The Full Zapruder

Don't Get Stuck Analyzing Every Frame

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Jim Wegerbauer Jim Wegerbauer
No, a Full Zapruder is not a wrestling move. As you may remember, Abraham Zapruder was the man who just happened to capture the most-thorough film footage of the Kennedy assassination. (Imagine that scene today and the controversy that would come with video from all those iPhones.) A fact that has made the "Zapruder Film" the most analyzed piece of video ever.

Over and over, frame by frame, countless hours have been spent analyzing a few fleeting seconds. Many still believe that somewhere in that film are great secrets yet to be revealed. Most of these folks are nothing less than crackpots who manage to find great mysteries in their own navel lint.

Unfortunately, many business decisions are given this same kind of scrutiny -- crossing the line between thinking and overthinking.

Having worked in advertising for most of my work career, I have been a firsthand witness to such aggravating situations. Frame by frame, commercials are dissected like an autopsy corpse. A fitting analogy, because after such treatment, most spots finish dead on arrival.

Most film consists of 24 frames per second -- each frame passing in less than the blink of an eye. Yet I've seen hours devoted to moving one or two frames here and there while the main idea behind the commercial gets lost in the minutiae of the edit.

This same process replicates itself in boardrooms and offices across the country. People lose the Big Idea by pulling a Full Zapruder -- the act of losing the Big Picture by focusing too intently on each and every detail, instead of the big picture. An all too easy thing to do at a small agency.

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