My middle son David was recently one of the performers in his high school talent show. He did a beautiful job singing “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” from the “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” movie.
But while I am very proud of the job my son did, what got this post started rolling around in my head was watching the entire evening and observing the wide range of talent displayed. From a drum duet to a baton twirling act, there was something different happening every few minutes.
One of my observations has to do with the interesting clash between the apparent popularity of a given performer and the quality of the actual performances. For example, one singer who was clearly one of the popular kids based on the way the audience reacted before the song began, was flat about half of the song; meanwhile another singer who garnered a much more tepid reaction from the audience absolutely nailed her performance.
Thinking about the evening, I started with the observation that it’s inevitable any talent show featuring high school students is going to have a wide variety of talent levels demonstrated. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this isn’t just true about high school talent shows, it applies to the whole of life including our work in voiceover.
Each of us has categories of work where we shine most brightly and others where the light isn’t quite so sharp. Does this mean we should only do the stuff at which we’re best? That’s one way to go for sure, but I would submit it’s not the only one.
From the most polished to the least, each act I saw in my son’s talent show was presented with real passion and a desire to please the audience. And more important, by someone who pushed past his or her fears to get on the stage and perform. So, don’t fence yourself into a pen that’s artificially small. Stretch your wings. Take a chance. And then another.
You might land on your face and end up feeling foolish. So what? You took a risk. And that puts you miles ahead of the masses who never get past their fears. Who never step into the spotlight and let it all hang out.