How Things Change with Time and Practice
My first class this semester, Art of the Cinema, started this past Wednesday morning. I took a seat in the middle of the room next to a guy wearing a newsboy hat in the beginning. Looking around the class I wasn’t sure if was going to talk to anyone or not. After sitting there a bit I finally asked the guy if this was the right textbook (if you don’t want to ask if this is the right class, you can always ask about the textbook to start talking to someone) and he smiled and said yeah. I introduced myself then and we shook hands. He said his name is Jamison. We talked a little from there.
Then class started and the teacher had us all get up out of our seats and go against the back wall to make a u-shape. He had each of us introduce ourselves, say why we’re taking the class, and tell something we wouldn’t normally tell a stranger. That last part made my mind race with what I could say that was revealing but not too revealing. I didn’t have to go until near the end though and realized a lot of people were just giving a fact about themselves, so I said I love to go out swing dancing, which isn’t what I would tell someone I just met anyway unless it somehow came up. I wasn’t nervous one bit funnily enough.
Then he had us go up to 5 people and introduce ourselves and shake hands, though I think I met at least 7 people. Then he had us form a group of 7. People scrambled to form groups and soon one girl and I were off to the side trying to find a group. Luckily 4 other people came over to us, then later another guy came so we became a team. We then had to come up with a team name and were assigned a segment of film to focus on and present, and we got movement. He had us all exchange names and numbers. Then we watched The Aviator for a bit and he had us write notes about the director and about the elements of film we observed. At the end he wanted us to discuss what we wrote with our group, but only the girl on my right and I actually discussed it and the others didn’t say anything.
He had us pick a spokesperson to tell the class what we discussed then. All the other groups went, and they each had confident, outspoken speakers who had a lot to say and obviously had some film background. It was a little intimidating listening to them. Then he looked at my group, waiting. We hadn’t designated a spokesperson, and all the others kept their mouths closed and stared ahead. I waited a bit, then finally spoke up and talked about how the director was really pushy and controlling but also very determined to make his movie despite all the people who told him he should quit. I talked about how he gets what he wants too, like in the scene where he gets the girl and the scene where he gets the clouds he wants for his movie background. I also said how I really liked the music and costumes because I love swing dance and it made me want to be there back in time. I heard one of my group members whisper, “She nailed it!” to his friend after I finished speaking. The teacher remembered I had said that I liked swing dance, and asked what my favorite scene from the movie was. I couldn’t think of one so I just said I liked the scenes with the jazz music and the singing. (Now the whole class will have it engrained in their minds that I love swing dance!)
I didn’t feel nervous at all when I spoke for my group. It was a big auditorium, like a mini movie theater, but I just didn’t feel intimidated for some reason. I wasn’t nervous before the class even and to introduce myself to Jamison like I did initially. I’m probably not going to see him again because we have assigned seats now, but it was good to break the ice with someone. After giving several presentations in Toastmasters and my speech class last year, as well as introducing myself to several new people, these things are much more natural for me.
Are there any things that used to make you nervous that you don’t feel nervous about as much or at all anymore? What has helped you?