When it comes to making films, many times you’ll find yourself stuck. Maybe your screenplay has hit a wall. Maybe you’ve been working on your film and can’t find that initial investment. Or perhaps you can’t find the money for post production. Well, there is one technique you can use to get yourself to the next step: create your own deadline.
Having a deadline gives you purpose and focus. It gives you the determination to move your project forward. Think about it. When someone tells you, “I need results by the end of the week,” you normally push yourself harder to finish whatever project you’re working on. Some people wait until the last minute, but that’s really not important in the grand scheme of things. What is important is that you are forced to take action.
The Art of Creating Your Own Deadline
Let me tell you a story about the time I was stuck on my screenplay for The Alphabet Killer (this was eventually turned into a feature film starring Eliza Dushku, Tim Hutton, and Cary Elwes.) I couldn’t figure out where to go with it. I had hit a wall creatively. The screenplay was only about 60 pages but it needed to become a 110 page screenplay.
To overcome my writer’s block, I created a deadline for myself. But that’s not all. To further make myself accountable, I reached out to a very powerful producer and pitched her the screenplay. To my surprise, she was like: “Great, I’d love to read it!” And I was like, “Okay, I’ll send it to you Monday.” And that was my deadline.
In retrospect, this was crazy. I was only half way done with the script. And I had sixty more pages to write. And it had to be good. So I stopped EVERYTHING and worked non-stop on the screenplay. If I didn’t deliver the screenplay on Monday, the producer would think I was a total amateur. I remember I barely slept and finished the screenplay… And I emailed it to her Monday before the end of the day.
In this example, I would have never finished that screenplay without the self-imposed deadline. Calling the producer gave me a MAJOR reason to finish. I highly encourage you to use this “deadline-accountability” technique if you’re stuck. It may give you a few grey hairs… But you’ll level-up your filmmaking.