Welcome to the new decade! The holidays are the perfect opportunity to take inventory of all the activities you have done this year and examine what has worked for you and what you need to improve on.
A Resolution is only as good as the plan devised to execute it.
And before the planning, comes the soul searching. Every activity we undertake in this life, be it professional, or personal, has an opportunity for growth at its core.
I am offering below some questions you may want to ask yourself that will show you what your top 5 priorities should be for your script, project, or film and some of my personal recommends and practical suggestions for the areas that you have decided, after careful examination, that contains the most of your weak spots.
If you know who your ICA (Ideal Client Avatar) is and you what emotion you need to convey to solicit a read or an in-person meeting, you are ahead of the game.
If you can write a query email that states who you are, the comps of your project or script, and gives just enough information on the story and plot to incite interest, you are ahead of the game.
If you can sit in a room or get on the phone with an interested party and be able to establish a genuine connection (knowing the person you are pitching to and making a personal compliment stick does go a long way) while being able to convey your passion and the most important elements of your story in less than 5 minutes, you are ahead of the game.
For some great tips on how to “sell” I would suggest you read “Born to Win” by Zig Ziglar.
If you have gotten at least 70% response to your queries or meetings and scripts submissions regardless of the reaction, you are ahead of the game. You made enough of an impression for an executive to take the time to let you know they did read you or thought of your project and therefore were able to respond in some manner.
If you had a polite pass, such as a compliment on some aspect of your story and writing or a pass with actual details on why your material was passed on, you are ahead of the game.
If you got a response for you to keep in touch with the progress of your project or script, you are ahead of the game.
If your feedback ratio is under 70%, then bluntly put, your material is just not good enough or its time for the current marketplace has not come.
For some great tips on making some improvements to your material, I would suggest the book "Your Screenplay Sucks: 100 ways to make it great" by William M. Akers.
If you read an average of 10 produced screenplays a year, you are ahead of the game. Brownie points for being able to recognize why those scripts got made, to begin with – if it was the technical writing, the sum of its creative attachments or the message aka emotional core of the material.
If you watch at least the Pilot of every hit show out there and at least the top 10 box office hits of the year and the top 10 indie films (hit as defined by critics, word of mouth), you are ahead of the game. Information is power.
If you read the Trades every day (Variety, Hollywood Reporter) and can with confidence name at least one credit for the top Show Runners or Hollywood Producers or A list stars, you are ahead of the game. Brownie points if you know the history behind how a certain show got greenlit or the journey of a hit or Oscar-winning film to get realized.
For opportunities to attend screenings of some wonderful indie films and shows, you may want to consider joining Film Independent.
Networking is the single most important thing you can focus on to advance your career. A while ago I wrote in one of my blogs about the power behind the power lunch. If you have succeeded to invite to lunch or coffee or drinks an established actor, director, producer, distributor, financier, you are ahead of the game.
There are things you can do to cultivate and nourish those relationships and believe it or not, none of those things have to do with the quality of your material (well, partially the do) and everything to do with your personality and genuine interest in getting to know the people you want to be in business with.
Succeeding at anything in life is a mental game. If you are not at a peak mental state it is hard to follow through or get results from the activities in the 4 paragraphs above.
If you are dedicating at least 20 minutes of your day priming – meaning being in a prime high vibration state, you are ahead of the game. A positive and upbeat attitude is contagious and will open more doors than an impersonal query blast. Much of it can be attained with meditation, self- help books, listening to upbeat music, being in nature, following a good diet and fitness regime.
If you have taken critique well and are open to improve your craft or do whatever is necessary to show your love for your work and the love for the Business you chose to be in, you are ahead of the game.
If by reading this you have recognized patterns that deter you from your goals, work on these first as you embark in the New Year and make them a Resolution.
If you have recognized regular routines that have already been implemented and have yielded positive results, keep going! And increase 5x.
I promise you that getting these 5 questions properly answered will create natural action steps to make your New Year’s resolutions stick.
I leave you with a great quote by Paul Arden, a former executive at Saatchi & Saatchi and a legend of British advertising.
“What is a good idea? One that happens is. If it doesn’t, it isn’t”.
The best piece of advice ever given was by the art director of Harper's Bazaar told Richard Avedon, one of the world's greatest photographers.
The advice was simple: “Astonish Me!”. Bear those words in mind and you will be a success.
Happy New Year!
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