I have succeeded in speaking to the Association of Texas Photographic Instructors and 300 of their students without embarrassing myself too badly.

Here I am obsessively compulsively adjusting the projector....
photo: ©Bill Woodhull 2014

 I was the keynote speaker for the Texas Association of Photographic Instructors and I took my job very seriously. I spent a couple of days editing down images to show and I wrote two complete, and completely different 40 minutes speeches. I showed the first one to my son, Ben, and asked for a critique. With brutal honesty he let me know that the first script might cause high school students (of which there were about 300) to run screaming from the building in the first three minutes. Asked why he went on a  riff about narcissism, self aggrandizement and the unassailable fact that 58 years old of any ilk should never reference rappers in a presentation. To anyone. 

I changed to plan B which was a heart felt script entitled: The Golden Age of Photography is Right Now.  There wasn't a single reference to my work and few references to my career. No rappers. No jokes and, as prescribed by Ben the word "cool" was expunged in over 23 places.

At the end of the presentation I got a standing ovation from the kids at Frisco High School who were brilliant and incredibly motivated. Go Frisco!!! The rest of the kids applauded vigorously----but from a seated position. 

At the end of the presentation we called for questions and opened the floor to "selfies" on stage with the speaker. I now have many new followers on Twitter. #vizsciencelab

The teachers were incredibly welcoming and obviously dedicated. I am less worried about the future of photography with such steady hands on the helm. The entire afternoon of workshops, contest and portfolio reviews in the conference rooms of the state capitol building was great. 

In order to true new stuff I left the car in the driveway today and road the #30 bus from my neighborhood to the capitol. It was a great experience and one that I'll do again. Saved me between $12 and $18 for downtown parking. I got to do some work on the speech while someone else did the driving. 

Finally, I want to say how much I appreciated VSL regular, Frank, for taking time from his schedule to come and listen to my speech. I felt better with a friendly face in the audience. Thanks.

Also thanks to my long suffering wife who also came out on a frigid friday just to watch me talk. Like she doesn't hear enough at home.  But seriously, it was nice. The kid, of course, was nowhere to be found. But that's okay, now I don't have to sit through the post mortem critique. 

I wanted to go out with the instructors and have dinner and drinks but sadly I have to be on the road to San Antonio tomorrow where I have a full day of photographing in a luxury high rise. I'll be on the road at 5:30am. No party for me tonight. 

Just thought I'd wrap up the loose ends on the whole "public speaking" thing. Good night.


Juan Carlos said...

Pretty dang cool. It's always good to have someone give you one of those kinds of critiques that Ben gave you; it might sting a little bit, but at least you know that they care. Plus the fact that he has to show his face in school on Monday, we know for sure that he had a vested interest in your good performance [he, he, he] (assuming that at least some of those kids go to school with him). Indeed, I certainly would not expect anything less from my own kids ;-)

By the way, I'd love the opportunity to read one or both of your prepared speeches.

Have fun this weekend!!

Frank Grygier said...

My thanks is to you for some needed motivation. You should take the speech on the road. I believe you could convince all of us that we are in a golden age of things.

Jim said...

COOL! ;-)

Gato said...

I think the kid gave good advice. In fact I'll try to remember it next month when I speak to a community college group.

Hope you'll follow up when you get time with a bit of what you said and what kind of feedback you got from the students.

Patrick Dodds said...

Nicely done by the sounds of it - congrats!

Wolfgang Lonien said...

Glad that it worked out well Kirk. I know the situation; I have spoken in front of some 300 or 400 students myself, tho that was about Open Source, not photography.