"Where the streets have no name" is the first song on U2s 1987 album, "Joshua Tree".
It begins with 40 seconds of ambient sound. A guitar riff accompanies it and drives it into the rhythm of of drums and bass that arrive 1:10 into the song.
A full two minutes pass before Bono begins to sing. It's a killer song.
But you aren't going to hear anything like it any longer. Streaming audio has killed any sense of anticipation, and any patience that a listener might have had.
As well, when you bought a CD or even a record, you made an investment in the music. You were willing to wait, to engage more with the music because you owned.
Streaming music is free.
What is NOT free now on the Internet, and the free culture comes with a remarkable sense of impatience. Since it is free, since you have made no commitment to this whatsoever, there is always something better to flip to if you get bored.
And boredom is the worst thing you can be accused of in the digital age.
What does this have to do with video?
For better or for worse (and probably for worse), this shortened attention span, particularly at the beginning for any creative work, is now endemic. People have short attention spans and they have to be 'sucked in' from the very start, or they are gone.
When we run the bootcamps, we always say, 'don't save the good stuff for later, because by the time your piece gets to later, there isn't going to be anyone there.'
In video, as in music, the technology changes the structure of the work. A universe of free video on YouTube or VOD on Netflix means that you can flip from one story to the next, one movie to the next, one series to the next for 'free'. It is always there.
In the days when you bought a movie ticket or you bought a DVD or God Forbid, a VHS tape or even rented one, you made a financial and as a result, an emotional commitment to stick it out to the end.
Those days are over. Now, 30 seconds of BORING (or maybe even fewer) and the viewer is gone. And they are gone forever.
So that is why we say - start with the very most exciting video that you have, Bar none. The most exciting video. And when you are shooting, you have to focus finding and shooting that most exciting video that you are going to start with.
You have to effectively reach through the screen in the very opening shot, grab your viewer by the throat and say 'THIS IS GOING TO BE EXCITING!' or they are going to leave.
And if they leave- your video, you YouTube Channel, your TV station, the odds are they are not coming back. Because BORING is the Bubonic Plague of the digital world.