Today I learned a sitcom my wife and I have been watching had a laugh track all along, despite my suddenly noticing it and being totally offended by the dumb inclusion of a laugh track in a modern sitcom. It had just … vanished beneath my level of awareness.
The creative lesson I took from this Noticing is that perception is highly influenced by our expectations, prior experiences, and the context in which we engage with content. Just as I didn't notice the laugh track initially but then was startled by it later, creators should be aware of how subtle changes (or even consistent elements) can have different impacts on different audiences at different times, no matter whether they’re consistent or not. Human attention is, it turns out, malleable, and even a constant element in a story might be perceived differently based on the viewer's state of mind or context. Creators should remember that predictability isn't always guaranteed, and audiences can surprise you with what they notice … and what they overlook.
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Listening to the Art of Noticing podcast is only one way to get these lessons. Every episode of the podcast also has a complete companion blog post, all of which you can find here.