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Season 3, Episode 10:

“Fly”

No spoilers here.  

Just a valuable copywriting tactic you can (and should) start using immediately…

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“Fly” starts like every other Breaking Bad episode.

It starts with an opener, a short scene before the intro sequence.

Breaking Bad openers often use narrative techniques (e.g., flashforwards, flashbacks, In Medias Res) to incite intense curiosity and suspense.

But this particular opener uses another attention-ensnaring tactic: conTRAST.

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Step 1: Imagine it.

Imagine the opener starts and…

All you SEE is ultra-zoomed-in footage of a house fly. It’s very close. You can see every hair, every individual hex on its massive compound eyeballs.

It’s cleaning itself the way flys do,
meticulously,
moving quickly and deliberately.

It’s horrid.

All you HEAR, meanwhile, is a woman’s voice in the background. She’s reciting a lullaby the way mothers do, gently, singing slowly and softly:

Hush, little baby, don't say a word.
Mama’s gonna buy you a mah-king bird.
And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
Mama’s gonna buy you a die-mond ring.

It’s soothing.

Step 2: Watch it.

30 seconds…

 

It’s just there, horrid and soothing at once — and you can’t stop watching.

Now consider this:

On its own…

Footage of a fly cleaning itself isn’t that compelling.

Audio of a lullaby isn’t either.

But put them together and some strange alchemy happens.

Like 1 + 1 = 3.

Contrast gets attention.

Clashing words and/or concepts and/or colors and/or images create drama and energy and, sometimes, even shock:

  • BIG+small

  • light+dark

  • loooooooong+shrt

  • clean+diRtY

Horrid+Soothing

Together, each works to highlight the other.

So…

Whenever you need to command attention — whether you’re writing an email or filming a show — create contrast.


LEARN TO PERSUADE

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MARKET BETTER.
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Judge not lest ye be judged.

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