We didn't get a trophy at the Emmys last weekend. The seventh time in a row for me, bringing me one step closer to Susan Lucci, and like her, I keep getting stronger in the process. At # seven, I feel much less personally affected than previous years, and it seems that now I’m in a unique position to share some tips on how to deal with this kind of situation. Let me be clear: being nominated is an insane honor, and that is totally ENOUGH. Being double nominated this year was that much more incredible, and no win or loss is really necessary at all. Our fellow peer group of designers and decorators and art directors is one of the most exclusive branches in the Academy, and to be recognized this many times from my peers is extremely special.
BEWARE - on the lead up to the Emmys, things can go haywire. You need to be prepared.
OK. If you go to the big show, you'll not only be in the company of the best of the best, but you're going to go on a ride of incredible nerves. I mean, there are 3000 professionals and celebrities in the seats watching every speech! What if you have to give one? And what if you don't?
My advice: be efficient with your emotions and compact this extreme experience into ONE DAY. Besides planning your outfit, don't think about the show until the big day, and cram all of this between 11:30am and the end of the night.
Go for a run or do some other exercise. Get any morning nervousness out.
Plan your “Thank You’s” morning of (perhaps in the shower alone). The nerves really start to get you when you start planning your Thank You’s, so you don’t want to start this process much earlier than the morning of. I plan it in the shower about an hour and a half before we leave the house to go to the Emmys.
Psyche yourself up again. Have a glass of champagne or two to relax yourself. Release the nerves.
Do the red carpet. If you have a publicist, you can talk and thank the press people all you want. Beware this will build more nerves. If you don’t, zip right through and get your pictures with your family. Have another glass in the lobby bar if you need to relax more.
Absorb the shock as best as you can. There are moments every time I go through this experience where I think, “I’m OK if I lose, because I don’t have to get up on that stage and potentially say something stupid to 3,000 people.” Well, then it happens. When you don't get called up there, there’s an incredible rush that goes through your body as you watch the trophy go to someone else. The speech is happening, but you’re not hearing it. Instead you’re hearing the sound of your own loud monologue going through your head saying, “Really? Was that really all that good?” It’s a lot of shock coupled with a little envy. You can’t really prepare for this, but because you’ve likely been envisioning yourself up on that stage for just a few hours, the rush subsides shortly thereafter.
Come down from your self pity. You realize your disappointment is going to be fine, and most importantly it's shared. Of course, this is not a reflection on your work. In fact, it's motivating in many ways. Luckily the funny thing about the awards show format is, after the winners are announced, they go up and disappear backstage through a press circuit (and most of them usually don’t come back in - they're having a celebratory drink at the lobby bar). So you’re in the audience to go through this emotional journey of flushing it out with your friends, family, and other Emmy nominees who are all equally disappointed because of their absence on stage. So in a way, everyone in the audience is sitting there stewing and not paying all that much attention to the show. Turn and look around, you're in great company.
Leave quickly just before the show ends. This one is important. You MUST get away from all the people feeling sorry for you. It really isn’t bad at all until people start amplifying it. “You were robbed!” “You deserved more!” Of course you know that, just a few hours ago you were accepting the trophy in the shower. It only really takes an hour or so to get over the self-defeat and flush it out internally. You just sat through most of it in the show, and if you sit and stew with folks, you build on the disappointment, and end up screwing yourself for the rest of the night. So go outside and take a breath and think how lucky you are to be there (again).
Make the decision to have fun. You have to process this Emmy decision by yourself before you can do any productive socializing, so be sure to avoid the lobby bar (where all the winners are celebrating) on your way out. It’s too soon for these types of conversations. Have a quiet moment by yourself, away from people, and make the choice to go have fun. There's a fabulous (and free) party to do so right after. Keep the early conversations positive and practice grace as you make your way to the Governors ball. In minutes, and a few repeat conversations, you'll be back to normal and drinking and dancing the night away having successfully navigated this epic journey.