Merrill Markoe, who had a very strong hand in co-creating Late Night with David Letterman, once interviewed the sitcom creator Shewrood Schwartz for Rolling Stone. (Talk about a weird collision of cultures!)
Among Schwartz’ many popular shows are Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch. Merrill asked him why he liked to start his shows with a song that explained the show’s premise. His response:
“Puzzled People Can’t Laugh.”
To which I’d add that Puzzled People won’t click, won’t connect, won’t engage and won’t share. Sherwood Schwartz created at a time when an audience would indulge you for 2 minutes while you explained the calamities that befell “A three hour tour.” Today, you have to be crystal clear in 3-6 seconds.
Don’t be afraid of indulging in primitive means to hook your audience. Schwartz wrote little songs. You might just need to put two lines of text that “gives the whole thing away” in your first frames. Do it. The audience will thank you for it with their attention.
I have a deep love of pop culture in all of its forms, on all platforms. I often write about culture on this blog. I also consult for a number of companies who are trying to make an impact on our culture through the intersection of traditional and digital media. I can be reached through the contact form on this site.