how to change the world

Falling on my face

By John-Paul Flintoff

When you try something new (such as crowd-funding a novel) you take a risk. You might fall on your face. I tell myself I’m OK with that, but it’s not always true.

Last week I went to talk at a conference about How To Change The World (the subject of my previous book). I shared a stage with the film director Werner Herzog (I know!), and Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love) and Piper Kerman (author of Orange Is The New Black). There were 5000 people in the audience (I know!).

Many of the things I might have talked about were brilliantly covered, by others, before my turn came. So I decided to do something new – something none of the other speakers had done. I would demonstrate what it looks like to fail, which is a necessary part of taking risks.

I showed a 28-second video I had made at lunchtime on the first day of the conference. The film featured Liz Gilbert, in a supporting role (pun intended) and was shot on my iPhone by the real-life Larry, much nicer than his fictional counterpart in Orange Is The New Black. I’m embedding it here, and hope you find it, er, salutary.

The film was played on a vast screen. The first time, it was greeted by 5000 gasps of horror. The second time, it produced laughter. Watching it made me – and still makes me – cringe. I can only hope that Nietzsche was right that whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.

Posted: November 11, 2014