Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hearing the punchline first

"Well duh! It was ground this morning." Does that sentence make any sense to you? It really shouldn't. It is a punch line for a joke. So why did I write the punch line first? Like with most my blogs, to prove a point. The joke starts like this: A woman walks into a coffee shop. She goes there quite often and knows all the workers by name. However, today she goes in and there is a new employee. The young man seems nice enough, but doesn't really appear to know what he is doing. The woman talks with the young worker for a moment and finds out it is his first day, and his trainer went home sick earlier. She orders her regular drink and the young man looks confused for a moment but then goes about his work. In the mean time, the woman gets a call on her cell phone. The young man comes back a little bit later with the coffee cup. The woman pays him, still distracted while on the phone. While exiting the store, she takes a sip and then promptly spits it out. She spins around and says to the worker, "This coffee tastes like mud!"
There are certain TV shows I watch and never miss an episode. For almost all of these shows, I make it a point never to watch the following week's previews. Why? Because most of the time, they give too much away! Movie previews (aka trailers--but don't get me started again on why they call them trailers) are often the worst offenders. There are countless times I've been watching a movie and during a tense moment I've thought, "OK, based on the previews, I know what is going to happen." It ruins the experience!
Or how about the times when there is something shown in a movie preview that never ends up in the movie? Let me get this straight--the scene is good enough for the preview to entice people to see the movie, but not good enough for the movie itself?
I'm not sure if the people in charge of the previews think the general public have no long term memories or not, but why include shots of the final part of the movie in the previews? It's actually rather insulting.
So, when it came time to write a teaser for The Hidden Sun, I wanted it be interesting enough to get people to read it, but not really give anything away. So, how did I do? Well, to be honest, it could have been better. I like the write up on the webpage and the press release more than what is on the back of the cover. Also, I couldn't help but give a few things away, but I promise you this, once you read the book, you'll see how much the preview doesn't give away. In fact, I've actually had people get mad at me because they claim the preview isn't really what the book was about. I see their point, and I politely disagree. Everything in the "preview" of The Hidden Sun is in the book--it actually proves my point that people feel the need to know everything about a book or movie before hand to judge if it is good or not.
In the end, I'm writing an open letter to the preview makers: Make the previews interesting without ruining the movie / TV show / book. Give your audience some credit.

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