The other day, I was scrolling through social media. That was my first mistake. My second, was I happened upon a video of a show I was in not too long ago. It was a great show. Unique and fun and widely received as an instant classic. But my mistake wasn’t being in the show. It was watching the video of my performance.
There I was, on a stage in a professional and well respected theatre, doing my thing. But what I saw was something I didn’t even think was possible.
I sucked so bad!
No joke. It was so, SO bad! My pacing was off, my walking was lumbered, my projection was lacking, my accent was horrid. A lemur on crack could’ve turned in a more convincing performance in the dark and underwater. I watched in shock and sadness as the video rolled on. Fortunately, the section I watched was only about a minute long. Any longer and I could’ve thrown my phone outside the window of my third-story apartment and then run downstairs to step on it and let my dog defecate on it.
It was that video, and the embarrassed and sad feelings after, that clearly put me in the company of those performers who are always saying they never watch their work.
But then it hit me.
If I had never seen it, and felt the way I did at that moment, would I have learned anything?
Sure, there was the feeling of wanting to quit this Show-Business thing and finally take that job as a railroad brakeman somewhere in the Southwest, smoke unfiltered cigarettes and drink White Dog to fall asleep and drown out the memories.
But then I got an idea. Learn from this.
You don’t know it all. You’re not as amazing as you think you are, but you’re not as bad as you think you are also. You are on a journey and not every step is going to be perfect. In fact, no step is going to be perfect. But you don’t leave the journey. You just keep going.
Since that day of watching that video, I’ve watched it again several times. Because I am in the mindset to improve. Maybe I wasn’t as bad as I think I was. Lots of folks said I did a great job, and I don’t think they were just being nice.
But I want to get better. To be the best Artist I can be. So I watch and learn.