Friday, January 20, 2012

Five for Friday: In Front of an Audience

So this 5 for Friday comes from a book John got me for Christmas called "Listography". It's not like my usual ones but still...

My top 5 times that I've been in front of an audience:

5. Mr. Pacilio's English Class, 9th grade
Deathly afraid of public speaking, our assignment to teach the class how to do something was my worst nightmare. I believe my softball instructional speech ended with me pitching a ball straight into a bookcase at the back of the room. Don't think my fellow students forgot that speech that year.

4. Camp Counselor, high school years
For some reason my fear of public speaking did not translate to the I had to lead 100 campers in camp songs. Maybe because I had fellow counselors up there with me.

3. Staff Meeting
This isn't much of an audience I guess, but my meetings with my staff were around 10 people. It was easy if it was a good meeting, not so easy if I was trying to tell them they were sucking and needed to do better.

2. Career Fair for high school students
My mom is very involved in college counseling for high school-ers and once a year they have a career fair for a couple hundred students. They ask a couple of people to speak and I've had to speak a couple times and describe just how glamorous Hollywood life is.

1. UCLA campus, lecture series for visiting Korean Entertainment professionals
Through what I can only assume was a ridiculous misunderstanding, UCLA asked me to give a lecture to a group of Korean men and women who were visiting the US and who all worked in the entertainment business. I gave a two hour lecture with a translator. Let me just say that I'm pretty sure my sarcasm did not translate very well. Man, tough audience.

How about you?


  1. Your #1 is awesome. I would have been terrified.

    And I cherish the memory of your speech in Mr. P's class. To be fair, you did warn him that you weren't a pitcher, but he insisted.

    5. Class, 2001-present. At least I don't blush anymore on the first day of class, even when I'm at the front of the lecture hall. Considering the fact that I've now been teaching college students for 11 years (!!!), it's about time I'm used to it.

    4. Christmas pageant, 3rd grade. Finally landed a 2 line solo for one of the songs in the yearly school pageant, which made me nervous to the point of near-vomiting and what happens? My mic doesn't even work. Totally uncertain whether I am pissed or relieved.

    3. Wedding, July 2005. I hadn't anticipated what it would be like to sit up front in view of everyone during a full wedding mass. That was a very long time to be on display.

    2. Dissertation defense, May 2008. Only an audience of four, but man, probably the roughest day of my academic life.

    1. Job talks, 2008-2009. Hard not to be nervous when you're in front of an audience that gets to decide whether you get a job or not. Or, to put it another way, whether you wasted the past 8 years of your life and took out thousands of dollars in student loans for nothing.

  2. i'd forgotten the story of the korean professionals. i'm dying here. so funny. and oh taryn, i'm cringing just reading about these job and dissertation audiences.

    the first things that come to mind...

    5. 7th grade drama class. i was performing a scene with two other girls where i was playing a tempestuous bitch (i want to say i was hedda gabler, but that seems inappropriate for middle school) and had to throw and break a glass figurine. mine didn't break, it just bounced pathetically on the floor. another girl doing the scene (who actually was a bitch in real life) shattered hers like a champ. the class had to vote on the best hedda, and i won because i guess i was the most popular of the three (so it must have been a class of real dorks). the teacher obviously wanted the real bitch to win and advised the class that they'd made the wrong choice, adding of my performance, "just more proof that being smart doesn't translate to the stage." !!!

    4. spanish lit speech, 3rd year upper division course. only white girl in the room. afterwards, a guy tried to hit on me with, "your accent is really good." no, it's not.

    3. baton solo to "under the sea" in front of 4th of july fireworks audience. pre-teen, sequin leotard, football stadium full of people. i think that sums it up.

    2. dietrick wedding speech! so terrifying! don't need to tell you that i read from cards and lost my place. i was so young, i swear it would be better now!

    1. any fiction workshop in grad school. some writers are so good at reading aloud their work in progress, or at least unruffled. my face turns red as a burn victim as i avoid making eye contact with my critics and scribble notes about inappropriate similes.

  3. Seriously, you two - Korean professionals and baton solos? Not only are you both incredibly awesome, I CANNOT IMAGINE doing stuff like that. You guys have the best stories.