June 4th, 2012
Well, not really. It’s just that every now and then I like to give a nod to the several people or companies who’ve supported my site through ads and product reach-outs. Since this isn’t the kind of blog that runs sponsored posts (very often) or even acknowledges its advertisers on a regular basis (I spent too much time as an editor at a trade magazine that blurred the ad-editorial line, which forever tainted my soul), I like to tell stories about my relationships with brands instead. This is one such story.
I was about to embark upon something new. So unexpected, so foreign, so out-of-my-comfort-zone I feared I couldn’t — and shouldn’t — do it. I mean, I absolutely love learning and stretching my wings, but this time I wasn’t sure I could pull it off — there were too many people depending on me to know WHAT I was doing when truthfully, I didn’t have the foggiest idea how to proceed. Not even a germ of an idea, because see…
I had to direct a show.
I mean, I direct people all the time in my head. If you ask my husband, he’d probably tell you I’m an excellent director with standout skills in bossy bootery. This time though, I was directing something that didn’t require a Ph.D in Yelling and Do What I Say. This wasn’t my family, this was A SHOW. In case you needed the word capitalized and shoved in your face. Oh, and just you wait! I’m going to bold it, too: A SHOW.
This wasn’t just any show, this was a web series I’d co-written with my pal that featured professional actors and competent people who knew what they were doing because they’d been performing for years. Yet here I was, a newbie with only words to wield, who by default and because I’d helped write the script and held the show’s vision in my heart and mind for more than a year and really, besides me and my writing partner, who else could do the script justice and retain the vibe of the series and oh my God, I totally talked myself into directing.
It also really helped when my co-writer-in-crime kept telling me: “Stop saying what you CAN’T do, and just do it! And for God’s sake SHUT UP and stop vocally bolding ‘A SHOW’.”
So I did. I closed my mouth and mind to the morale-destroying and soul-busting “I can’t,” and proceeded right straight on ahead. Many times, the actors came up with better stage direction than I did or shouted, “Who’s the director here?” or bit their tongues when I called “ACTION,” only to mean “YOU HAVE A BOOGER IN YOUR NOSE, PLEASE SURREPTITIOUSLY REMOVE IT BEFORE SAYING YOUR LINES.” Also, I’m real sorry, it’s just that capitalizing stuff really re-captures the terror of the moment for me, and we all know how I like to relive my angsty pain over and over again.
Anyway, I ended up directing four episodes, not in the traditional sense because I had a million tons of help from the cast and crew, but I sort of directed, and that’s good enough for me at this point.
To boot, you know what? I secretly enjoyed it. Like I said, it’s hard to imagine someone else bringing your words to bear, and allowing myself the chance to 3D the show’s vision ended up being a powerful lesson in assertion and knowing I matter.
In the end, I was so grateful to every single person on the set that I handed over my $50 Subway gift card and bought them all sandwiches. I felt I wanted to share something special with their mouths, and they all wanted Subway (the unofficial sponsor of the entire series because I ate there 45 times during the shoot), and I was happy to oblige because no one made too much fun of me and my miscued booger removal “Actions!”
I also gifted an actress with a sweater jacket I’d been wearing as often as I ate Subway and that is really saying something about my appreciation for crossing the “I can’t” line because I loved that fracking jacket.
Thank you Subway for letting me give something back.
And dammit, I did so adore that sweater. But gratitude knows no bounds!
Which is sort of why I wrote this post in the first place.
(Subway gave me the $50 gift card for free and I paid it forward, because that’s a lot of sandwiches and sandwiches are meant to be shared with people who support you and won’t accept your “I CAN’Ts”.)