Friday, July 29, 2011
Left my comfort zone... and found myself... even more comfortable!
(From the set of the a promo photo shoot)
Having worked on a few TV and movie sets now, I have gotten used to the "hurry up and wait" schedule they usually follow. I have always done what was asked of me, then curled up in a corner with a book or my cell phone, trying to stay quiet and out of the way while awaiting my next task. I regret doing that while on the set of one particular movie I worked on, because I just watched and listened to the adorable little girl of two very famous parents (who was probably kinda bored) play with other crew members, and only accidentally fell into conversations with some VERY interesting and warm actors on the set, worried that I might be seen as trying to be too friendly, when the truth, I soon witnessed, was that they were COMPLETELY normal people, socially. Apparently, I was the weird one!
So on this particular photo shoot to promote a TV show (pictured above), I ventured outside of my comfort zone, put my book away, enjoyed and accepted EVERY morsel craft service offered me, and talked to the crew and cast... who were just FASCINATING.
The things I learned that day could fill a novel, quite literally. Makeup artists, stylists, and security people were full of great stories, information, and laughter. I would have done that job for free. I mean it!
Among the poeple I met that day, was one man who showed no particular sign of conceit or self-importance... he simply moved the limousine pictured every time the wheels or the car needed to change their angle. Just a guy joking around with the other guys, and complaining about the New York dating scene, and the materialism of women he had thought of dating. I rolled my eyes at their conversation, but joked around, making a true effort to be social. I assumed he was the hired limo driver for the shoot, and would have continued with that assumption, had I not asked him one HUGE question... "So how'd you get into the limo business?" (Meaning, as a driver. He wasn't a limo driver. At all.)
Well, the answer to that question was a story so worthwhile, I am amazed at how close I came to never hearing it. He answered my question with such a heartfelt story that he told with such passion, that I will bet he would have answered anyone with the same open, engaging manner. Because he is a real person, I won't share his details here, but let me just condense the story to what made all the difference:
At a teenager, he was headed down a destructive path.
He got into some trouble, and was given some community service work as punishment. This was handed down by a judge who felt he needed to learn a lesson, but couldn't give him anything harsher, due to the particular circumstances of a situation which resulted in someone's death.
His mentor, who owned the business where he was assigned to work, taught him everything he needed to know about his job, and gave him a chance to really spread his wings and try everything he wanted to do to improve the business. He was incredibly successful in his tasks (large and small), eventually ran that business, and started others of his own, and is now EXTREMELY successful. He still listens, studies, collaborates, and looks for opportunities. This guy is a winner.
A path similar to this one is in the book "Gifted Hands", which is the biography of the surgeon Ben Carson. So great to hear great stories! I will never forget that one!
The moral for me that day, was just ask open-ended questions, and just listen. You never know!