I was listening to a podcast last week and the actor Jason Isaacs mentioned how the first 20 minutes of films have changed. In the not too distant past, people would settle into the cinema and the film makers had 20 minutes to get people familiar with the background and context.
We’re now in a world where a film might be released in the cinema, on Blu-Ray, home streaming and television at the same time (A Field in England is a recent example of this).
Consequently, there’s a need to keep the watcher’s attention before they switch to a mobile phone, film guide, or other distraction.
When we had people in a classroom for 6 hours, we were able to settle them into the space and build layers of context. In the online face to face world, we’re competing with more distractions. You don’t have the time to create context you did in the past. If you do, make sure you have people’s attention from the start or you’ll lose them to the regular and more urgent diversions.