“When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” ~Author Unkown
When I got to Los Angeles, I started working on film sets in the art department. This city revolves around this industry, so it’s pretty hard to avoid. Thankfully, this was a dream of mine. I felt so lucky – I was living a dream! Most of the gigs I was invited to work on were independent, low budget. In the beginning, everything I did was volunteer work. I saw it as a type of internship. I had studied interior design and commercial art. This work was right up my alley, except that I didn’t have any real life experience. Of course, there would be a lesson or two to learn while I figured out the ropes.
A friend of my husbands works on real movie sets and heard that I was learning the ropes. The set he was working on needed an extra hand in the art department, so he invited me to come for the day. I was so excited. And nervous! These guys were pros! The sets I had been on prior consisted of mostly beginners. I fit right in on those sets since we were all trying something new and learning as we went. But this set was mostly professionals. These people had been doing this for years! Tens of years! It was quite intimidating.
Being on a movie set really distorts reality. Like magic, a camera crew creates illusions. Actors pretend like no one’s watching them as they walk down the street and have an intimate conversation. Every step is choreographed. Every turn of the head or hand movement is mapped out. Whatever happens in front of the camera is carefully planned out, recorded and repeated.
During the filming of one particular scene, I got lost in the magic of it all and ended up putting my life at risk. We were filming a scene with two actors walking down the sidewalk of a busy street. Everyone behind the camera basically has to walk backwards to avoid being seen in the shot. We got to one curve in the sidewalk and it got tight for the dozen or so of us that were behind the camera. I mistakenly walked out in the street to stay out of the way. I was so caught up in the glory of movie-making that I forgot for that instant that the cars zooming by on that busy street were not choreographed. I could have easily been hit by a car!
Luckily, someone noticed I was in danger and pulled me out of the street. It was so embarrassing. Everyone was looking at me with concerned looks on their faces. They didn’t call me back the next day. My ego was deeply bruised! My chance at making a good impression to these professionals was gone and over.
I could have continued to feel sorry for myself. I could have let this event discourage me from ever working on another set. Instead, I saw the lesson. I realized that movie making is magical. But, it’s also dangerous. I learned that it’s not my job on a set to be a spectator. When I’m on set, I have to pay attention to my surroundings. Since that gig, I have worked on more than a dozen sets. Every time, I am fully focused on my responsibilities. Because of the mistake I made on that one set, I see more clearly, I act more professionally, and I am more confident.
When you find yourself in a situation that makes you feel like a failure, check your thoughts and realize that there is a lesson to be learned. Mistakes, errors and wrong-doings help you grow and become a bigger, better person. There is always something to be gained from every situation. When you see that clearly, you will be triumphant in every circumstance.