It was intriguing to me that the off camera point of view, the observation through the lens, could be so powerful to drive the story.
I love good stories, don't you?
To stay in character with the connective narrative and conversational nature of this blog, I present you with:
The Alfred Hitchcock Guide to SxSW
A groundbreaking research into how the 11 recurrent themes in the director's portfolio will dominate the conference.
Hitchcock's movies create experiences through two key ingredients - fear and fantasy. These are often tempered with good doses of humor and realism. In fact, the more realistic and reasonable the beginning, the more compelling the twist.
(1.) Ordinary person. Placing an ordinary person, like you and me, in extraordinary circumstances, like hundreds of opportunities to connect and build bridges to potential business. People like you and me are telling stories we can all identify with. And this year everyone will be able to augment their SxSW reality with the first indoor AR app and more.
(2.) Wrong person. The case of mistaken identity leads to all sorts of twists in the plot. Imagine meeting someone who on the surface looks innocent enough, to later discover they are behind one of the most innovative technologies and projects out there. How embarrassing! Ever treated a known influencer at a level or two above what warranted, and totally overlooking someone who could really help you?
(3.) Likeable "villain". The villains in Hitchcock's
movies appear refined and charming. On occasion, you might find yourself cornered in a conversation about a product you're not really interested in. While chit chat is nice, you'll need to learn to excuse yourself gracefully and exit left stage.
(4.) Stairways. These to me symbolize the unknown. Where do they lead? There is the allure of the catchy panel title, the courting through content, then, at some
point, we'd like some learning and action. The stairway is where we
decide whether to follow or take the fire escape route.
(5.) Mothers. Well, you know that inside every group in every conference there is a hierarchy in the influence-making chain. The magic here is to work with all people, not just the ones who seem to have explicit authority. The fastest way to kill your opportunity is to overlook someone who could be influential in your space, only because you may not know their role. Be gracious.(6.) Distilled wine. Hitchcock included brandy, a form of distilled wine, in all his movies. We live in an age of snack culture, where people consume media in small bites. Yet people are willing to invest time and effort on things that are valuable to them, things they want. How can you distill the information to be the right one, at the right moment as you meet people? Yeah, I know what you were thinking on this one.
(7.) Sexuality. This is the want part of the conference. Need leads to commoditization, want leads to consideration. Think carefully about the events you want to attend, including the after event parties. This is achieved by choice. How can you design the conference experience you want to have? Also, how can you be more attractive to opportunity yourself?(8.) Observer. The classic point of view most evident in Rear Window. There will always be people up front, participating actively in conversations, and people who are on the fence, watching what is going on and forming their opinions. Which one are you? Is it situational?
(9.) Breach of a rule. This is obviously the crime - normal and expected in a thriller. Breaking the rules works best when you've taken the time to know them. Learn about what's going on, research while you plan, and observe reactions and behaviors on the ground. Then figure out the opposite - zig instead of zagging - for example. Don't do it just to do it differently. Be smart about it. Know why.
(10.) Heroines. Don't forget that many decisions today are made by women. We think differently, so much so that in Kawasaki's book The Art of the Start, he advise start ups to consult with a woman to vet a business plan. Why? Women don't have the killer gene. They are thus much better judges of the viability of a business model.
(11.) Silent scenes. This is where you are shutting up and the other people in the scene are talking. It's the best moment, the one you have worked for all along. You can engage the art of conversation by listening and finding an opportunity to be helpful. Make it a working session, and you'll be memorable.
This is my guide to get your creative juices going. What's yours?
Make sure you say hi when we cross paths.
[image from a Vanity Fair remake of Hitchcock classics]