Sunday, February 24, 2008

Daring to dream and making things right

I just finished watching the Oscars tonight with my daughter. We found a lot of flubs – which is to be expected from live TV – but we were especially critical when the orchestra cut off an Oscar winner before she had a chance to speak.

Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard won Best Original Song for their tune "Falling Slowly," from the independent Irish film, "Once" (nope, I'd never heard of it either). Hansard got to say a few words in his Irish brogue (“Make art. Thanks”). But just when Irglova stepped up to the mike, the orchestra started playing (which is the Academy’s cue to shut up and get off the stage). Irglova courteously stepped back, and the show went to commercial.
It seemed monstrously unfair. Winning an Oscar is a glorious moment for anyone, let alone a 19-year-old unknown from the Czech Republic via Ireland. And Hansard hadn't taken much time at all, so it seemed that Irglova had been eclipsed by Oscar’s obsession for finishing on time.
But when the show came back, host Jon Stewart re-introduced Irglova. Oscar producer Gil Cates had noticed the problem and invited Irglova to come back and have her say. It was a classy, spontaneous moment.
Irglova’s message was short and sweet. “The fact that we're standing here tonight, the fact that we're able to hold this, it's just proof that no matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream, and don't give up.”
It’s a message of hope to all artists and dreamers – and of course I believe entrepreneurs belong in both categories. I’m not sure exactly what it means, but I loved her line, “Fair play to those who dare to dream.”
There’s another lesson to take away from this incident: never be afraid to admit a mistake. A show director had looked away for just a moment and hadn't seen Irglova approaching the mike, so he cued the music when Hansard stopped speaking. A natural mistake.
But what matters is that the show officials saw what happened and reacted immediately. Yes, the Oscars are always pressed for time, and few would have blamed them for letting the show continue. Instead, however, the producers confessed their mistake and corrected it – which was a gutsy move, and the right thing to do. I think they earned lots of goodwill for doing so.
Commenting after the show, CTV host Ben Mulroney call the academy’s move the “water-cooler” moment of the show – the incident that would be most discussed in offices tomorrow morning. Three cheers to Stewart and the show producers who took a mistake and turned it into magic.

Next time you mess up, don't brush it off. Why not do something fine to make things right?

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