Calm Down, Calm Down
So I’ve enrolled in a part time university course called ‘Scriptwriting for Film and TV.’ It’s a one night a week course which last for six months. The first day is tomorrow, and I’m a little nervous about it to tell you the truth! Nervous but excited. I need to make sure I’ve got my pencil case at the ready, with two spare pencils, three spare pens, a rubber, a ruler, a protractor and a good quality pencil sharpener, just in case I manage to blunt the three razor sharp pencils which I’ve already got. (Those cheap plastic sharpeners are just no good, you need one of those metal ones with the holes for two different sized pencils even though nobody ever uses the big hole because all normal sized pencils are too small for that one.)
It got me thinking, however, about how nervous some of us get when we start something new. Whether it be new jobs, courses, relationships, football matches, schools, training etc. we tend to get ourselves wound up so much that we become different people. I know I do, anyway! Perhaps not as much as I used to get, because you tend to get more relaxed with age, but I still get properly wound up over certain things and the more that people tell me not to worry, then the more I get wound up! (I get it from my mum!)
As well as a writer, I am also a musician and have been playing in bands for over twenty years now. I have probably done hundreds of gigs in that time, but I still get nervous going on stage, even now. In the past I used to just hide behind my guitar and hope that no-one noticed me until it was over, and that worked pretty well until I got nominated to be the singer too, and then it got a little bit harder to hide!
One of the reasons that it became harder for me to hide was not because of the thickness of a microphone stand, although I defy anybody to hide behind one of those unless you are 20 millimetres thick with your arms by your sides, but because of that horrible word that everyone expects the singer to be an expert at. ‘Banter!’
Yes, banter is one of those things that you are expected to do as a frontman or woman. And the thing about banter is that absolutely every single person in the entire crowd thinks that they are a million times funnier that you are! And they like to constantly shout things at you to remind you of the fact. Nerves do play a part here too, and I think the more nervous you are then the more likely you are to say things that you haven’t quite thought through. I’ve seen some singers blatantly abuse the crowd and have a full blown argument with them in the name of banter. After all, the one with the microphone is the loudest in the room, and generally gets his or her point across in the strongest way. Abuse is not the best way to respond to hecklers I know, but unfortunately nerves sometimes come into play here.
Let’s hope that if I get put on the spot tomorrow in my class that I don’t respond to the teacher by shouting punk rock, nervous tension, lager fuelled obscenities at him otherwise it’ll be one night course instead of a six month one! Perhaps I’ll just sit at the back and hide.
Calm down, calm down.