January 14th, 2006

Stage Fright

Over on her blog, ohiblather posted some thoughts about overcoming stage fright.  She acknowledges people who have helped her overcome her own stage fright (which it's hard to believe was a problem for her, because she seems so outgoing and eager), and invites others to do the same.  It makes me think about myself a bit, so I'm going to post a little bit about my own feelings, even though I'm not directly answering her question.

I don't feel the kind of stage fright that other people describe when they use the phrase.  When I do a song, I don't feel the kind of immediate nervousness that makes my voice quaver and my hands shake.  But I do feel anxiety about whether people really want to hear me which limits my willingness to perform.  In an open filk, when I don't have a song that I think fits the mood, I am reluctant to jump in with a song that goes in a different direction.  More to the point, I never sign up for one shots or ask for a concert.  When I hear the one shots at a con, there are always some of the performances that make me think "I can do better than that; I really need to find the guts to sign up."  But then I think about how I don't write my own songs, and most of the stuff I steal people already know well, or else it's not really filk, and the voice that says "Nobody wants to hear *you* sing that song" wins out.

A big part of my reluctance to do a one-shot is that I don't write my own songs.  I decided a long time ago that I would rather hear a good cover than a bad original, and when I sing myself I'd rather sing someone else's good song than my own crummy song.  Combine that with the fact that I have very little urge to write songs of my own, and what urge I have usually dries up after I've come up with two lines, and I only do covers.  I'm sure that I could force myself to finish a song, but if I have to force it, I don't have any expectation that it will be something that deserves to be sung.  Unfortunately, while the choice of a good cover over a bad original is the right one for me, it doesn't seem like it's one the community approves of -- a really terrible original always seems to get a more sympathetic reaction than I get with a lot of the covers I do in open filk.

Does anyone have any comments in general?  If anyone wants to encourage me to sign up to perform on stage, do you have any specific suggestions about what song(s) I should do?  If you really feel that filk should be for original songs and I shouldn't take up a one-shot slot for a cover, or that I'm too crummy a performer to presume, but you aren't willing to say it to my face, you can comment anonymously.

Edit: I did not intend to screen comments. Really. It got set by accident, and is (I trust) fixed now.