How To Achieve Your Filmmaking Goals Fast by Filmmaker Jeff Orig
As filmmakers, we dream big. Perhaps we want to win an Academy Award one day; change people’s lives with our stories; or just make a full-time living from our craft.
Most of us are not taught how to achieve our filmmaking goals and dreams but this is a learnable skill. Like anything getting things done takes knowledge and practice.
How close are you to accomplishing your filmmaking goals? Hopefully you are closer than when you started. If not, here is a Quick Start Guide to Achieving Your Filmmaking Goals.
How To Achieve Your Filmmaking Goals Fast
1. Set and write down your filmmaking goals with a clear deadline.
For example, “Shoot, edit, and distribute my short film by August 1.”
2. Write down all of the reasons why you want to achieve your filmmaking goals.
This will help you stay motivated in the long term. When the going gets tough, look at this list. It will keep you going.
For example, “to feel great, to have a sense of accomplishment, to have a calling card short film, to practice and get better at my craft, to have a great piece to put on my demo reel, to work with great actors, to work with great crew, to have an excuse to rent the Red Epic, to have a reason to use my jib.” This is oftentimes not money, but what the money will bring you: freedom, less stress, joy and pleasure.
3. Immediately take ANY action toward your filmmaking goals.
This is the biggest stumbling block for most people. They get stuck in two places in this step. The first place they get stuck is “immediately.” When I say “immediately,” I mean immediately.
As soon as you write down the goal take some sort of action toward it. Put the pen down and call to book the location for the shoot or send a text to your cinematographer to discuss ideas on the look and feel of the movie. Anything and immediately. This will give you momentum in the right direction.
The other place people get stuck is they over-think what actions to take. What they fail to see is that any action will guide you as to whether you are getting closer or farther away from your goal.
Think about it for a moment. It’s like when you learned how to drive in a straight line and turn. When you first learned, you probably over-steered in one direction or the other. But eventually, you learned how to compensate just the right amount. The same is true with taking ANY ACTION toward your goal.
Even if the action you take is wrong, it will guide you. You will gain clarity on what actions to take and what actions to avoid. Don’t get me wrong, planning is great. But actions are better.
Definitely create a plan but don’t spend forever creating that plan and not doing anything. “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” -General George S. Patton, Jr.
4. Measure your progress towards your filmmaking goals regularly and often.
Keep this simple so that you do it. I like a printed calendar that I mark with an “X” as I do my daily actions. Weekly and monthly check-in’s are too far apart for me.
It is very easy to miss one and then slide into a downward spiral. Daily has been the best for me. I also keep my checkpoints to something that I can accomplish in one day, often allowing a ten minute minimum.
For example, “contact one agent a day or write for at least ten minutes.”
This allows me to do my daily goal very easily but often ends up with me doing it for much longer than ten minutes. It helps me take “the first step on the journey of a thousand miles.” Momentum is very important.
5. Repeat step 3 (take any action immediately) and step 4 (measure progress) until you get to your filmmaking goals.
Keep taking any action and keep measuring it. Before you know it you will have achieved your goal.
6. Make a public declaration with actual consequences.
Research has shown that making a public declaration of your goal and attaching a monetary consequence to the failure of missing that goal leads to higher success rates.
You can even use a free website called www.Stickk.com to help you with this step. I have used this website and it is excellent.
7. Celebrate the journey and every achievement of your goal.
This is very important. Keep in mind that as soon as you achieve your goal, most of us will set a new and higher goal.
If we do not celebrate the journey and achievement of the goal, you will always be dissatisfied because we set a new and higher goal. The target gets farther and farther away because we put it there.
Enjoy the journey and the achievement. Remember our reasons why we wanted the goal in the first place. When you look back you will see how great it was to get there. Enjoy it while you are there.
Here it is in a nutshell:
- Set and write down a very clear goal with a clear deadline.
- Write down all of the reasons why you want that goal.
- Immediately take ANY action toward it.
- Measure your progress regularly and often.
- Repeat step 3 (take any action immediately) and step 4 (measure progress) until you get to your goal.
- Make a public declaration with actual consequences.
- Celebrate the journey and achievement of your goal.
This is a culmination of several systems that have worked for me. The systems I reference here are: Tony Robbin’s RPM system, Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr. Maltz, M.D., and Jerry Seinfeld’s Calendar System. Definitely check out those systems for further refinement.
But this quick guide is a start, and should help you get closer to your filmmaking goals. Leave a comment below to let us know how you are doing or if you have any other tips that have worked for you.
Jeff Orig is an award winning filmmaker based in Honolulu. He is interested in life hacks that help achieve goals; the business of filmmaking; and telling stories better. He has produced feature film; produced and directed several TV Shows; currently in post-production on the feature-length documentary, The Hawaii Wisdom Project; and has various episodic and feature film projects in development. Check out his blog at www.OrigMedia.com/blog