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Friday Frivolity – Star Wars and the Curse of Knowledge

As communicators, we are sometimes so close to a story, product or social media tool that we have a hard time explaining it to someone “on the outside.” But we should always be keeping our target audience in mind as we write, present, and network. What do these people know right now? What am I hoping they’ll know when I’m done talking? How do I bridge the two?

In Made to Stick, the authors Dan and Chip Heath refer to the Curse of Knowledge in their story about Tappers and Learners (read exerpt). I think of this every time I explain or present anything anymore. Sometimes knowing too much becomes a hindrance – your job is to not get trapped by the Curse of Knowledge.

But sometimes it’s just funny, as seen in this hilarious video: 
Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn’t seen it) by Joe Nicolosi

My friend Amanda had never seen a whole Star Wars film. When I asked her if she wanted to watch the original trilogy she said that she would, but that she already knew what happens. So I took out my voice recorder and asked her to start from the top. I then created some very basic animation in Final Cut to go along with her narration.

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2 Responses

  1. Luke, this is a VERY funny video, but it also makes a really interesting point to me. This person had never seen the films, but she had a reasonable understanding of the plot points just from their pop-cultural impact.

    She knew the characters and their attributes, and she was right more often than she was wrong. Hans Solo excluded.

    I think of this as a real-life example of how stories are passed on. And of course, you could also make an interesting case for the mythopoetic archetypes that Lucas exploited in the trilogy, but I’ll leave that for another geeky PhD student.

  2. Hans, I mean Bob,

    You’re right on with your assessment. She WAS right more often than not. If only we could provide that sort of good coverage for our clients all the time. Haven’t seen the commercial, but know most everything there is to know from word of mouth? Awesome.

    Also, you lost me at mythopoetic. Is that more like myopsychopathy or omnipercipience?

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