I can’t believe it’s almost been 25 years since the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released. It was funny, it was edgy, and some people would argue that it spurred a renewed interest in animated films.
Despite all of the accolades, there’s one legacy from that film that really interests me: “Bump the Lamp.”
You may recall a one-minute scene in the film where the characters Eddie Valiant and Roger Rabbit struggle to break free from the handcuffs that were keeping them attached at the wrists. As they struggled to saw off the handcuffs, an overhead lamp keeps getting bumped by the characters’ heads. No big deal, right?
The animators of the film realized that the swinging lamp added an element of drama to the scene. However, it wouldn’t look real unless they could make the beam of light radiate from the lamp and cast moving shadows on the actors and animated characters. That swinging beam of light was going to require a tremendous amount of time to edit, but it was worth it to them in order to make the scene look realistic.
From this, the “Bump the Lamp” concept was born. If a certain detail would enhance the story or experience, it had to be included regardless of the time or effort required.
Think Outside the Box Office
Disney is notorious for embracing the importance of details. While some of the details may not be immediately perceptible to the human senses, they’re required in order to fully immerse the audience into a story.
How can an obsession over details help us improve our careers or businesses? Let’s look at a few examples:
1) There’s a Chinese restaurant near my house that’s constantly packed. The food is great, the prices are reasonable, and the service is top-notch. What makes the service top-notch? I’m glad you asked! If you order an appetizer, they will serve you a small cup of lemon sherbet when you’re done. It’s literally two spoonfuls of sherbet, but it’s just enough to cleanse your palette before the main course arrives. At the end of the meal, they’ll give you a piping hot towel to wipe your hands (although I’ve seen people lay them over their entire face like they’re getting one of those old-fashioned shaves from a barbershop). Those are very small gestures, but they make you feel like royalty.
2) When I take my wife’s car in for service, the dealership always washes her car and vacuums the interior before returning it to me. It doesn’t matter if I’m paying for a large repair or just an oil change; they always clean the car for me. When I drive off their lot, I feel like I’m driving a different car than the one I arrived in. For me, it takes the sting out of going to a dealership for repairs.
3) I recently bought a suit from a gentleman that seemed to really love selling menswear. This wasn’t his job, it was his passion. After talking to him, I started to share some of his passion for wearing nice suits. That passion was sparked even more when I picked up the suit after it was tailored. I looked inside the suit jacked and he had a label sewn in that said: “Custom Tailored for Derek Hoffman.” Wow! That probably cost him $5 or $10, but that was such a cool touch. Can you guess my level of interest in giving him repeat business and glowing referrals? Yep, pretty high!
If you’re looking for ways to stand out in your career, or have your business knock out the competition, think about the ways you can bump your own lamp. A little extra effort can go a long way in connecting others with the story you’re trying to tell.