Sheffield Adventure Film Festival 17 – ShAFF

I love film festivals.

I’ve worked & volunteered at ShAFF before, covered Kendal Mountain Festival for Myoutdoors on several occasions, and had the fortune to meet the organisers of both, including BANFF.

This year, after a year out, I was asked to be a presenter at ShAFF. Now, when it comes to public speaking, I have a stumbling block.

I have social anxiety.

As long as I can remember I’ve struggled. In language lessons I’d sit in silence when it was my time to speak, at a race in Glencoe I was representing the NSPCC and after my speech, sat on the floor, away from the stage, rocking back and forth, trapped within my nerves.

So, I took this as for as much for the opportunity to gain experience, as challenging myself to overcome my fears.


It started small, watching Matt, the festival organiser introduce the Young Adventurers session.

Throughout the next two days, the audiences grew, as did my confidence.


After prepping as best I could I presented the following sessions:

Mountain Films 2 Sat 18th 13:00 [SHU – The Void]

Climb Films 2 Sat 18th 15:00 [SHU – The Void]

Climb Films 3 Sat 18th 16:30 [Screen 2]

Climb Films 4 Sat 18th 18:30 [Screen 2]

Surf & Kayak Films Sat 18th 19:15 [Cinema Truck]

Sidetracked ShED Talks – Sunday Sun 19th 14:30 [Outpost]

Adrenaline Films 2 Sun 19th 20:45 [Screen 2]

I started off, mumbling along, transfixed on my breath, the sound of my voice, the cadence of my words, the eyes of countless audience members.

When a microphone was introduced, the feelings intensified, finding myself auditing my every line.

Yet, as each session finished, I found myself speaking less from notes and more from my intuition. Ad lib. Heck, I even started making jokes, though to what degree of success is questionable.


Though in no way would I say I can walk into a room of 50+ strangers and entertain, I’m already thinking about next year.

Take a risk, challenge your perceived barriers and above all, look for ways in which you can build yourself.

Oh yeh, and relax afterwards, you earnt it!

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