Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

Back in late October 2010, I went to a taping of Inside The Actors Studio in Manhattan. I was lucky enough to get a ticket, especially now that I don’t hear of tickets for the show going public anymore. This taping featured Pace University’s Acting Program graduate Bradley Cooper, and it was a special night for the school, as well as Dean James Lipton, host of the show, and myself, a fan of both the show and Bradley, and an outsider lucky enough to be in the same room with both men.

There was a break during the taping, where people were leaving and students moved themselves to the area by the stage for the classroom segment. I stayed in my seat while people migrated to the stage, hoping to get a picture with and/or a signature from Bradley; I figured I’d wait until after the taping was over to see if I would get lucky.

Once the taping was over, I’d made my way to the stage, towards the crowd of people waiting to get Bradley’s autograph and as many pictures as they could. I’d left my camera at home — even after I’d bought a brand new memory card for it — and ended up buying a digital camera from a J&R electronics store up the street, so I used that. Unfortunately, the pictures came put really blurry, as if someone had been shaking the camera while pressing the shutter button.

The reason for that was because I was so worked up, so teeth-shattering nervous, I shook like a leaf! This was a big deal! I can only imagine what I’d be like had it been Leonardo DiCaprio and I was my 14-year-old self; I’d have probably fainted! But there would be no fainting here.

Alas, I did not get his autograph, but I reassured myself, while leaving the building and taking deep breaths to regain my composure and stop shaking, that I’d eventually see him — or at least be lucky enough to be in the same room with him — again, and it did happen a few months later at a Times Talk interview, where Bradley was promoting Limitless. That day, I was lucky enough to ask him a couple of questions, and I wasn’t shaking like a leaf this time! That made up big time for not getting an autograph.

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