Ideas are like children. We create them and it’s up to us to nourish and help them grow into admirable and respectable beings.
I don’t know about you, but I personally love watching blooper reels from TV shows and movies. It’s nice to see the imperfections in performances before the piece gets polished up into consumable perfection. But while it is enjoyable to watch highly skilled and highly paid actors mess up their lines, break character, and fumble over their words, it is often hard to look at our own mistakes with the same amusement.
Why is that? I think I’m starting figure out what it is about blooper reels that make them so appealing, and before I shed my thoughts on that that, allow me to share the process that sparked my revelation.
Today, I am trying to edit my BSBS Review for The Girl on the Train and the whole recording process took about an hour and a half to do last night. This includes me gaining momentum in delivering my point, only to lose steam, delete the recording, and start all over again. The more I record, the more I have to edit, and I often fear that process.
It’s the same almost every time; I feel like I need to get it right the first time or I shouldn’t keep the recording. Then I eventually tell myself that this is what I have editing software for! To cut through the awkward pauses between my points and compress them together in a deliverable format. Even then, it’s a battle between getting it perfect and getting it done.
When it comes time to editing, that’s where the real fun begins. That’s where I can create the illusion that I am a coherent speaker who can stay on point and deliver my message clearly and concisely–when in reality, everything that happened in between some of the cuts is anything but concise, clear, or coherent.
The more mistakes there are, the more shame I feel about it. I have all these thoughts and opinions about a story locked up in my head, all begging to be expressed or it’s going to bug me for not being able to share it. Having difficulty in conveying my thoughts adds to the pressure of wondering if it’s even worth doing these reviews considering that my videos have had hit or miss engagement in terms of viewership, comments, and likes.
Did I Really Just Say That?!
After an hour or two of editing the initial recording and cringing at my mistakes, I eventually start laughing at myself for not only the bloopers, but also laughing at how stressed out I get from them. I know it’s horrible, but I often compare my moments of impeded speech to the way that Jimmy Valmer kid from South Park stutters when he speaks. Sometimes to the point of taking a whole minute to say a simple five word sentence. And Jimmy has it worse!
When I’m finally done experiencing all this creative mania, I relax and decide to just get the job done.
It’s not about the viewership, the likes, or even the comments–though of course, these are things I would greatly appreciate. It’s more about me having fun with reading these books and giving myself the treat of watching it all play out on the big screen. Not to mention the chance to goof off on camera and deliver my thoughts in a place that doesn’t remain stuck in my head are huge pluses.
- The first recording gets edited to completion and uploaded anyway. I realize it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.
- The first recording gets edited to completion, but it still sucks despite my attempts at polishing it up. I see it as a rough draft/rehearsal to show me where I can improve in the re-recording.
- Right away, I see how horrible it’s going to be. At least I don’t have to fear messing up THAT badly again, and I can jump back into the studio with much more confidence! I know I can do better, so I’ll do better.
Cut! Action! Print!
I’ve been doing BSBS Reviews for 9 months now and this is how it’s been for me. Today, I resolve to accept it as all part of the process. As much as I would like to get it all right the first time, it is incredibly rare for me to record a 15 minute video with not much editing required vs the usual 30-60+ messy minute mania.
Maybe one day I’ll be able to deliver my point without any editing and master this lip flapping, tongue slapping, noise making device installed in my face. Until then, I’ll keep practising and polishing up my craft. I will accept that this may be my process for now or forever.
This is what made me realize why blooper reels are so fun to watch. There’s humility in showcasing some of the mistakes actors have made before post-production. It’s to show that they’re human too and just trying to find their way through the scene.
After all the missed cue lines and involuntary laughter, they eventually get it done. And more importantly, even though there is work to be done, the production can still have fun in the process. It’s nice to hear laughter erupting in the background from the people who are off screen, along with the ones on screen, because that signals to us that it’s okay to make mistakes and try again.
We just have to keep working at it until we get it right. If we care enough about what we want to create in our lives, we push through all the difficulty and learn from our mistakes. After all, every expert out there was once an awkward novice. No one is born skilled. Talented maybe, but I agree with Will Smith when he says talents are useless until you practise to turn them into skills.
The final product may be close to perfect, but the process doesn’t have to be. Creation is usually a messy experience, but that’s where the fun is at!