Sunwing Shoot: Dominican Republic

One more smile and I’m going to puke.

I’m pacing around my hotel room in our five-star resort.  The sun has set in the Dominican Republic sky.  I should be making my way to the sushi bar, or the Greek restaurant for dinner, but I can’t eat.  We resume shooting in 20 minutes – a commercial for Sunwing Vacations, and I’ve had an afternoon at the beach to stew on my performance from the morning.

It was shit, it was total shit.  I’m letting everyone down.  My hand was shaking during the stills of the champagne toasting.  Why did they make me use my right hand.  Fuck.  I’m a natural lefty.  Fuck… Now I know why Zoolander couldn’t turn left… This is ridiculous.  I need to get my shit together.  Find the magic.  Where is it.  I know I was feeling it.  Where is it.

I’ve been alternating between states of bliss and static.  “Okay now smile!  Bigger smile!  More love!  Move your hand a little lower.  Angle your shoulders away from the camera.  I’m not buying it…  More love!”  

We’re shooting 2 days of film and stills (pictures) for TV and billboards.  I’m getting married. The scenes are of a paradise wedding and honeymoon – walking on the beach, taking in the nightly entertainment, sailing a catamaran, lounging by the pool, feeding each other bites of steak.  My bride-to-be is a young, austere Polish woman who’s already married with children.  I was banking on consummating this marriage pre-shoot but no such luck.  We’ll have to find love in another place.

I’m hyper aware of the fact that the camera is picking up my every thought.  In between scenes I’m painstakingly maintaining a blank mindset.  Don’t think.  Just relax.  Have fun.  

Champagne, cognac, room service, it’s all at my fingertips.  There’s a private moat-like pool connecting the back decks of each of the luxury suites we’re situated in.  I’m living like a God.  Now all I have to do is feel like one.  

My biggest fear is that I won’t be able to get the magic back.  The magic being the feeling of oneness.  That this moment is perfect.  A state of total clarity, where anything is possible and nothing can hurt me.  Sometimes I can ride this feeling for 10 or 20 minutes, surfing the gentle wave of time.  Then I fall out of it and desperately try to get it back.  The problem is, it only comes when I let go of wanting it.

The best I can give happens when I stop trying.  But how do I surrender when everyone is here to get the best I can give.  This is the conundrum my mind has been wrestling with all day.  I get mad at myself for thinking, and then try to think my way out of my self-inflicted migraine.

The company has flown 14 of us down to paradise.  A family of four, two lovers, a crew of six and two brand representatives to make sure things are up to their standards.  I’m having a hard time looking people in the eye.  It’s too intimate.  They’ll see right through me.  They’ll know I’m totally insane. 

Every part of me is resisting this lesson.  I’m being forced to confront my deep-seeded fears, the fear of not being perfect.  The fear that they will know I’m afraid.  The fear of letting people down.  The fear that I’m not worthy of love.  Amidst all this, a realization cuts through the blur.

I’m already everything I need to be.

There’s no need to search for what’s lacking.  I don’t need to claw my way back to a state of magic.  I don’t need to raise my game to give these people what they want.   I’m already it.  I’ve had “it” the whole time.  This mental static is me resisting my own greatness with every ounce of my strength.  I’m on the edge of experiencing a major breakthrough and I’m doing everything I can to trip myself up.

Then I let go.  “Beautiful!  Yes!  Oh yeah keep it there!  Now whisper in her ear!  Yes!  Oh my god………… Got it!

And this is just the beginning.


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