2 years ago
When I was growing up, Robin Williams was already a huge star. I didn’t know him. Of course I didn’t, definitely not. After all, when you’re a teenage boy trying your best to be cool, you’re not going to be divulging the fact you spend endless nights in front of the telly now are you? And even if you did, not many of your peers would choose to believe you anyway would they?
Well Robin Williams died this Monday at the relatively tender age of 63, by which time I’d had several decades to grow up and realise that you can enjoy all film genres without caring a jot what anyone else thinks. And that there are few finer comedians / actors that stand in the same class as this man once did. His passing though has triggered a few thoughts which could just help us make our business or private lives a little bit better.
Over the next few weeks, sales of Robin Williams movies will no doubt, go through the roof. His films will start appearing in the Top 10 again (if there is such a thing for movies), and a brand new audience will inevitably discover him.
There’s an old joke that Robin may have used himself that says “death is a great career move,” and it certainly seems to be that way in our media driven world. Every major artist sees a massive surge in sales when they die.
And while some of the increased sales will be down to the fact that the artist is no longer around to be making movies, I think most of it is simply down to the extra media exposure generated at the time. They are in the public eye once again, their life is being broadcast / discussed and their talents are once again being re-played. Their old audience is given a fond reminder, and a new audience is given an in depth introduction.
Waning artists found appearing in gutter television’s celebrity versions of reality show benefit from exactly the same effect. Exposure on its own is often enough to have a monumental impact. After all, it’s a numbers game, and the greater the exposure, the greater the impact will inevitably be.
So what does this mean for the likes of you and I? Well it means we should really take hold of every opportunity we can to get exposure. Many of us, myself included, spend an inordinate amount of time deciding what and how we will ‘say’ and not nearly enough time planning on how we can get the maximum number of people to hear it. This will mean different things to different people, but hopefully you get the point.
Simply put, a massive audience trumps a perfect message every time. A great film title means little on its own and while Robin Williams’ acting will be no better this week than it was last – it will, thanks to extra coverage, generate many times the revenue. So in short, if you want to maximise your profits, you have to maximise your exposure.
Although often captured in manic mode, Robin always came across as a laid-back and affable character, and it seems this was not just an act. That was simply the way he was. When you watched Williams’ off-camera he was seen to be exactly the same as when the cameras were rolling – maybe a little off the wall, but always courteous, fun, friendly and highly respectful to the many people working around him.
Few of us work in the media, or perform in front of cameras for that matter, but the way we perform ‘off-camera’ is no less telling or relevant. Off camera in this context means times when we’re not the centre of attention or at the heart of a conversation or events. This is a key opportunity for people to discover what you are really like. And if you haven’t paid attention to this, I’d urge you to start thinking about it now.
When the conversation or attention moves away from someone you’re uncertain about, stay with them for a while. And what you will often see is a highly perfected veneer that dissolves in an instant – apparent friendliness instantly replaced by hostility, feigned interest replaced by boredom, smiles switched off faster than a fifty watt bulb. Many have a performance for ‘the camera’ which isn’t in keeping with their true feelings or persona and knowing this can save you an incredible amount of time, money and heartache. And it is information that’s there for anyone to see.
So the question you need to ask yourself, of course, is this – what will others see when ‘the camera’ is turned away from me? It’s easier if we can look back on a life filled with excitement, adventure and achievement than one characterised by apathy, routine and missed opportunities.
Thank you Robin Williams, despite the troubles you faced on your own personal journey, you taught us well and with all due respect to one of the world’s finest, there’s no better day than today for us to be taking some positive steps towards ensuring that happens.
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