What We’re Saying

What Communicators Can Learn From the Movies

The announcement this week of the nominees for the 2023 Academy Awards got me thinking about our origin story. The Fratelli Group started as a film company. Look at our logo. You can see the double Fs for Fratelli Films.

Moviemaking is in our DNA. Here are some lessons communicators can learn from the silver screen.

First, tell a compelling story. Movies are effective at weaving a narrative that captures the attention of their audience. Communicators can learn from this by crafting stories that draw in their audience and keep them engaged. Think about your favorite movie. I bet the story drew you to the edge of your seat and never let you go. A good communications campaign will do the same. For me, the most compelling story among the 2023 Best Picture nominees is “All Quiet on the Western Front.” What’s yours?

Second, use visuals to your advantage. Movies are visually stimulating, which contributes to their popularity. Communicators can learn from this by incorporating visuals into their messaging in order to capture the attention of their audience. Remember, the visuals have to match the message. Everything communicates. Think about how all the visuals in “Tár” match the cool, controlled nature of the eponymous character in the film. The neutral-toned color palette. The precise tailoring of her suit. The obsessively ordered décor of her apartment. The visuals match Lydia Tár herself, creating a seamless communications package.

Third, edit smartly. The most effective movies – whether long or short – give the audience the information they need to understand plot and character motivation. If a message needs to be reinforced, it’s done so without beating the audience over the head. Communicators can learn from this by trimming away the fat and employing repetition smartly to make your point. I may be among the few who saw (and really liked) “Babylon,” but it needed a strong-handed editor to cut at least two scenes. “Causeway,” for which Brian Tyree Henry has been deservedly nominated for his supporting role, is a great example of a well-edited, tight film that wastes no time in telling the story.

Fourth, leverage emotion. Movies are effective at evoking emotion in their audience. Communicators can learn from this by leveraging emotion in their messaging to create a more powerful and impactful message. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” took me on an emotional roller coaster. Which 2023 nominee connected most with you emotionally?

Next time you sit down to watch a new or favorite flick, think about the tools the film employs to make you laugh or move you to tears. Take those lessons and apply them to how you communicate to move your audience to action as well.


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