A few weeks ago I shot some footage for an upcoming DVD. Now this was a full on production – nothing like my normal “backyard” videos.

There was a producer, two cameramen, a sound engineer, a photographer and a handful of assistants all ensuring the day went smoothly. When the team rolled up with a truck and a convoy of supporting vehicles (and a heap of equipment) I knew it was going to be a big day.

And the pressure was on me. I was the main man and I had to be on the ball to follow the plan of the day and make sure my delivery was clear and got to the point. If I stuffed up, then the day was going to be a huge waste of time and money.

And I certainly was feeling the nerves. I’ve done a bit of video and audio before, but nothing like this. When the producer screamed “ACTION” it hit home how tough it can be to perform under the gun. There’s nowhere to hide and it seems the entire world is watching.

It’s a lot like trying to play golf.

– I was feeling terribly nervous and anxious
– I started to doubt myself (do I know what I am going to say? What happens if I stuff up?)
– I was telling stories to myself (I don’t want to do this. I feel sick. I wish they would hurry up. I wish they would go away. Can I do this later?)
– Was going into the future and letting my mind run wild (what are they going to think about me if I muck this up? What happens if I can’t do this? What happens if I forget my lines?)

To be honest, my mind was racing and I was certainly out of my comfort zone. Does any of this ring a bell with your golf game?

How did I get over the nerves?

I used the same techniques I use when out on the golf course when the pressure hits. Here are the most important ones.

1. Relax: It sounds obvious but it’s easily forgotten. Don’t forget to breath deeply and slowly. Another little trick I use (which works a treat) is to relax you head and face.

2. Slow my mind: It’s not always easy to do but when I start feeling uneasy I try and stop the mind from going a million miles an hour. Just thinking “slow down” is usually enough.

3. Focus on the moment: This is a beauty and almost always makes the situation better. I take a moment to look around and take in the surroundings. I look at cloud formations or the trees. Another good one is to feel the wind on your face or listen for any sounds. Another way of saying this is,

4. Increase awareness: When you’re aware (but not controlling) what is going on then you’re in the moment. And it’s really hard to be nervous and in the moment at the same time. This is such an important skill that it should be taught to everyone from an early age.

5. Go for it attitude: It’s very normal for us to want to be precise and perfect. But a perfection mindset causes a lot of stress. It’s counter intuitive I know, but I don’t try and be precise and perfect. I tend to go with it and have the attitude that I’ll deal with any issues after. And the funny thing is that your performance is almost always better than you’d expect. Please note: I’m not trying to be a train wreck either, I’m just performing and being accepting of the result.

So there you have it. The above techniques worked a treat and the day was a success. I performed way better than I thought and proved again to myself that excellent performance is possible under pressure and with some nerves. The trick is to KNOW how to do so.

And the best part is I walked away with way more confidence than when I started. I’m actually looking forward to the next shoot because I know I can get through the day successfully. The hard part was sticking to the above techniques in the early stages – especially with Pesky running wild.

Here’s are some pics of the DVD shoot. By the way, the DVD should be available in late April.

Two video cameras are better than one

Some of the crew keeping an eye on me

Getting set for take #25

Getting wired for sound

The Director telling us what to do

Coaching - this was the easy bit

Almost set.