You can almost hear the hamster wheel turning...

You can almost hear the hamster wheel turning…

A while back I participated in a behavioral study in which the researchers needed to cause us subjects to experience some stress so that they could see how we responded to different experiences. They accomplished this by asking us to stand on a stage in front of a darkened auditorium and do timed math problems in our heads while a clock loudly ticked down the seconds while we tried to sort out an answer. It worked. If I were to hazard a guess I would guess that it probably works on just about everybody. Not everybody is good at doing math in their head and not everybody is comfortable being onstage, so I would guess that the chances of finding somebody who doesn’t get stressed out by having to do both is probably very slim.

For the most part, I don’t have a problem with being on stage or with public speaking. This is why I volunteered to do most of the talking in the thank-you speeches after the final screening of our film on Saturday night. The screening was a big success and the response to all the films was very positive. It was edifying to have all of our hard work pay off at long last. But the success of the films themselves, was somewhat overshadowed by the thank you speeches at the end.

I had asked the actors to come to the front of the auditorium so that we could present our three leading ladies with flowers for their hard work. This accomplished, I invited the core crew members to come to the front of the auditorium as well to be acknowledged. As I was about to continue with my remarks, I was interrupted by a gal that I recognized as being a friend of the project’s original director.

“And why don’t you thank [the director] who’s work you’re taking credit for?” She demanded.

She said some other things too, but I was so surprised at the time that I don’t actually remember them.

It was true: the project had begun with a different  director than we finished it with- an uncomfortable bump along the way that had given our film a reputation for being a bit of a problem child. I don’t know all the details of what caused the original director to be unable to continue with us aside from the blandly ubiquitous “creative differences” so I wasn’t planning on mentioning it as part of the remarks at the end, but we’d made a concerted effort to include a section of thanks for his hard work in our credits.

The woman was continuing. I was close enough to hear what she was saying, but without a microphone it is difficult for me to know how much the rest of the audience was able to hear of her comments. I didn’t know what to do, so I did what I do best in a panic situation: I froze. The wheels spun in my head for a few minutes as she had her say and I was suddenly aware that the audience was on my side and that I didn’t need to do anything but wait for her to finish.

Apparently, my moment of shock came across as a moment of poise. The woman finished her statements and began to retreat up the side aisle on her own accord. I’m not sure what I would have done if she had tried to grab the microphone from me or if she hadn’t decided to walk away when she did, and so I keep replaying the incident in my head as a sort of case-study for future reference. After that revelation- audible to the audience or not- it seemed like a good idea to acknowlege our rough production process and then to get the subject around to our new director as quickly as possible so that he could say his thanks as well.

The rest of the evening went without incident.


~ by Gwydhar Gebien on December 15, 2014.

2 Responses to “Finally”

  1. Yikes! Talk about throwing you into the spotlight! Glad you handled it well 🙂

  2. Poised! That is you!

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