I need you to go Oprah on me. Please.


The performance that started it all — Dance Experiment, 2010

I share my offerings incessantly. I’m self-employed and am riding a ten-year wave of not paying for marketing or advertising. Me newslettering, tweeting, Facebooking, party-chatting about what I do is how I pay rent, buy groceries, and save for the future splurge on the occasional pedicure.

But I don’t usually share in the “Come Aresenio Hall dog-pound for me!” vein.

I usually share with one of two thoughts in mind —

  • come to my offering so I can pay ComEd, and
  • come to my offering to support the other participants

But in regards to the upcoming Fear Experiment (FE), this is a selfish share —

Come to the show and come dog-pound for me.

Because guys, I’m nervous.

You might say, “Saya, you’ve done this before. Why are you nervous?”

And I’d say, “You’re right! Why am I nervous?!”

Any time there’s an opportunity to trip, wear see-through clothing, or make an insensitive comment in front of hundreds (millions potentially, what with that darn internet thing), I’m going to be nervous, regardless of how many times I’ve been under the spotlight.

Add to the equation it’s the first time having the show pre-Thanksgiving, eek. Rehearsals are more condensed without the holiday break; our three month practice buffer has flown by and suddenly our calming thought of “We’ve got time” is valid no more. What about travel? Will people be out of town already, crossing state lines for yams and jellied cranberries? Will we perform to an empty theater?

Add to the equation it’s the first time with three art-forms (stepping, a capella, storytelling) and it’s the first time with a very different art-form (storytelling) than the others (dance, improv, stepping, a capella), eek eek. Will the show flow as it has in the past? Will the audience enjoy the variety or will it be too much? Will storytelling, with its individual-focus as opposed to group-focus of the other art-forms, fit in the FE puzzle?

Add to the equation that I will be sharing personal detail that I’ve never shared before, eek eek eek. Detail that not even Mom or Husband know.

Add to the equation that I feel immense self-pressure to be “good” at this art-form, eek eek eek eek. When I did dance in 2010, improv in 2011, and step in 2012, I had no allusions that I would be “good.” Part of what made the previous FEs fun for me was the not carrying if I sucked, not caring if I misheard an audience suggestion and created a scene not in an optometrist’s office as was suggested but instead in a gynecologist’s office. My now commonly taught philosophy of “Embrace your suckage” came out of my previous FE journeys.

But storytelling. This is different.

I majored in English and Sociology. I paid $120K for a piece of paper from a respected institution that symbolizes “Saya Hillman is good at writing.”

I’m a Professional Speaker. Capitalization meaning I get paid to speak. I’ve spoken in front of 300, 500, 750. I’ve been on panels and emcee’d. I’ve had rooms laughing and crying. I’ve given talks without the security-blanket of notes. I’ve keynoted. I’ve spoken at TEDx.

The two elements of storytelling, writing and presenting, should be areas where I excel.

I was nervous with dance, improv, and step. With storytelling, I’m nervous-nervous.

So, if you’re available to come to the Park West for the show, please do! And if you’re able to go all Oprah’s Favorite Things on me, please do that too!

Thank you!!! From the bottom of my nervous-nervous heart.

For more information on Fear Experiment and to get tickets, head here