“Incredibles 2”: 3 Lessons Learned from the Franchise to Give Your Content Superpowers
The Incredibles 2 made $180 million in its opening weekend. Multiple reports confirm that the Brad Bird-directed follow-up to the 2004 Pixar hit movie “shattered” records. In addition to setting a record for the opening weekend of an animated film, The Incredibles 2 flew its way into the Top 10 list of all-time openings of any genre.
In the world of content creation, it is imperative to dissect quality content of all sorts – especially when it generates as much exposure, traffic and sales as Disney Pixar accomplished with The Incredibles franchise overall.
Here are some of the lessons you can take away from The Incredibles franchise to activate the superpowers within your own content:
Image via shutterstock.com
Continuity and Consistency are Vital
After a 14-year hiatus, most Pixar fans initially did not expect the highly-anticipated sequel to The Incredibles to pick up where it left off.
Think about Toy Story 3. Nearly 11 years passed between the November 1999 release of Toy Story 2 and the June 2010 release of Toy Story 3. It is true that Andy’s age was never confirmed in Toy Story 2, but also very likely that 11 years passed within the actual storyline as well.
Keep in mind that young Andy was crying about Woody’s arm being ripped in Toy Story 2 but boxed the toys up on his way to college in Toy Story 3. Even Buster the dog aged from his debut at the end of the first movie in 1995 to his aged and exhausted reappearance in Toy Story 3.
It is not surprising, then, that most Incredibles fans expected the 14-year wait to show some signs of aging. For instance:
- Syndrome makes parole after spending 14 years in prison and plots his revenge against the heroic Parr family
- Violet and Dash struggle with balancing adulthood with their solo superhero identities.
- Jack-Jack struggles with maintaining humility in high school along with deciding whether to use his mega-superpowers for good or evil (i.e. Jean Grey vs Phoenix, Anakin Skywalker vs Darth Vader, etc.)
- Bob and Helen struggle with the quickly approaching Empty Nest Syndrome as they try to remember life before parenting when it was just the two of them.
- Frozone must decide if he wants to continue living in the Parr’s shadow or make it on his own (#FrozoneMovie) while trying to make peace with his wife as she continues to hide his super-suit from him.
NOTE TO DISNEY: Now that the $71 billion Fox acquisition is finalized, please feel free to make us an offer to buy the above-referenced plot ideas for The Incredibles 3.
However, The Incredibles 2 literally picked up right where it left off: The Parr family joining forces to fight against the Underminer. Without giving away any spoilers, the sequel even found clever ties to connect supporting characters from the first movie to the follow-up. Therefore, it was clear that Brad Bird focuses on creativity, continuity and consistency when writing the screenplay.
Lesson Learned: You may not be writing a screenplay based on a story of a fictitious family of superheroes. However, the key elements of continuity and consistency should still play vital roles in your overall content – especially your follow-up articles, posts and social media messages.
Your readers and viewers want to feel as if they picked up right where they left off – no gaps, no spaces, no holes. You can watch The Incredibles and The Incredibles 2 back-to-back and it will feel like a 4-hour movie made at the same time instead of 2 movies released 14 years apart. Can your audience say the same about your content when it comes to continuity?
Your Content Must Grow with Your Audience
Those who have seen The Incredibles 2 know that the franchise also matured since its 2004 debut in multiple ways. From the emotional climax of the Pixar short Bao and post-dinner drinking scene to the intense action and minor use of profane language, Disney Pixar apparently wanted to stretch the PG rating boundaries as far as possible.
Why is this an important teaching tool to consider? The lesson it teaches is the value of growth and adaptation. Everything about your content – style, tone, structure and subject matter- must grow and adapt with your audience.
- Would you write a technology blog about how to use a VHS or DVD player?
- Would you schedule future social media posts for a MySpace page?
- Would you publish a “current” review of products released 10-15 years ago?
- Would you publish a press release for an event that occurred 5 years ago?
- Would you create sales copy for a product discontinued several decades ago?
The answer to those questions may be a resounding “NO!” but sadly the principle read between the lines still applies to a substantial amount of content today. A vast amount of poorly-developed content does not grow with or adapt to its audience.
Brad Bird did not allow his characters to age between The Incredibles and The Incredibles 2. However, he did acknowledge the fact that his audience aged. He adapted the content of his “incredible” screenplay to match the growth and current expectations of today’s audience.
Many of the reviews for The Incredibles 2 have even acknowledged that the movie flows well with the current climate of superhero movies in general. Remember: That climate (which many would argue today is oversaturated) was nearly nonexistent back in 2004.
- Sony was hopeful after the 2002 release of Spider-Man, but…
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe was off to a rocky start with Hulk (2003)
- DC was still on hiatus from Batman and Superman movies, but were in the early stages of developing Batman Begins and Superman Returns (2006)
Even on the small-screen, Smallville was nowhere near ready to transition Clark Kent towards his heroic identity and the Greg Berlanti empire of DC superheroes (Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow) did not start until 2012.
Therefore, The Incredibles was essentially in unchartered territory – which means everything it did was “fresh” and “new.” To make its mark in the current cinematic climate, The Incredibles 2 had to find a way to elevate its family-friendly content without losing its family-friendly audience.
In what ways have you been able to adapt your content to meet the needs of your growing audience? With each passing year, they are growing in needs, expectations, insight and age. You must adapt your content to the changing climate if you want to stay afloat. Otherwise, your online presence will sink, and your competitors will sail right past you.
Always Leave Room for Questions
You may not want to create a follow-up to your follow-up. Perhaps you have a “one and done” or “two and through” mentality when it comes to your content. Either way, you should always leave room for more questions. Hollywood thrives off the concept that you should always leave the audience wanting more even if you have no more to give them. This allows the audience to wonder what the filmmaker will do next even if their film concluded with no thought of a sequel.
When you are working on your content, strive to find ways to leave your audience with more questions either about your content or your brand.
The Incredibles 2 left moviegoers with questions and thoughts about what The Incredibles 3 would feature (if it is ever made). What questions are asked about your brand and content through your past work?
Make sure that your content is consistent and continuous, grows with and adapts to your audience and always leaves room for questions. Doing so will ensure that your audience continues to view your content as being, well…incredible.
Chief Content Officer
Annie has over 20 years of experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.
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