Thursday, August 13, 2009

Making Decisions – Make It Look On Purpose

During Grad school, for fun and because that’s where the women were, I decided to take a few Graphic Design Courses and expand my visual horizons. This resulted in countless sleepless nights…of work. I had no background in design, so taking courses on this subject at such a high level was very difficult, stressful and frustrating.

In spite of or perhaps because of my plight, I learned a very important lesson from the design courses. When you’re designing, regardless if it’s your wardrobe, your room or a poster; make every decision look like it’s on purpose. 100% intentional. Every design piece that you leave unclear, leaves the audience confused and wondering what it is you meant to convey. This wondering of intention will be interpreted as your inability to convey a message, not the inability of people reading your message.

Improv is very much the same. When jumping into a scene, your words, movements and intentions should be done on purpose. This allows the audience to react to the character you become. On the other hand, when you hesitate or don’t act with clear purposeful intentions this makes the audience have to react to a blurred character. This is bad for the audience because:

  1. The human mind is lazy
    People want to spend as little energy as possible thinking, especially when being entertained. So if they have to spend the mental energy to understand what it is you’re trying to convey than they will not enjoy it as much.

  1. There is nothing tangible about indecision
    If the audience does not have a character to cling to, what are they really watching? Yep, they don’t know either.

  1. They can’t root for you if they don’t know who you are
    In movies, tv shows and books one of the things that has viewers invested in the story is the ability to cling to characters. This is either to cheer for, boo against or empathize with the character. If you are an unclear image of a character, it is impossible for the audience to do any of these things.
So if you do it, make it look on purpose. The audience will love you or hate you for it. Either way everyone will enjoy the experience more.

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