Do me a favour, do it right now. Come on, don’t be shy, no one’s watching you. Unless you’re on a bus or in the library or something, in which case everyone’s watching you, you fucking freak – but hey, fuck ’em.
What I want you to do is sit on a slightly uncomfortable chair about six feet from the nearest wall.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Well fucking knock it off. Sit upright, no slouching. Face the wall, take a deep breath and talk about your latest project.
To the wall. Out loud. Imagine it’s interested and you have to be interesting. See how long you can talk about one of the characters or the plot or the writing process before you dry up, repeat yourself or completely forget what you’re talking about while you’re talking about it.
Don’t just do it in your head, that’s cheating and you can trick yourself into thinking you’re doing alright. Actually talking out loud is far more difficult – in exactly the same way you can think about a scene and know you’ve got every detail nailed down … only to start writing it and realise you haven’t got the faintest idea what it’s about.
Now imagine there’s someone just to the right of the spot you’re looking at, just out of your eye-line. They’re listening intently and judging you. Oh and they’re recording everything you say with the intent of broadcasting it to the whole fucking world.
Try it. It’s not fun. Well not much fun, anyway. It’s quite funny if you enjoy embarrassing yourself. It’s also how I spent Thursday afternoon – staring at a wall (it was green) and babbling about spaceships, explosions, aliens and, for reasons I can’t quite remember at the moment, bananas.
Actually, I have to admit I loved every minute of it – my first proper ‘Behind the Scenes’ interview. I say proper because I have done one before, but it was by accident. I’d stupidly wandered on set to have a mosey around and found myself chatting to one of the actors – who was armed with a camcorder and was asking a lot of questions. Halfway through our chat I realised he was recording it for the EPK and I suddenly lost the ability to form coherent sentences.
At least I’m mostly positive that particular tape will never see the light of day. It’s possible my disjointed ramblings this time can be edited into a couple of lines which make sense – but I don’t hold out much hope.
My favourite technique appears to be to forget what I was going to say and sit quietly trying to remember. After a while I realise I’ve also forgotten what I was talking about … and then I realise I’ve been sitting silently for the best part of a minute before asking if I can start again.
I can’t begin to imagine how difficult press junkets are, although I guess with journalist after journalist being wheeled in to ask you the exact same questions you either eventually start getting it right or you lapse into a kind of automatic pilot where it doesn’t matter what questions people ask you, you talk about how great it was working with ‘x’. Where ‘x’ is any one of a dozen people you threatened to kill on a daily basis.
Just not to their face.
I implore you, have a go. Talk to your wall today. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not film it and post it on your blog? Then we can all have a good fucking laugh at your ineptitude.
Unless, of course, you’re all really good at it and it’s just me who’s incapable of talking in complete …
Fuck, what was I talking about?