18-05 Segment 1: Reworking a Classic

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Many directors and authors have used Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window as a frame for their own story line. The plot details the events of a person who is spying on their neighbor and witnesses a murder. A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window, talks about his book that follows a similar narrative, and how he used his personal experience to make it a story of his own.


Despite sharing some of the same details with other books, Finn wanted his version to rely on the emotional aspects of the story because of his experience with mental illness. He explains, “ …I plugged into the narrative this character who had experienced much of what I’ve experienced, who had struggled much as I had struggled, whose grief felt to me comparable in intensity even though our circumstances were different, and if The Woman in the Window is notable for anything, and I hope it is, I would like it to be the emotional resonance.”  Listen to Finn tell us more about the inspiration behind his debut novel, as well as his own story of mental illness.

Guest:

  • A.J. Finn, Author of The Woman in the Window

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18-05 Segment 2: Super Bowl Ads

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With the Super Bowl quickly approaching, many people are excited about the big game, but far more find the commercials just as appealing as the game itself. While the Super Bowl is one of the most expensive times for a company to run an ad, many companies invest not only in an ad slot, but expensive production for the ad, too. Aaron Goldman, Chief Marketing Officer for 4C Insights, addresses this explaining that the Super Bowl is an appealing time to run an ad for a company because it is one of the only times to get a message across to a massive audience in real time which has become more rare in recent years.

Even though the commercial is guaranteed to reach a large audience, companies cannot always predict the effectiveness of their ads. David Stewart, President’s Professor of Marketing at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, says that smaller companies typically benefit the most from Super Bowl ads because it increases the attention and positive awareness. However, it is important that these companies use social media to maintain and enhance this positive engagement before and after the ad airs

But before companies can reap the benefits of their Super Bowl commercial, they must make an ad that will appeal to a large audience, specifically those watching the Super Bowl.  Richard Krevolin, branding consultant and author of the book, The Hook: How To Share Your Brand’s Unique Story to Engage Customers, Boost Sales, and Achieve Heartfelt Success, explains the importance of using the ad to tell a story, one that is meaningful and emotional to their brand and the viewers. Stewart also says that it is important for brands to focus their ad on a general campaign that the company can continue to market after the ad has aired during the Super Bowl. While there is no way to predict if an ad will be effective, brands can increase the likeliness of this by appealing to the emotions of the audience and making an ad that is unforgettable.

Guest:

  • Aaron Goldman, Chief Marketing Officer for 4C Insights
  • David Stewart, President’s Professor of Marketing at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles
  • Richard Krevolin, branding consultant and author of the book, The Hook: How To Share Your Brand’s Unique Story to Engage Customers, Boost Sales, and Achieve Heartfelt Success

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Culture Crash 18-05: TV Theme Songs

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

Our senses can trigger all kinds of nostalgia. Maybe the smell of your mother’s cooking reminds you of childhood or the sight of your high school brings back memories of the awkward years. But most things pale in comparison to the sound of an old TV show’s opening credits song.

For you, it may be Full House. If you’re like my dad, it’s the whistling from The Andy Griffith Show, but all of us have some show’s song that got lodged in our heads and stayed there for life.

More recently, the Mad Men opening song had the strange ability to drop us into the 1950s world of Don Draper and HBO’s Game of Thrones takes audiences on an epic journey throughout Westeros at the start of each episode. But have you ever stopped to think about the evolution of opening credits?

They used to be set to cheesy made-for-TV music, feature silly yellow fonts and exist just to credit the cast. Each character would turn, face the camera and smile while their name appeared on the bottom of the screen. Then, shows went mainstream. Who could ever forget the iconic Friends sequence where the characters danced in a fountain to the tune of “I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts? The Friends credits were such a hit that the song, which was written for the show, ended up on the top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

As TV grew more serialized and darker, these sequences grew up with them. They became more artsy and cinematic in shows like Six Feet Under or The Wire. And now shows may not even include opening credits, opting instead for a simple title card. But many shows, especially on Netflix and HBO, have learned to set the tone for their show with beautiful opening credits.

The internet went crazy for Stranger Things‘ simple credits which featured spooky music and a closeup of the retro font coming together to spell out the show’s title. And who hasn’t sang along to Orange in the New Black‘s Regina Spektor opening as picture of inmates fly by?

Whether you fast-forward through them or find something new to enjoy every time, opening credits occupy a lot of time for any TV watcher. I particularly loved the 11-second opening to NBC’s short-lived The Black Donnellys and the various versions Boy Meets World ran through over its run.

TV credits are so simply but have somehow come to mean so much.

I’m Evan Rook.