Lights, camera, stage fright

There’s something to be said for launching yourself right out of your comfort box.

Last night I helped with a public-TV fundraiser, a live program auctioning Valentine’s Day gifts.

All I had to do was stand in front of a camera and read bits of script about great trips and baskets and whatnot that viewers could bid on.

Not that hard, right? I’m a native speaker of the English language. I should be able to read something out loud and improvise a little without high-centering.

You would think.

Only it’s harder than it looks, as things usually are. Also, if you read last week’s column, you know I’m a listener, not a talker. Patter doesn’t come easily and selling things is nothing I’ve ever done. I get stage fright even if I’m familiar with an audience. Last but truly not least, I don’t own the right shade of lipstick to be on television.

I stammered and stalled and forgot where I was, off and on for three hours, but everyone in the studio was extremely nice about it. They gave helpful hints, broad cues and lots of encouragement. Nobody yelled “dead air!” I didn’t kick over my water bottle or walk away with the mike-cable hookup doodad.

We had fun and made a little money for local public television, which was, after all, the point.

Still, it was uncomfortable. When I said yes, I knew I’d stress. I didn’t want to embarrass myself, but more importantly, I didn’t want to embarrass the nice people who asked me to be useful.

Why did I agree anyway?

Because it’s important to stretch. Stretching teaches us we still can learn new things and do hard things, that we have strengths and weaknesses, that not only are we not perfect, we don’t have to be perfect, because people are kind and will help us, and will let us off the hook.

Even when they don’t laugh at us, it’s healthy to get a chance to laugh at ourselves. The hardest thing we ever have to learn to do is sacrifice our egos.

To fail a little and survive is to succeed. When we put ourselves out there and take personal risks, and live through them, our self-reliance meter kicks up a notch toward “fearless.”

To stretch is to grow, and to grow is to live fully, and to live fully we have to learn to get over ourselves.



Posted by Donald Aye at February 10, 2006 03:24 PM

It's OK, Kelly Brewer, you did just fine. Remember, the more often you do it ,the better you will become. Before I owned a computer, I couldn't even sepll.

Posted by Erin Friedman at February 10, 2006 09:00 PM

I believe that the deer-in-the-headlights look was invented by a middle-aged woman -- "I"m willing to face my fears, and -- check this out! -- I'm truly scared to death."

I believe we need to face our fears in order to grow; and at middle age, so many women I know are very willing to face their fears, to grow, to try new things, to set aside all expectations and to jump into the fray.

Not a bad way to face whatever's coming our way.

Posted by Dugan Barr at February 10, 2006 10:08 PM

I have been auctionering, off and on, for Ch 9, man and boy for 38 years. We used to have to drive to Chico to do it because that was where the studio was. A doctor wrote a book about how to most effectively pack a U-Haul truck and got some vanity press outfit to print a bunch of copies. I got handed 100 copies of this to sell. I allowed as how only the most agile viewers would be able to get this important reference work for a measly $5. But the supply was limited. If you snooze, you lose. Prostitution City. Sold 90 copies.


No comments:

Post a Comment