Binge Watching is Great News for Authors.
When STORY is the real star!
Hollywood in the late 1990’s was still a beacon for wannabe stars and starlets with red carpet, marquee headlining, multi-million dollar “my people will call your people” dreams. And with stars and “star vehicle” films of the time, like Leonardo DiCaprio’s Titanic, personal stardom was still a plausible goal.
I was one of those wannabe actresses who moved to L.A. to “make it big.” Ultimately, the creative exercises and improvisation of acting school led me right back to and strengthened my existing writing roots. But, while recently reflecting on this chapter in my life, I started thinking about the “movie star” aspect of the time.
When’s the last time you said, “Let’s go see the new _________ (fill in movie star’s name) movie!”
Nowadays, isn’t it more likely to be, “the new Avengers movie” or “the new Star Wars” movie? Brand celebrity over actual celebrity.
Streaming seems to have amplified this effect with captivating plot lines leaving viewers begging for more. I couldn’t tell you the name of a single actor on one of my streaming favorites, The Man in the High Castle. Nor can I recall when I last went to the theater specifically to see the newest Julia Roberts or Brad Pitt* film.
It seems like these days – story is the star.
Whether onscreen or in a book, there’s something addictive about a well-told story. Even outside of fiction, in a gripping memoir or paradigm shifting business book, turning the page (or pulling up the next episode) to see what happens next is the thing that makes us keep coming back for more. No offense to actors and movie stars, but we writers have a LOT of power to move people!
So, today’s aspiring stars and starlets might have to trade their dreams of $20 million dollar paychecks and being “discovered” by way of a blockbuster star vehicle, for a potentially less dramatic but maybe longer lasting career in television. And as far as book binging is concerned, aspiring novelists should be thinking trilogies (plural) rather than single story ideas. And for nonfiction authors, think prolific, up-sells, and author brand instead of “hey look at me, I wrote a (single) book!” Countless story ideas are all out there floating around, just waiting for some brave authors to claim them.
Knowing all this, how will you capitalize on this apparent public passion for story? What kinds of stories, whether made up or real life tales are you holding back? Which ones might make you a star…even to only a small group of loyal readers who might keep coming back for more?
PS: Need help getting started? Shoot me an email!