Police sirens flash and fur hats block my view as I’m pushed through a crowd that opens to the sight of some guy diving through the open window of a Range Rover driving up Main Street.
Sundance. A festival for the creative… the talented… and the crazies.
Main street is stunning, covered in white lights, mom & pop shops revamped into GreyGoose Lounges, and crowds of famous (and really unfamous) people roaming the streets. Each stop starts with a plush red carpet, velvet rope, and a list which will either have your name on it or not. Luckily we had a lovely friend who got us into a few places, but if you weren’t so lucky then your days at Sundance were most likely spent on the street people watching, scalping some film tickets, or finding the only empty bar in Park City – far, far away from it all.
While the scene on Main street is one to be remembered (as well as fully documented on Instagram), the magic really happens inside those high school auditoriums during the film screenings.
Brushing elbows in the theatre with celebs, while they settled in to support their friends and family exposing themselves on the big screen, ignited intrigue and excitement in the crowd – it was hard to ignore. You sit in a dark auditorium, not knowing whether you are next to a 65-year-old Park City ski-bum or Harvey Weinstein (both of whom were actually in the theatre with us).
And while the films themselves were great, the people who created the films were remarkable.
And Jason Segel… unparalleled.
I watched this guy goofily schlepp across the stage, sheepishly take the microphone, and prepare to answer questions about the brilliant performance we had just seen.
Instead of the slap-stick comedy you might expect to see Jason in (yes, we’re on a first name basis), he had moved the entire audience with a thoughtful, profound performance in The End of the Tour.
It was moving, unexpected, and everything you would hope for in a film.
Here are some of the things I loved and learned from Jason and that film.
1. People are crazy (just like me).
In a way that makes me feel human and real.
Reminding myself that people struggle in different ways, quieter ways, ways we can’t even imagine – tells me that it’s okay to feel confused, overly contemplative and, at times, creatively tortured. There’s a whole lot of ya’ in the same boat… and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that makes me feel good.
Truly understanding that everyone struggles makes us feel less alone, and more empathetic. And that makes us better humans.
2. Inspiration needs a schedule.
No one said inspiration magically appears, and no screenwriter or director this week said that “it just came to them.” If anyone tells you that, they are short-changing you the whole front end of the story, which usually includes grueling hours of prep, second-guessing, and whole lot of ups and downs.
Inspiration, like motivation, needs some attention. You’ve got to find time to inject it into your life more.
Inspiration is the game changer of all game changers. It excites your insides and flexes your confidence muscle.
It allows you to keep going, when you just don’t have anything left.
It can be fleeting and fickle – but give it some space on your iCal, and it will remind you what it’s like to feel.
Schedule some time to feel more.
3. Start SMALL & AWKWARD.
Most of the people we admire or look up to start small, and often awkward. We don’tthink of that too much because they only get our attention when they’re doing cool shit – not boring, I don’t really care, uninteresting shit.
For example… anyone remember Jason Segel as “the watermelon guy”? Me either, but it was his first big role, 17 years ago in Can’t Hardly Wait. It wasn’t even untill a decade later that he made his big full-frontal-debut in Forgetting Sarah Marshall… a great flick but I wouldn’t say Oscar worthy. And here he is today, starring in The End of the Tour, getting reviews like this:
“Tom Hanks had Philadelpha, Jim Carrey had The Truman Show and now Jason Segel has The End of the Tour. It’s a powerhouse movie announcing to the world that this comedic actor is a dramatic force too.”
Watermelon guy turned “dramatic force”.
Some of the most loved and well respected start small and awkward…
and the biggest mistake we can make is waiting one more second to begin.
Timid? Check this out for some much needed inspiration.
I know that there is something your mind, heart or body is telling you to start doing. So…
Your Challenge: Start that today.
Forget perfection, start small.
And let me know how it goes.
IMAGE CREDIT: Roger Ebert