“It has to be audience first. What does the audience want, and what is the best scenario that we can create to send them home happy.” – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
As a creator, giving your audience a great experience is your most important job. The audience is your consumer and your customer. Their attention is a valuable resource.
So, when you use that attention to feed your own need for validation, then you are wasting it on something that doesn’t give you value.
Attention is treated like something that is deserved. Some creators want an audience for themselves. They want the stats, the numbers, and the following to feel like their work is worth something.
And it is true that there is value in what a creator produces. There is an effort of time, value, and skill they put into the thing they create that they should be compensated for. Still, everyone craves that attention.
What are you going to give them for it?
In fiction writing, a good writer is conscientious of what details they give their readers. If they introduce a detail, then their audience is going to make the effort of remembering that detail, so they better make it worth their while.
If you felt exhausted from after watching The Last Jedi, you can blame part of that on the mission to the casino. This subplot was immensely frustrating and an epic fail on the writers’ part.
The purpose is to find a code breaker, so they can break into the Imperial ship and save the Rebel fleet. The mission is a clusterfuck only to find out that the mission wasn’t necessary in the first place, because Holdo had a plan all along to save the Rebel fleet.
They broke the cardinal rule of storytelling: don’t waste your audience’s time on useless bullshit.
If you have any doubt about this, compare the Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score between The Last Jedi and Dwayne Johnson’s Skyscraper.
Dwayne Johnson gets it, but it doesn’t take a Hollywood producer to appreciate this rule: you have to earn your audience’s loyalty.
What you put your best energy into reflects what you value. When you spend an hour at the gym, you’re making the statement that nothing is more important to you in that hour than your workout.
The same goes for your creative work. When you create for attention, validation, stats, and following, then you put your best energy into anything that will attain those metrics.
If you create with the intention of entertaining, providing value, telling a story, making people feel like they’re a part of something, and making their lives better, then you will earn your audience’s loyalty.
Don’t do it for yourself. Do it for others. Do it for the people watching.
Photo Credit: from Unsplash by Joel Filipe