Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Consider your audience

An a teacher, I spend a lot of time demonstrating to young children how to write for a particular audience, and how to deconstruct already-published texts to determine the audience they are aimed at, and how successfully they target particular people. Knowing one's audience, and the social relevance, can really help one to write a focused piece.

I often find myself scratching my head when mulling over what will go into my next blog, and how I will say it. From the heart? Wacky and hilarious anecdotes? Innermost secrets? Exhaustive TV trivia?

Because even after four months now, I'm not so sure who is my blog audience. Sure, I get a few comments under some entries, a few emails from fellow bloggers and total strangers, and have even found a few (new and) long lost friends. Until I can work out just who you all are, and how to say it, I guess you just have to put up with what you get. (Or do the people who won't put up with it define who's left of my audience? I dunno...)

As I mentioned, recently I was asked to introduce an amateur "Star Trek" fan film at a science fiction convention. My first thought was, "Who will be my audience?" Now, I'd been to many ConQuests before, and I felt I knew who made up those audiences in the 1980s and 90s, but were ConQuest attendees still the same make-up of audience in 2006? Additionally, would the "2001: A Space Odyssey" lead actors, Gary Lockwood and Keir Dullea, be in attendance at the gala banquet, when I'd be delivering my speech? Should I, then, incorporate a few "2001" jokes into my speech?

I do have a "2001" anecdote: 33 years ago, the high school I attended as a teenager had three adjoining classrooms converted into a makeshift assembly hall. The back wall had been painted with a huge, makeshift white rectangle and, after seeing several films on it, a group of us were asked to spend a free period extending out the two sides: to create a widescreen frame for screening... "2001"!

Now, "2001" is a good film, but the English teacher made us watch "2001" at least four times before he sent back the film canisters to the distribution company. Therefore, my memories of "2001' are quite muddled. The starchild scene, for example, was probably only understood by the back few (rather hazy) rows: the kids who were smoking those weird-smelling cigarettes in roll-your-own ciggie papers.

In honour of Mr Lockwood and Mr Dullea being expected to sit through my little fan film, I decided to present them with little autographed paintbrushes. I took the liberty of signing the brushes (to increase their value on eBay some day?) - and for a little $$$$ thrown into the charity box, I'd even personalise them. (Well, at least they didn't have to paint a wall to see the fan film...)

So, there I was: fully prepared for my speech - with props in hand and all - and the guests decided to try a different Brisbane eatery that night. Maybe they suspected I really was going to make them work for their supper?


In any case, would these be called my brushes with fame?

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