Let me take you back to the year 1990. You know, about 15 years ago…
I had to perform in a school play. I was one of the main characters, and had to ‘faint’ about 2/3 of the way in and stay on the ground for the rest.
My Dad and my Grandma were in the audience.
As this is not a therapy session, here’s the TL;DR on my childhood : my family loved to mock each other mercilessly. Nothing was off-limits. It was always good-natured, and being roasted 24/7 helps you develop a good sense of humour and a thick skin. It is, overall, something I am grateful for.
But, when they roasted me about my performance in the play, it stayed with me. I think it’s because acting and performing was never something I was intuitively good at, and I had practised every day for months, only to have them laugh.
I could definitely see why it was funny. From their point of view, there was this kid, walking around the stage like a robot in a pioneer costume, then dropping to the floor with a giant thud and staying there. It’s funny.
Since then, however, I have had crippling stage fright. Even though I am a decent musician, and I have dabbled with various creative exploits over the years — I have never been able to do the “stage” or “camera” thing.
I hide behind the written word.
I’ve been ‘blogging’, in some form or another, since 1996. My very first ‘online diary’ was handed-coded in HTML — painstakingly coding and sharing my innermost thoughts with this secret I had called “the internet”.
It was something I did just for me. Somewhere to think, create, put down words. Nobody read it, as far as I few. It was just my little corner where Téa — all of 17, complete with 17 year old’s ideas— could just be Téa. Over time, that grew. I never really kept stats on my personal blogs, because it was always just for me.
Over time, I became a better writer, but video was something I avoided — mostly because of my crippling stage fright. I always wanted to do it, and if the camera isn’t on you’d think it was a natural fit… but I just couldn’t bring myself to.
I am no stranger to trolls, or flame wars, or anything like that. I can handle that fine. That has never been my fear.
Video just always felt so vulnerable. I also stutter from time to time and go on tangents, which doesn’t help matters.
I am just better at the written word.
Taking the leap
But, eventually, I reached a point where, in order to do what I wanted to do, I needed to set up a podcast and/or YouTube channel in order to be heard. With fewer and fewer people reading long-form content… it’s just something that I have to do if I have any chance of staying relevant — both in my industry (which I want to get out of) and as a creator of content.
Despite being perfectly technically capable of producing video (we do it for clients)… I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
My first live stream a few months ago, was a bit of a disaster. I was still hiding, and hadn’t set up any software. The quality was terrible because Facebook live rendered it in 360p:
Then, the procrastination kicked in.
I started planning, and overthinking, and avoiding, and never doing it. Figuring out niches and topics and scripts and titles and intro music and all that stuff… Until, I suddenly realised that I was avoiding it… so… last week… I decided to just leap in and do warts-and-all livestreams instead.
This one was a bit shit too. It’s embarrassing.
But, I did it.
Then I did it again.
This one was too long, and I could’ve reduced it down, and I could have said things in a better and more succinct way. But, it was only my second time livestreaming, so… I figured I would do better next time.
This was a fabulous interview, and I learned that Skype has a slight lag, so it looks like you are interrupting. So, the next time, I learned that I should count to three to let the guest finish speaking.
Also, that I should do more ‘scenes’ with some supporting images/visuals so people aren’t just looking at my face the whole time with an audio-only guest.
Also, the sound levels are too high, and I need to figure that out.
Better next time, right?
Again, the sound is still not ideal, and I accidentally misspoke a few times, but that’s okay, because it’s a livestream and no real harm was done.
It gets better.
I’m getting better.
And I’m not scared anymore.
They’re not perfect. I am still figuring stuff out.
If you had told me that I would be doing livestreams on YouTube even 6 months ago, I would have told you that you were crazy. I have been deathly — DEATHLY afraid of it for as long as I can remember. But, it ain’t so bad.
I am putting this here as encouragement for anyone that is scared of doing video — to just DO IT. I’m still quite shit at it. But I’ll get better.
And it’s SO much fun.
If you want to check me out, you can see my channel here: https://youtube.com/tealou
Like and Subscribe, as the kiddies say.