When I was in LA one of my favorite things to do was attending panels. There were a lot of great opportunities and the best thing was — most of them were free! In return, you would have to unfortunately wait in line which varied with every event.
Don’t fancy waiting in lines? Then your best bet was to attend organized events like ComicCon or EW Popfest. These type of events require some form of payment. Getting in through volunteering or as press works too. That’s how I found myself at the Paleyfest American Horror Story panel.
Paleyfest was a week long of screenings and panels that happened March 19-26 at the Dolby Theater. Each day showcased a different TV show with a red carpet for media interviews followed by a special screening and panel inside the theater.
Attending the PaleyFest American Horror Story panel was so much fun. Cuba Gooding Jr. twerking, Kathy Bates and Sarah Paulson’s frenemy relationship on full display, and someone in the audience asking if there will be more famous people on the show… like Beyonce… just to name a few highlights.
Panels are a special special beast. It’s basically like going to Vegas only… everyone’s completely sober!!
After that night, I had a realization. I left that theater riding a huge high, feeling better than I’ve ever felt after any therapy session. Therapy usually left me in frustrated tears, the PaleyFest American Horror Story panel left me feeling so high that nothing ruined my mood that night.
GOING TO PANELS CAN BE CONSIDERED THERAPEUTIC !!
Confused? Well, my friends, let me use the PaleyFest American Horror Story panel as my Exhibit A.
The panel started off with screening the first episode of American Horror Story Season 7: Roanoke. I unfortunately felt quite lost. I had no idea what to make of it but I guess neither did the cast. When the lights came on, the cast and crew came out onto the stage to face the firing squad — the audience.
Almost immediately, Sarah Paulson and Kathy Bates started bickering like an old married couple while cast members Cuba Gooding Jr. and Denis O’Hare tried ignoring the pair and actually focus on the task at hand.
With the positive energy radiating through the air, I could silence my mind for that one hour and focus on what was happening on stage in front of me. I felt challenged, inspired, and heavily heavily entertained.
“There was nothing we could say about Roanoke. It was a new world order of knowing nothing. Even when we were reading it, we didn’t know what the F was happening!” – Sarah Paulson
Just like therapy, attending panels forces me to change my perspective and previous thoughts. I’m pretty self-aware. I know why I act and feel a certain way but I don’t always know how to change. So learn through watching yeah?
For example. In the quote above, Sarah shares how since the plot of Roanoke was kept incredibly top-secret, it made acting twice as difficult. So how did she and her fellow actors act without guidance from the plot?
They trusted their instincts.
As an actor, you should know your character inside and out. So even when you have no idea what is happening and where the story is heading, you’re so in tune with your character that it doesn’t phase you.
Likewise, therapy usually teaches you to start trusting. Trust the process, trust your counselor, trust the universe. Those with low self-esteem and addictions also learn to trust themselves and in their ability to fight and get past their inner demons.
Halfway through the panel, during the audience questions portion, a young fan asked if any more famous people would make an appearance on the show… like Beyonce. I don’t know about you but I was slightly in shock when she asked that. With such a credited cast, this question could’ve made for a very very awkward situation.
Thankfully, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, and Cuba Gooding Jr. took the question in stride and played with it. Pretending to feel slighted, the three got up and walked out quickly evaporating the arising awkwardness as everyone in the audience began laughing.
Life’s too short to feel offended and upset.
The panel didn’t reveal much about the upcoming season. But what it lacked in juicy spoilers, it made up in laughs, friendly banter and a new insight into how lessons learned through acting could also be applied to one’s personal life.
That’s why I truly believe that going to these panels are so important and can even be more effective than going to therapy.
Now it’s your turn! Are you a therapy lover or do you find other things to be more therapeutic?