Everybody has one. They”re very in these days.
With the rise of YouTube came the hunger for B-Roll; the behind the scenes, the making of, the story behind the story. We”re presented with an ever deepening well of creative information coming at us that, in OUR experience, people are getting less and less hungry for “more” and increasingly hungry for “depth”.
Let us explain: “WHAT ARE YOU?!”
WHAT ARE YOU?! We can all remember hearing Nic”s cry for context within two minutes of meeting our new Tim Burton inspired Batman way back in 1989. It gave voice to what audiences all over the world were thinking.
“I want you to tell all your friends about me”
“What are you?!”
Tim Burton”s Batman was an absolute ground breaker
The hype and media that came with the “Batman” name alone would have been enough to make it a hugely successful film itself but the story behind the story kicked in and it became something quite unprecedented.
For an audience brought up on a relatively singular iteration of Batman, the campy cornball antics of the Adam West era, to be told their new Batman was a dark, brooding, violent hero shattered many and intrigued a few. This same audience then learned that their new Bruce Wayne was to be a man who was in control of a multinational enterprise but was also deeply broken and living his life in depressive isolation caused by a victimised reluctance to deal with the death of his parents. Then, on top of this, throw a popular comedian like Michael Keaton in to Wayne Manor and BOOM, the sorry behind the story reaches its tipping point and a new era of story telling begins…the reality behind the fiction.
Fade to black…16 years pass…it”s 2005
Audiences had changed, people had become accustomed to being presented with the reality of the backstory and a new tipping point emerged as the Nolan Batman entered our focus with Batman Begins. Itself the first of three films ordered by Warner Bros. here we saw a young Bruce Wayne developing into the Batman we know today as we explored WHY he became the WHAT. Now, on the DVD extra features we online casino can watch Christian Bale giving interviewers the backstory (behind-the-scenes) of the backstory and we”re totally with him because we actually care. We”re fascinated by the making of the making of.
These days we”re hungry…not for broad quantity but granular quality
Anybody else obsessed over every little character detail of Mad Men, Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad? Here we have three hugely successful series whose backbone is a story about the making of a man/men. The backstory IS the story. So surprising was Breaking Bad”s success that AMC made another, yet again, unprecedented strategic decision by breaking the final season into two, spacing it out across two years. AMC later reported the latter half of season 7 saw audiences double in numbers compared to the former half of the same season. Is the story within the story back? We think so. The era of backstory has well and truly begun, naval gazing is finally on trend again?
We”re a sophisticated audience these days. We”re not children any more marvelling at Batman”s “KA-POW!!!”s on screen. Today, we need to know why the Batman wont break his one rule to save the greater populace. Today, we want to know why Clarke Kent didn”t exercise his powers publicly until his mid 20″s. In 2007 we wanted to know what fractured Dr. Hannibal Lecter to make him the monster we met in 1991. And in 1999 we dared to ask what made Darth Vadar become the man who would be willing to kill his own daughter in 1977…well, until Lucas butchered it and made us ALL wish we had never asked…
Your story is important to a lot of people who would be willing to pay to see it play out before their eyes in film, video, poetry, painting, song…no matter how dark your past…tell your story…
Addition: We”ll add to this…the Joker we met in Nolan”s Batman, played by Heath Ledger, was heralded as being one of the most disturbing characters in recent film and television. Why? During the film we hear Commission Gordon lament of the Joker that he had “no name, no other alias, clothing is custom, nothing in his pockets but knives and lint…” This character with no backstory seemed erratic to audiences because they had no framework in which to place him. Even the detail of Joker telling pending victims conflicting stories of his past pushed him even further away from audiences only because he couldn”t be controlled in any context. The only context we have towards the end of the film is that he just wanted “to watch the world burn”. With no backstory a character has no restraint…or connecting emotional entry points to real audiences. Fascinating.