I’m no longer wallowing in gloom, you’ll be pleased to hear. I did, however, have quite an emotional day, and one in which I feel I moved on in some small way, as a person and as a Sausage Factory monkey.
One thing you should know about me is that I cry very easily. It’s uncontrollable and embarrassing. Two things, actually: I also do not like criticism one bit (who does, right? But I mean it really upsets me). That’s why I was a geek at school, that’s why I’m a perfectionist at work. Because I can’t bear not to be doing well. Unfortunately the TV industry is not peopled by life-affirming people who heap fulsome praise upon their staff- so I have to try extra hard to keep my fragile ego in tact.
This post is not reflecting well on me so far. Ah well…
So, the other week I spent a happy hour or so capering around on the beach in Cornwall, filming some case studies for the programme I’m working on. I’m not very… well, good… at self-shooting- that is, actually holding the camera and filming the action myself. I’m much better when bossing around working with a camera man. As documented in my feverish ranting last week, I have been worried about how this material had turned out.
Today I got the call from my producer. My beach footage was unusable. He was nice about it, but I knew he must have been effing and blinding at the screen while watching my stuff (such is the way of the Sausage Factory). I felt so bad that I’d let him down- let myself down, let the world down, waaaah!- that I felt that familiar pricking behind my eyelids and swelling in my chest. Even more so when boss man asked me to come down to the edit to watch the footage and see where I went wrong! I probably sounded quite rude when I squeaked “k then. See you soon. Bye!” while he was mid sentence. I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.
As soon as the phone was down, my tears ducts went into overdrive. Tears were dripping from my eyes and splashing down my cheeks unstoppably. I didn’t even have time to make it to the loo. It’s quite sinister how I can cry without making a sound (apart from the odd gutteral sniff), so I was able to conceal my crying from my colleagues, though I did phone G for sympathy.
The walk of shame to the edit suite loomed, and I didn’t know what awaited me at the other end, but I knew one thing for sure: I didn’t want to cry in front of my producer and the editor. So I equipped myself with advice: have a glass of water to sip each time I felt like crying; go prepared with questions about how I can improve; pretend I was someone else, someone with defences more robust than a jellyfish; smile.
When I arrived, my producer assured me that this wasn’t a big deal and that my footage was beautiful… “it’s just unusable!” (much mirth from him). In return I told him in a non-wobbly voice that I was keen for feedback, but that I get upset very easily, so he wasn’t to take it personally if I dripped tears over his keyboard.
We watched, we talked, I learned some valuable lessons. I didn’t cry! I listened to constructive criticism without taking it to heart! This is a first for me. I felt very grown up, almost triumphant, when I left. Perhaps I’ve come to this place a little late, at age 28. But I got there in the end- or at least I hope I did.
(ps Another thing I learned today: Maybelline Volum’ Express Colossal Mascara = amazing! It survived my crying jag with nary a smudge and my lashes stayed fully mascared even post-weep. And it wasn’t even the waterproof version)