Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Lights. Camera. Take 2.

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 2:00 pm on Monday, July 23, 2012

Since doing the on-camera interview last week, I have been wondering how I can minimize “MASS” – “media-amplified spaz syndrome”, a term offered by fellow CPer Spashionista, that I am so stealing!

MASS bugs me. Every time any camera in the vicinity is turned on, MASS kicks in. It doesn’t allow me to put my best self forward. That isn’t to say I don’t have spaz out moments when there isn’t a camera around, because I do. Peanut butter often goes flying off of the knife at breakfast time in our house. Sometimes I think I could have acquired Parkinson’s Disease and not even know it by of my shaky cerebral palsy. MASS is more pronounced than the everyday spaz outs.

Anyway, the interview was done in two parts: 1) the question and response segment, and 2) the online demonstration segment. For the first part, the interviewer sat off-camera and asked me the questions. I responded with my prepared responses that were on my iPad, on my lap. The thing is, once I tapped play, I wasn’t sure what to do while the device spoke my response. I knew not to look at the camera, but rather to look at the interviewer. But what should I do? 1:30 minutes is a long time to sit still, especially with athetoid cerebral palsy. I remember Roger Ebert being quite animated while using his device when being interviewed by Oprah. I am sure that had I tried that, it would have looked like an extreme spaz out.

Likewise, during the demo, I went through a section of my previous week’s presentation because it addressed one of their questions. (Did I re-use content? You betcha!) Typically when I deliver a presentation, I make eye contact with members of the audience. That seems to (slightly) minimize the spazing. But this time I didn’t have an audience; only a few people watching from behind me, trying not to make a sound. Once again I didn’t know what to do. Do I stare at my computer screen and laugh at my own humorous bits? Or do I stare mindlessly out the window? What do I do?

After much thought and pondering, I have concluded that a portion of (perhaps an extremely small portion of) MASS in this particular situation is due to not knowing what to do, where to focus my attention. When talking people give an interview, ideally they focus on what they are saying and how they are saying it; that might help to divert some of their nervousness. Butt when a device on my lap is speaking for me, I don’t have the same diversion; I have time to focus on the fact that a really expensive camera is capturing every jerky movement, which, in turn, makes me even more self-conscious.

Once again I need to learn the rules and then figure out how to adapt them to fit my own jerky needs. Either that or write my dang own rules…before the next film crew encounter…!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Comment by Kaylea

July 23, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

Hey there Glenda,

Have you ever thought about doing a video podcast? A video podcast would give you a mechanism for developing your own rules (webcam in a spot that works for you, a comfy time of day, being able to edit). It would put you in control (and extend your media empire :D). It seems like you are one of these people who can do pretty much anything as long as you do it your way. . .


Comment by Spashionista

July 23, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

Can we share it? 😉
I just did a video where I had to walk with a walker and talk at the same time, and I look like a drunken weeble. Those of us with athetoid CP just can’t help it. The best I can do is act like it doesn’t bother me because I believe that attitude shows through the shakiness and spazzing. That and looking your best, of course! Distract them with your awesome sense of fashion – works for me most of the time.
I think, Glenda, perhaps just focusing on listening to the playback and fixing your gaze on something off-camera may help. Maybe practice having someone film you while your responses are playing will make it seem more “normal”.
I don’t know if any of it will work, but I’m definitely going to address MASS on my own site in the future.

Comment by Glenda

July 23, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

Spashiionista, a drunk weeble – I love it! Watch me get the giggles next time, thinking about MASS. 🙂 But, yes, at some point accepting the spaz outs and rolling with them is the best option.

Comment by Glenda

July 23, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

A fantastic idea, Kaylea! Thank you.

Comment by Mary McD

July 26, 2012 @ 6:01 am

Way back when, when I was pregnant, we were taught to focus on one object when trying to breathe through a contraction. (That’s why birthing rooms always have paintings in them, btw…). Not the entire painting – just that swirl of blue, or dot of red – try and figure out which way the brush was held, or how much paint was on the brush as it approached the canvas… get really invested in exploring that one tiny thing. Give your mind something to work on as you try and focus on anything except the contraction.

I wonder if you can do the same with the interviewer – focus on the clip of the microphone (I wonder how much pressure, at what temperature, was applied to that piece of metal to get it formed exactly like that?), his/her left earring (is that 11 small silver balls surrounding a turquoise? Let me count…), how many hairs are in that cute forehead curl, etc. – to give your mind a JOB while Kate is speaking for you…

Perhaps focusing your mind on these tasks, or even repeating a mantra like “Mary is brilliant” – oh wait, that’s mine, you’ll have to think of your own! 😉
will help out in this situation.

Comment by Wendy

August 17, 2012 @ 8:57 am

I wish I knew how to get over MASS! When you get it figured out, share your secrets!

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