Over the weekend, we went to the movies (The Big Wedding, since you’re asking).
As we sat watching the previews of coming attractions, up came a trailer for the new Joss Whedon movie. It’s a comedy about two couples and their very different viewpoints on love and it’s filled with twists and turns and snappy dialog. Here’s the thing: it was written 400 years ago and yet it seems from the trailer that the script is the same. “Much Ado About Nothing” was written by Shakespeare long before “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and yet the same guy (Whedon) can make both of them work.
As I sat watching, I was struck immediately by the fact that while the look is modern and the technology that’s delivering the “play” (digital projection) is quite state of the art, it’s the same Elizabethan language. Which of course prompted a business thought.
More and more, brands and businesses are content producers. I’m not sure Shakespeare ever thought of himself as such, but that’s what we’d brand him today. We may think of what he produced as art but at the time it was often about commerce, so I don’t think of it as totally dissimilar. What’s amazing is that not only has it survived but it has been reinterpreted across many different channels for centuries. We saw Macbeth as a one-man show a couple of weeks ago and it worked as well as the times we’ve seen it with a full cast.
Here’s the thing: you probably don’t think of what you produce as having to hold up for 400 years. I’m not Shakespeare did either but isn’t that a great goal? Motion pictures didn’t happen for a few hundred years and yet this is at least the fifth film version of the script, each of which looks different but all of which remain true to Shakespeare’s vision.
Given the short-term mentality of much of media and business today, it’s easy to think about the next content cycle rather than the long term. Isn’t it amazing what can happen when a little extra time and care are invested in creating something timeless? Going viral indeed – for centuries!