There I was, standing in front of my classmates at film school. Their mouths agape. My teacher looking at me, like I was insane, as I dove into the pitch.
'Family legends. Mine being whether I am related to Mel Gibson or not. The journey I would take to find out the truth.'
Yes, I really did that. I screwed any courage I had into a tight ball and threw myself at this bizarre pantomime.
In all honesty, I was slightly terrified. Not of whether I thought the film could work, of course. I was confident in the concept.
I was worried about embarrassing myself.
I look back on it and now and I am absolutely certain I did, in fact. But I also look back now and think, 'so what?'
Too often when I am speaking to people about their work, they clearly have the capability to do something incredible, but they hold back. It is not for lack of work ethic. Ultimately, it always comes down to two words: "how embarrassing".
Ironically, embarrassment is not something that can be forced upon you. You ALLOW yourself to feel embarrassed.
Why is that important?
Because it means the only thing holding you back from doing something totally remarkable, is you. Your pride is an anchor around your neck.
When Shakespeare was at his most successful, in Elizabethan England, women were not allowed to perform on the stage. Boys played the women's parts instead. Did these actors have time to be embarrassed?
No. They were too busy performing the work of the greatest playwrite of all time, at the peak of his powers.
Can you imagine the conversation if they bowed to pride? "Sorry Mr Shakespeare, but I would be too embarrassed to perform the lead for you. Will Romeo become available soon?"
To hell with your pride. Be passionate! Do your best work, even if (no, especially if) it means going out on a limb.
Imagine how good your presentation/film/email/report/tender/etc can be if you stop worrying about being embarrassed and just made it great?
Yes, it means taking a risk.
Yes, I may have made a fool of myself. In a kilt.
I may have been embarrassed, even if only for a moment.
But, I was also selected.
'Chasing Mel', directed by Pete Ireland.
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