Have you heard about Participant Productions? If you haven’t you should know about this nontraditional film company. Under founder Jeff Skoll, Participant Productions is nullifying the classic Hollywood advice that if you want to send a message, call Western Union. People supposedly don’t go to the movies to get lectured at but for entertainment.
But Jeff Skoll, with an estimated $$2 billion fortune earned fas the number two employee of E-Bay, resigned as its first president to take up the mission of changing the world through film.
include An Inconvenient Truth (the
Al Gore global warming documentary), Good Night and Good Luck (the story
of Edward R. Murrow’s attack on McCarthyism) , Murderball (the
inspirational story of handicapped athletes), Fast Food Nation (about how
America got so fat), North Country (about the story behind the first
sexual harassment lawsuit) and Syriana (about intrigue and
avarice in the global oil industry).
Critical acclaim and box office receipts indicate that Skoll's confidence in "message" movie making is paying off.
In this era, which I have dubbed the Age of Transcendence, the zeitgeist – the spirit of the times – has risen to a higher and more complex level of expression than ever before in human history. Legions of people in mainstream society are coming to believe that the materialistic foundations of the past century stand in the way of creating a better world for all.
Formerly, only people at the fringes of society renounced materialism for an experiential connection to the world.
This historic shift in worldview on a society wide basis reflects the emergence of people over 40 as the adult majority, with those in midlife (almost entirely boomers) exerting the largest influence on the zeitgeist.
Successful marketing is obviously dependent on connecting the dots between an offering and perhaps the company behind it and the consumer. That makes it important to come to a full understanding of the makeup of people’s worldviews in today’s marketplace.
By worldview I don’t mean what people believe, but how they connect to the world. In the first half of life connections to the world tend to be highly egocentric: my connections are based on what I can get from them. In the second half of life, connections to the world more often are based in altruistic aspirations: what can I give to them.
The first half of life is mostly about the individual; the second half of life is (or should be) mostly about the group, or more broadly, the species. This is why we survived and other hominid lines in homo sapiens’ ancestry did not. The latter turned out to be more successful in preserving their tribes and indeed the species.
Today, we are witnessing the ongoing struggle to improve humankind’s condition as efforts to do so take us into new, higher and more complex states of human beingness. I’ll say more about this in my next post.