You see, there’s performance and then there’s performance (and also performativity, but that one’s sort of irrelevant to what I’m talking about here).
What I mean is that there are at least two ways of understanding the word performance:
- A type of act or pretense, as in drama (or all social practice); and
- A way of indicating how effectively/efficiently a task is being done.
And both are on my mind as I finish publishing my first vlog. If you haven’t watched it yet, here it is:
One of the first things that strikes me about myself on camera is how dull I am. I am not an affective speaker. I filmed a version of the entire script (which took, like, an hour?) and then watched it and then decided to film it all again (the final version that you see) because I was just so… dull (it’s the only word I can think of).
For me, the argument that I give in the video above—that vlogs are essentially performances—is true because I can’t vlog unless I actively, deliberately perform. I don’t naturally blossom in front of the camera (does anyone?). (And related to the video, is it possible that any time we are aware of a gaze, any action we take may well be in some way a performance? Just occurred to me to think of it in those terms…)
I had a producer…and he said to me, ‘Derek, you know how the camera adds 15 pounds?”
And I said, “Yeah.”
And he said, “Well, it subtracts 20 percent of your enthusiasm.”
But there’s another meaning of performance that I listed. You can sort of differentiate the two in the following additional words: affective and effective. Performing in the more-or-less dramaturgical way I’ve been describing could be called affective. Performing something well (or not) would be called effective (or not).
On Twitter I was reflecting on my not being a particularly affective speaker while I was in post-production for the vlog.
So it seems to me that both kinds of performance are intrinsically linked when it comes to vlogging: affect is tied to effect.
And that’s probably not an earth-shattering insight. But then again, maybe it is.
The show must go on.
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
(Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7)