5 min read

Creating and Seeking Resonance

Creating and Seeking Resonance
Photo by Product School / Unsplash

How do you know if you like something? If you should consider, change, or take action? If it’s something that someone like you should pay attention to or make space for in your life?

I’ve thought about this a lot. Why is Hot Fuzz my favorite movie? Why did I go and see The Dark Knight seven times in theaters? Why do I choose to work as a film producer, write books, and serve creators through this business?

The answer is: resonance.

We all have values that make up who we are. We might value time, or entertainment, or success, or money, or family, or service, or fame - likely it’s some unique combination of all of these things in different order and amounts for each and every one of us.

My brother, for example, takes pride in the fact that he’s never seen a Star Wars movie. So in that part of his life, he values his uniqueness (our family loves Star Wars), his position, his stance on the franchise. Interesting. What else could he be valuing over the obvious joy he would get from sitting down and watching these classic movies?

That introduces the reality of a hierarchy of values. We may say we value both our safety and adventure. Those two things are at odds when presented with an opportunity to go skydiving. Which do you value more? Adventure (go skydiving) or safety (stay home)?

Whether you know it or not, your business possesses a set of values that people can see or feel when they interact with it. The mistakes I see business owners and creators make time and time again is either ignoring those values or letting them form on their own. This leads to values like sameness, where your business feels like another one of these.

When people are seeking a solution to a problem, they aren’t looking for a general or “one-of-many” solution. They’re looking for a solution that resonates with their values.

For example - in the month of October there are dozens of movies released in theaters. In 2023, you had the typical horror/thriller releases like Five Nights at Freddy’s, The Exorcist: Believer, Saw X, and The Killer. Then you’ve got a smattering of other releases like Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, Paw Patrol, Killers of the Flower Moon, The Burial, Pain Hustlers, and Priscilla.

So, in a month where you’d assume that “Halloween-season” movies would take over, which movies were seen by the largest audiences?

Here’s the ranking at the time of this writing:

Taylor Swift - $150,000,000
Five Nights At Freddy’s - $90,000,000
The Exorcist: Believer - $60,000,000
Paw Patrol - $45,000,000
Killers of the Flower Moon - $43,000,000

Three of the top five movies are non-Halloween themed, the #1 movie is a concert tour, #4 is an animated family film, and the 5th is a prestige drama.


Resonance. All within the same industry - film - you have five different movies with different values created for different audiences. Even the two horror/thriller movies are made for different audiences - Five Nights is PG-13 and based off of a video game series that expanded to novels, while The Exorcist: Believer is the sixth film in the Exorcist franchise, produced by Blumhouse and rated R.

You can even see the effect of resonance within a single franchise. (Star Wars, anyone?)

How do we, then, apply this principle to your creative business? There are a few steps involved:

  1. Decide your values
  2. Share them publicly
  3. Put them into the work you make

It starts at the beginning of any creative project or business. What are you trying to say? What kind of change do you want to make in the people who come in contact with it?

Then it’s about sharing those values when you talk about your business and the work you’re making. When sharing the behind-the-scenes photos of our movies, we get to choose which photos to share - the ones with the huge crew and the crazy amount of equipment, or the closeup of an actor who is sharing a real emotion with us, or the food, or the location... all of these are values presented to the world over social media.

Those values get put into the work you make each and every day. That’s why it’s so important that you do it consciously.

As you put your work out into the world, it instantly resonates with the people you made it for, or gets ignored by the people who it doesn’t resonate with. Your job is to make sure that the people you made it for can tell in the first moment that you made it for them. You want your work to resonate with the people you made it for, and you do that by making sure the values you stand for are front and center.


Take a look at a current or recent project. What values do you want to share with the people you made it for? Ask yourself - and ideally your audience - if those values are present. Ask them what is resonating with them. If you don’t get any responses or the answers are different than what you’d hoped, then you have an opportunity to adjust and be more intentional about how you talk about and promote your work, and the way you create it as well.

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