Mystery – the forgotten ‘capturing’ device

So often we hear how difficult it is for celebrities to maintain their privacy and yet two of the biggest stories of the last few months would suggest that it is possible to manage your affairs while avoiding unwanted (and unnecessary) media attention…

new Bowie album

Back in October 2012 George Lucas managed to surprise the world with the bombshell news conference that saw him sell his Lucasfilm company to Disney… and while speculation has since been rife on the internet, the news that JJ Abrams was to direct ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ remained secret until 24 hours before the official announcement.

Then in the past few weeks we’ve seen David Bowie, one of the single most famous people in the world, release a single and announce an album that not even his record company knew about until a few days before…

Now, I’m not so naive as to believe that certain media companies and distributors are above ‘leaking’ their own content… and besides cheap efforts at publicity some have even used that method to great viral effect! But artists such as Bowie and Abrams, I believe, have an interest, not only in the creation of the work but, how it is best enjoyed. And that’s not to say they aren’t interested in the financial success of their products; after all they both work within the music ‘business’ and movie ‘business’ respectively. The point is they both appear to understand the ‘user experience’ and are masters in the use of ‘secrecy’ to create ‘mystery’.

The moment we become aware of a ‘gap’ in a story (news or otherwise) the instinct to fill it with speculative content generated by our own minds kicks in. It’s called imagination… and  while many in the entertainment business don’t trust us to use it, there are those who understand ‘imagination’ is ‘captured’ to great effect through carefully managed mystery… and that sometimes, it’s what you don’t see, or didn’t say, which is most important!


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