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Posts Tagged ‘watching you’

First, there’s this. I  got sick of writing the word “audience” in my notes in my high school drama class. I had a list of terms, on which “Author” was first, and “Audience” was second. I abbreviated “Audience” to “A-Squared”, working under the idea that because each member of an audience creates their own meaning of the text, the group is effectively a bunch of authors.  A-Squared is annoying to type, and so it’s become A2.

I’m in two classes right now: Documentary and Feminism in Media. Both classes are more awesome than they sound. And in both classes, we’ve had to examine, briefly, the idea of the audience and the Target Audience. But school’s not the only place the A2’s been popping up. It’s come up at work (yay, radio day job! So much fun!), it’s come up in random conversation with my sister, it’s come up…well, everywhere! Even on the bus, and I’m not one to talk to random bus riders. But I digress.

In my FM class, we looked at the creation of audience as commodity. Most people will balk at this; that’s ok. The question was, do media companies simply produce a product (ie, film)? Do they create their audiences? This gets into why there’s advertising and product placement in movies (my favorite soda has a cameo in X2, and my favorite candy starred in ET) and the creepy thought that media companies are like fishermen who use their catch as bait. It’s fascenating and horrifying, like Tom Sawyer’s big toe.

Media companies are, basically, producers and salesmen. As writers, we’re essentially the same thing. We produce content and persuade someone to buy it (or publish it). This is why Holly addresses A2 consideration in one of the HTTS lessons.

But in other areas of our lives, we’re also producers and salesmen, and this bears careful consideration. Our families see us every day. Friends and coworkers see us often. We are producing something every time we interact with them, whether or not we know it. We have secret ninja-like audiences making judgements about us based solely on what we are doing when they see us. It behooves us, then–woah I just used “behooves” in a sentence!–to consider our products, and our audiences, at all times.

Yeah, I went all vague there. It’s like this. My daughter watches me when I get home from work. She sees what I do, and what I emphasise. She decides whether to ask me for a cookie before dinner based on whether I’m cooking something or working on my computer. Why? Because I say yes more often when I’m on the computer. We call this A2 conditioning via repeat performance.  If my hubby sees that every day when I wake up, I’m a crabby monster, he’ll quit waking me up. Same deal. If my boss accidentally calls my line at work and I answer professionally without knowing who’s calling, he’ll consider letting me work a shift when people call in. I hope. A2 conditioning. People react to what they know of you. Do what you can to figure out what you want from them, then act in such a way that their automatic reaction gets you what you want.

Don’t be fake about it, though. Everyone thinks they can fake it at some point, and we all know we can see right through ’em and we like to point and snicker about it. So don’t fake it. If getting a better shift by this time next year is your goal, do the same good stuff the people on the better shift do… and do it all the time. You can’t know when your boss is going to accidentally call you, so you answer all calls as if they were him.

This is longish and ramble-ish, but there’s a method to this madness. I started this post in order to work through my thoughts on A2 and why it makes me nervous, and here’s my conclusion: my grandpa always says, “If ya do what’cha always done, you’ll git what’cha always got!” If you want something else, do something else… because you always have an audience, and despite all efforts, you can’t pick who’s watching.

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