The Magic Formula [Guide to Copywriting]

Want to know the magic formula that makes one thing a hit and another a miss? For example, from last week’s FISH article, what made the original Jaws movie so superior to all its sequels? (and what made it the biggest grossing film of all time on its release?).

Before we go there, know this. If anyone could figure out the formula, it would be worth ALL the money in the world (which ironically, would make it worthless).

Yet Jaws had that magic formula.

Every movie producer has been trying to figure out this magic formula. And everyone has failed. Yes, they’ve had hits, but no, they’ve never been reproducible other than via the so-called franchise-movie industry.

The box-set people took it to a new level by running pilots, then franchising out the successful ones for as many sequels as they could get away with (watch Keifer Sutherland age 9 years during the making of 24, only just beaten by Friends).

Of course, TV soap operas knew the secret long before the box-set people, but hey, that’s “just a soap opera”.

It’s not about choosing a star either (though that helps with early adoption and distribution). And it’s certainly not about choosing an Oscar Winning director (though that helps with financing).

It involves four ingredients:

1. Story

2. Timing

3. Audience

4. Relevance

If the story’s no good, no amount of good acting, directing, or production will help. If the timing is wrong (and I really mean zeitgeist here – the spirit of the time) it won’t hit the mark. If the audience doesn’t care, say no more. And if it’s not relevant, well, I added that just to make a good sounding acronym.

Zeitgeist is tops though. What is the spirit of the time? That’s rarely known until the time has gone.You need to know it in advance, and that means the ability to read the future, and since the future cannot be known (for very logical reasons), you now have proof that it’s all a matter of luck.

Does that mean you shouldn’t go for your goal? Of course not. It just means it’s a level playing field. All you have to do is be the one that does it, whatever it is that you have the desire to do, and do it to the best of your ability for the rest of your life.

PS. Elon Musk is doing everything he can to bend the future his way. One of the things he’s been up to is in the link below (you’ll probably need a week to get through this, plus some brain surgery afterwards). Here’s a quote from Moran Cerf that says it all: “If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t.”. Or, “no wonder it’s so damn hard to understand anything anyway”: https://waitbutwhy.com/2017/04/neuralink.html

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