Our reader, Kimberly Lynn, sent us this very funny clip from a 1966 film called The Ghost and Mr. Chicken , starring the late actor, Don Knotts. God rest his howlingly funny soul. I remember watching this as a kid, and man, do I recall this scene. Talk about empathy pains! In this clip, his character Luther, is giving a speech at a community event. As I watched this cringing and laughing, I thought what a great coaching piece this could be for all of us. I was feeling his pain in particular, having just done a writing workshop two weekends ago where at last minute I was forced to change classrooms. I lost the ability to use the computer and projector. You mean, I'd have to just talk? Without my electronic props? Say it isn't so! Take a look at the clip, and then come on back--
There are so many things that go wrong here that contributed to his melt-down. Right out the gate, he has technical problems with a screeching microphone. His hands are shaking. His voice follows suit. He loses his notes. He has people sitting close and behind him on stage, which can be unsettling to our kind. A woman he has a big crush on is sitting in the audience. His opening joke goes over like a fart in church. And, he is getting heckled. What else? Well, his bowtie looks way too tight. That can't be good. Finally, he is giving what seems to be a brain-numbing speech at a festive outdoor event, when people are probably stuffed with hot dogs and pie. Anything I missed?
So, imagine that you have been given the opportunity to freeze frame this public speaking debacle, jump in and give poor old Luther some in vivo coaching. What would you say to him? How could you help him survive his public address?
Keeping with the ghost theme here, I've got a copy of the latest Newberry winner, Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, to the person that comes up with some of the very best coaching tips for him.
I also want to point out that Robin has just posted the covers for three YA novels written by our accomplished readers in the sidebar on your right. This is part of our newish showcase of our tribe. Congrats to Tanita Davis, Cynthia Leitich Smith and Susan Schmid. May your books live long, and reach far and wide!
Best of luck to you and... peeps, help save Luther!