When I was in high school, I took 2 years of video production. I loved every minute of it. I finally had an outlet for all of my crazy ideas. The empowerment that comes from expression has a huge positive impact on my self esteem. I probably published about 15 short films in the course of that career. During the class, I did everything film related: Camera work, editing, directing, … and yes acting. Last night I watched those videos. It was painful to watch. I watched more of them through the cracks in my fingers than I would for a horror film. It was objectively embarrassing. The movies were so abysmally poor quality! Ugh! I’m face-palming myself now just thinking about it. How could I be so awkward! You can see how forced everything looks! You can barely hear the dialog over the whirring of the camera motor since someone forgot to bring a microphone! Amateur mistakes left and right!
The reality is that I’m being too hard on myself.
We have an evolution to follow. It’s like a ladder. You start at the bottom rung and work your way up. You start by embarrassing yourself and you slowly, slowly stop embarrassing yourself with enough practice. It’s unfair of me now to think that I should have avoided this mistake or that mistake. Ultimately, those mistakes were necessary. In fact, if you lined up all of my movies back to back, you could see definite progress.
We’re often illusioned by professionals. You never see them make mistakes. You don’t see is them when they are amateurs. No one gets to be a professional without being an amateur.
Here’s the real question: in what ways am I beating myself up unfairly now, today, because of the mistakes that I’m making? In 10 years I’ll look back and cringe. But surely in 3o years, I’ll look back and laugh.
Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy.