When I worked on the former London’s Children’s Film Festival they had a practice of reading subtitles out loud from the front of the screen. I’d arranged a team of ‘readers’ but at the last minute one called in sick.
So, I read instead for a Turkish film at the Rio I hadn’t seen.
Before I started a Turkish lady with her family stood up and complained it was a terrible idea. As the reading had been announced we explained we’d go ahead. I did my best well aware I was garbling the characters’ names and completely miss-conveying the tone with an audible background of fury at my voiceover.
Fight or flight kicked in and I had to physically stop myself from running out of the screen. Afterwards I forced myself to wait by the door for everyone to leave. In a way this paid off as the lady’s partner said I did well to have a go and apologised for the tirade.
After substantial recovery time I learnt you can survive any embarrassment and I’m unlikely to have a comparable experience when speaking in public again. More pertinently I learnt about audience expectations – the lady was rightly furious because she’d brought her children to see a rarely available classic film that she cherished only for it to be carelessly mangled by me.