***This post was written at the beginning of June 2018***
The last two weekends have been utterly exhausting. They’ve also been a lot of fun. If I was in any doubt that working on this business was the work I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I’m in absolutely no doubt now, after the last couple of weeks.
But before I get into just why it’s been such a productive fortnight, it’s worth talking about fear. You know it well. That thing that stops you going for what you know you want. The thing that stops you doing what you know you want to do, and instead, it become the thing that says to you “well, I know we’ve watched 3 episodes of Westworld, but hey, another one ain’t gonna hurt.” Anything to stop you doing what you know you should be doing, but for some reason, are too scared to do anything else.
Fear stops us, keeping us firmly in our comfort zone.
I talk about fear now, because a few months ago, I got approached to host a panel at Sundance Film Festival on behalf of Film London, which was an amazing honour. It also filled me with dread – I had never done anything like this and although the subject of reaching Black audiences with experiential events is something I can talk on to a relatively high level, this was something else. Chairing an event at an internationally recognised festival. It’s a big deal.
But what do they say? Feel the fear and do it anyway. So that’s what I did.
I did my homework, researched our panellists, rehearsed, rehearsed, rehearsed. Researched and researched some more. I left nothing to chance so that, when it came to the day of the event. I felt ready.
And it went really well, with senior industry figures in the room, saying how well it went down and suggesting more events where similar debates can take place.
I don’t want to say too much more about it, because we’ve now uploaded it to the We Are Parable Podcast.
I’m currently writing this in the sunshine soaked South of Yorkshire (yes, seriously), in Sheffield, having spent two great days at the Sheffield Doc Fest. We were invited up to be part of a panel of exhibitors to talk about how documentaries could benefit from some of the stuff we do with features. And again, I felt the fear. But yet again, I did it anyway. And I think it went pretty well, as I talked about experiential events, the challenges involved, creating authenticity and leaving people with unique memories – the very DNA of what we do.
The reason it felt scary, uncomfortable, even – because it was. It was me coming out of the comfort zone of what I do and realising that, you know what, not only do I love talking about what we do. I love what we do. I genuinely do.
The one hope that I have is that we’re able to provide you with these events, that they’re of a high standard and that we can do it for as long as we can.
These last few weeks have shown me that by focusing on what’s really important, that is, you guys – our audience – we’ll keep growing, and keep providing you with some memorable experiences. We want to challenge and continually push ourselves further.
There’ll be times where it’ll be hard. There’ll be times where we’ll feel the fear.
But, you know what? We’ll do it anyway.