I have been listening to Sam Jones’ Podcast Off Camera for almost a week straight. All of the actors and directors are incredibly inspiring. Connie Briiton (from Friday Night Lights and Nashville) had a great conversation with Sam that really stuck with me and I realize it is exactly why I am taking on the Slice of Life Challenge. http://offcamera.com/issues/connie-britton/listen/#.VtL1KZMrLBI
Connie Britton: “If you are working in a place that you feel empowered and there is a really strong sense of trust with everyone you are working with then you can push really far… that’s when things get interesting. “
Sam Jones: “That’s death, right? If you are not in an environment that scares or challenges you?”
I’ve taken on many challenges before and it is true, it is the things that scare us or make us uncomfortable where we are able to grow the most. It’s interesting to reflect back on when I have taken on other challenges similar to Slice of Life.
Six years ago I found myself in a similar situation. A teacher teaching across the hall from me popped in my room one afternoon and asked if I wanted to be in a play.
“A play?” I asked, wondering what she was working on with her students.
“Yes, my husband and I are trying to start a theater company. We just need one more person for our play and you would be perfect!”
Immediately I said no. That I totally couldn’t do. A play??? Me? I was in summer theater in high school, but only as a dancer in the chorus. Acting? Saying lines? Yikes! It was just too unbelievable to consider.
A day or 2 went by and the play kept creeping up in my thoughts. It was the 2nd year I was living in South Texas, thousands of miles from anything I was used to. I began to think that this would be a great way to make some new friends and have something else to do after school. I started thinking, well, why not?
I did the play. It was called “Dead to the Last Drop” and it was a comedy and murder mystery. My character was the person who sang and played guitar so terribly that she was murdered. Not only did I have lines to say, but I had to sing! It truly was terrifying and uncomfortable. It took weeks for me to finally begin to gain any confidence. Everyone else in the cast was so welcoming and it didn’t seem to matter that I was not an actor. There were 3 performances and a lot of people from the community were there. My boyfriend (now husband) flew in from Boston for one of the performances. And I did it. I sang and acted. And then it was over, PHEW!
My husband will still ask, “so why did you do that play if it made you uncomfortable?” It is true, acting on a stage is not for me, but the entire experience was wonderful. It was the entire experience of rehearsals, trying something new, and creating something with supportive people that made such an impact. It is the exact same philosophy for why I run marathons. It is not running the actual race that is fun, it is the 4 months of disciplined training that pushes you further each day.
I realize I crave low risk challenges like these that cause me to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. So recently it started again. A teacher that teaches across the hall from me popped in to say,
“Hey, want to try a writing challenge every day during March AND you have to post it on a public blog?” My first responses were exactly the same as being asked about the play. “NO WAY! I’m not a writer!” And then, true to my nature, after thinking about it for some time, I realize YES! This is going to be scary and uncomfortable, but maybe I will learn something about myself, interact with a supportive community, and try something new. Besides, being a writer will help me be a much better writing teacher and setting forth to tackle this challenge will be great to share and inspire my students to try new things.
So Slice of Life Challenge… bring it on! I’m ready!