

 

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