In the film business, especially us composers, we present our artistic products in front of a live audience in abstentia. Its like being in my opinion 'the man behind the curtain' (aka Wizard Of Oz). That protects us in some sense but also insulates us from participation with the audience. It is indeed one facet of show biz, but like an artist's painting, it presents the same 'face' every time - there is no variability.
For those of you who are also musicians, you understand the difference between hearing your music in a film and performing the music live in front of an audience. And even then, there are two ways of being in a performance. There is the ensemble way - being part of a group - whether it be in a band or an orchestra. Your sound is heard but the eyes of the audience are not really on your or on your sound. You blend in and are protected somewhat by being one of a whole. Then there is the soloist - when your sound is featured in a group (and that includes vocalists, by the way) or you are performing alone. Your eyes are on the audience and their eyes and ears are focused on you. All performers I believe have a healthy fear when looking at their audience (though sometimes being in the spotlight on a stage in a theater makes it difficult to really see anyone). But then, I believe the performance, the music takes over our being and we become part of the 'give away'. We produce and deliver our music in a way that both pleases ourselves and our audience. Surely we have rehearsed and can almost deliver the performance on 'automatic'. We can also include our body language and vary our interpretation to make each performance slightly different and unique. Our 'errors' are often well 'masked' so that we may know it should have been different but our audience does not. Or perhaps they know but we recover well and that mistake stays in the past. We finish our delivery such that not only have we done our job well and pleased the audience, but in the words of Rick Nelson, "pleased ourselves".
As I have blogged below, yesterday was my 'stretch'. My opportunity to remove the electronic penny whistle sample from my film score and to play a live penny whistle along with the remaining music. The music was a the 'theme' to my best score nominated film theme of 'the last command' which premiered three weeks ago in L.A. I was on a platform outside. It was 1 PM and there were about 100 pairs of eyes looking at me and watching my performance. I have performed in front of a large crowd before but during most of my adult life, it has been a keyboardist in a jazz big band, not a soloist especially on an instrument that I began learning less than a month ago. I introduced my piece, I glanced over the large number of people and then started. Yes, I did have problems blowing hard enough in the exact correct angle and my very high notes squeaked. But I did make it through. There were applause. A few people congratulated me. And the most important things was I was happy with myself and the performance. I remembered how I performed as a soloist when I was a child - I remember the exhilaration - the same exhilaration I had just felt.
No matter what we do in the entertainment business - especially for me as a producer (and sometime performer) of original music, as strange as it may seem (in a non-egotistic sort of way), my #1 fan has to be me. And yes - I committed to learn the penny whistle and perform the theme to my film yesterday and I did so. Now it makes even more sense to me why I am in this business. And yesterday, I once again felt like the young boy performing at the school show.