So. It’s been a while. My not-really-well-thought-out gun-ho foray into blog writing started with an enthusiasm that probably could never have been sustained, and then petered into a whimper of rather dull topics and absolute avoidance.
But, crisis of confidence drives me back to hiding behind the written word – in an attempt to save my teeth, if not my sanity.
So, there I was, minding my own business in life, when I get an email. From a documentary producer. Out of the blue. The nub of which is “we’re making a documentary – and we’d love you to take part”.
So curiosity gets the better of me, mixed in with a rather British politeness, and off I go to meet with lovely sounding people for a rather nice breakfast meeting in Hollywood. My (slightly hungover) intentions were to find out a little more, be indulged in what sounded like a rather nice brunch and say ‘thanks but no thanks’.
Now I’m aware I live in the film making capital of the entire universe – okay – that might not strictly be true these days given the rather dull subject of tax breaks (or lack of) for film makers which means they’d be better off thumbing a lift to Michigan. But still – I reckon that quite a lot of people here probably wouldn’t say no to a bit of screen time. Especially when you don’t even need to learn any lines – and just get to waffle on about stuff.
And these producers were as lovely in the flesh as they sounded on email. In fact, what was going to be a short meeting, turned into a three hour long festival of words. The producers were engaging and charming, they clearly cared deeply for their subject matter, and were supportive about what my participation would involve. So I changed my mind – and said ‘probably’.
Now doing this would mean a lot to subject of the documentary, and the producers feel I could contribute a unique perspective. All very nice. But the whole thing has sent me into a nervous tailspin. I have avoided confirming arrangements about filming to the point where I can’t avoid it anymore. In fact, being asked to be involved has opened a whole can of worms I didn’t even know was a can of worms. And anxiety has kicked in to the point when I’m sleeping badly, grinding my teeth and have a nagging sense of doom hanging over me.
I’m sure appearing in a movie isn’t supposed to feel like this. Not that I would know – I think I am the only one in this town who hasn’t been on film. Although – that’s not strictly true – but appearing on the local news for quirky soundbites is one thing. This is whole new ballgame. This is the big league. And I am thoroughly unprepared for stepping up to this plate.
But – oh my god – what on earth do I talk about? I’ve done speeches for huge audiences – but that’s easy when you know that you know more than anyone else in the room and have a specific topic to stick too.
So (and this really is totally sad), I came up with a list of questions, sat down on my own, asked them to myself and tried to answer them as if I was being filmed. I sincerely hope that no-one overheard me. I sounded like a fool. I tried to be witty which just came across as insincere and juvenile. I tried to be serious – that just came across as pious and depressing. I tried to be boring. That one worked well.
As that wasn’t working, and was actually having the reverse affect on my confidence than I was intending, I decided to compile a list of anecdotes that maybe got across what I should be saying. I think that was even worse. Especially as I had to ease in to that bit with a glass of wine or two thinking that would lighten things up a bit. My increasing panic, mixed with a cheeky glass of rose, just meant I just started to ramble to myself, pretty much to the point of incoherence. Every anecdote seemed inappropriate. I came across as insincere and vacuous, and looked like a charmless silly fool.
So. I’d figured out that if I couldn’t actually speak and say anything of interest, maybe I could at least work out where I should be filmed, and what I should look like – perhaps once I felt confident about that, I would calm down a little and then be able to relax into talking slightly more coherently.
But vanity is a total bitch. The prospect of being on film has coincided with an intolerance to sugar, mixed-in with a newly found sweet tooth from trying to give up alcohol and cigarettes. So, think 15 year old pubescent boy’s acned skin with some added middle-aged lines. I have no idea how to really wear make-up and my hair never quite recovered from the whole catching-fire-at-2am saga. Most of my clothes seem totally inappropriate. I know because I have tried most of them on. And they now lay in a huge guilt-inducing pile on my floor.
So – to cut a very long story short. I will look and sound silly. And it will be captured for all eternity on film.
I’ve over-thought this to the point where I don’t even think I can do this now. And I have turned into the uncommunicative interviewee from hell.
But a bit of personal humiliation versus doing something that will mean so much to the subject means that I need to get over myself and just do it. And maybe hope that it all just ends up on the cutting room floor. So what if I look and sound ridiculous, it’s not about me – and I’ve turned it into all about me. How selfish am I?
I’m terrified. And I’m a wimp. And I’m selfish. And this is my way of making myself do it. Which I hope is going to be slightly more successful than walking around my apartment talking to myself.
Dammit – if I can jump out of a plane at 15,000 feet, I can damn well sit in front of a camera and talk. And if I can do this, and face more fears than I could ever possibly list, then I reckon that I could probably do anything. I used to be fearless. I want my fearlessness back, and maybe, just maybe, doing this is the first step I need to take.
Wish me luck… I am seriously going to need it.