I am glad to know that J.J. Abrams is as big an Apple geek as I am, and that I am not alone in my secret obsession of watching Steve Jobs keynote addresses. I think Mr. Abrams mentions one of the most powerful story principles of filmmaking, namely, the technique of keeping an audience looking forward, worried about the future. Hooking them to the characters and problems in Act I, and then slowly allowing the audience to experience the tension and anxiety of the unknown all through Act II.
We Crave Stability
Human beings are creatures that crave stability and predictability in their lives, so by nature, a film that suspends their sense of stability is a powerful technique for winning their emotional, psychological, and physiological buy-in during Act I. This allows them to feel vested in the characters and their predicament. It gives them just enough information to keep them on edge, with the natural human craving for more stability and predictability within the plot-line, but the only way they can get back to predictability is to engage in the ride and hope within the realm of the unknown. They have to experience the film in order to receive the stability. Steven Spielberg was a genius with this technique in Jurassic Park.
Life by nature is rather unstable, we just experience it at a slower pace than the time dimension of a film, so stability appears to be present, but in all reality the law of entropy suggests that all things are in a gradual decline, a film just heightens the circumstances of life and compresses the time it occurs in, which is why a film is much like a dream, an escape, an intense human experience. It’s a window to experience life from a bird’s eye view.
Thanks for the mystery Mr. Abrams, I’m still hoping to really know what the island in Lost really was, but I guess that would destroy the magic, it would take away the mystery.