Would you get on stage and read an excerpt from your childhood journal to an audience of strangers? No? How about your angsty teenage poetry then? Or an old love letter you never had the courage to give to your crush in high school?
Odds are that you probably wouldn't feel comfortable sharing your most embarrassing private thoughts with a room full of strangers, no matter how long ago you wrote them. But hundreds of people around the world are doing just that, and you can witness it on Netflix.
"Mortified Nation" is a documentary that follows a live show in which adults "share the shame" and read writings of their former selves to an audience.
Take Tynan, for example, who used his teenage journal to express his inner rap persona. Tynan describes himself as a "a lovesick 15-year-old who had the heart of a poet and the vocabulary of Flava Flav":
And then there's Stacy, who wanted nothing more in teenage life than her first kiss:
HuffPost Entertainment reached out to "Mortified" creator David Nadleberg, who inspired everyone to take their letter-filled shoeboxes out from under the bed:
With all the teen angst involved, "Mortified Nation" runs the risk of being super depressing, but it's actually not at all.
Hilda [Rasula, the film's editor] found a tone that was 85 percent funny and the remaining introspective or poignant. Underneath each of those stories is something very relatable about a kid who’s just trying to fit in or feels different. If you look at a lot of the stories, all of them about identity or shame, watching a teenager try and figure out what type of person they want to be. Their journals, letters, poems capture those moments, and the audience relates, and it ends up being an enjoyable, hilarious, enriching experience.
How did you choose which performers to spotlight in the documentary?
We were not making a best-of, we were trying to make a thing that took you in many different directions in terms of topics. Some stuff that’s sweet and PG, like a girl who’s angry at her parents, to things that are way more specific such as a guy with a secret heavy metal alter ego or a woman dealing with topics as ugly as physical abuse. All of those topics are equally valid. We try to create a portrait of “This is what it means to be a kid of any generation.”
What do you suggest for those who are far too introverted to get on stage and participate in "Mortified?"
Regardless of whether you’re interested in participating, I highly encourage everyone to dig up something: an old photo, or a ridiculous drawing you did of your social studies teacher in 10th grade. Share it with someone you’re dating, or your best friend. You end up learning so much about each other.
What's one message would you like people to take away from the film?
It’s important to know that certainly it gets better, but maybe even more important is that it gets funnier.
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