How The Audience Finishes Your Film

Broadsheet film journalist Tom Shone recently interviewed Christopher Nolan.

As he has down the years for two decades. On occasion of the writer-director's latest movie, the lengthy Oppenheimer biopic, becoming unexpected critical and one billion dollar commercial smash.

So he knows how the film-maker works.

Revealing such intrigue as when they first met, over lunch, the now toast of tinseltown perused his menu backwards.

After discussing the relief of "magical" moment when, as he often does, sneaking into the end of a film to gauge early audience reaction to an imminently released work - "gratifyingly, everybody was wrapped up in the experience" - the final question grabbed me;

Does the film become the audience’s at a certain point?

Here's the hundred-word answer.

Well, the way I like to term it is the audience finishes the film. So you work on the film, you go through all these different stages of what the film is and how it’s developing, and the final part of that process is to put it out into the marketplace and give it to the audience and they tell you what it is. They really finish it for you in that sense. And that’s why, to go back to your first question, that’s why it’s such a frightening moment, because in a way you’re finding out what it is that you’ve done.

Now swap out the words 'audience' and 'film' for 'buyer' and 'sale'.

Striking in similarity to our Enterprise selling.

Consider the link with how our audience finishes our pitch, close or sentences.

When a cubrep, the gnarled, shiny-suited, seasoned campaigners impressed upon me that you know you're doing your job when the customer closes themselves.

There's plenty of mentor level wisdom along such lines.

Although I ought point out a warning. Many a supposed sage will implore the liberal use of the Trial Close.

These kind of come in three forms.

A pushy, glib invocation to buy now, but really just testing general readiness to buy and hoping to flush out some objection or other.

Looking to gain acceptance on a minor detail, in the hope a series of little 'Yeses' will smooth the eventual big Yes.

Getting the prospect used to you asking closers, so hopefully, when the final one's time comes, they'll be normalised to it and so less likely to be taken by surprise.

Well. Some can work. But overall, there are way better, much more subtle, tactics that get you beyond that as a tool.

Beware the boss that makes you use these. The true Pro goes beyond them.

I recall big ticket training in 90s America where the stock-millionaire coaches humiliated salespeople using such as;

'...if we could do x, y & z, would you buy?'

Even for their brashness, this was felt too 'rookie'.

What you can do early, is build in tacit recognition of how buyers react when you pause for breath, leave something hanging or actually remember (!) to ask a question.

And make future progress with reuse of what gains traction, sparks engagement and generates genuine two-way dialogue.

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