Ideas are Nothing: Action is Everything

Ideas are Nothing: Action is Everything

Ideas are Nothing: Action is Everything

Sean LaFollette
Sean LaFollette
2 years ago

I honestly believe the path to success is driven simply by action. It doesn’t matter how amazing/terrible you might be at something, without action, you won't experience any growth and you won't progress towards your goals. Your dreams will never be realized and you’ll go through life always wondering what could’ve been.

It’s not enough to want something in this life. Nobody is going to give you anything, you have to be willing to fight for it and you have to do so through action. Ideas are a dime a dozen, it’s the person who takes action that comes out on top.

The problem is, taking action is scary. You put yourself in the vulnerable position of becoming a failure and it’s likely you will be. Congratulations, because failure leads to growth. Seek failure and seek it often. Take more action, better action, faster action and you’ll see exponential growth. You’ll begin to progress in your career, helping to realize your dreams.

The below examples are all about taking action. Follow along as I walk you through different scenarios of people taking action on the same career. The results may be eye opening, helping you to realize a pivot might be necessary on your own career journey.

Ideas are Nothing Action is Everything

Behind The Scenes of My Second Feature Film What About Molly?

THE CAREER PATHS WE CHOOSE

Two people want to be film directors. One writes and writes and writes some more, attempting to perfect the art with the hopes of getting financing for one of their projects. The other writes and then shoots, not worrying about obtaining perfection. Each person walks their own path, resulting in two different outcomes. The question is, which person walked the correct path?

Really, that all depends on the desired outcome. With the goal of becoming a film director, the first person never actually directed a film. They wrote several screenplays and maybe did so beautifully, but never realized their dream of becoming a director. Many people think ‘I'll just write until my script gets picked up and then eventually, someone is going to let me direct.’ That person is likely to be left disappointed.

The second person in the example didn’t focus on attaining that unattainable perfection. They didn’t wait for permission to direct a film. They wrote a script, likely not the best one and they simply made their movie. The result isn’t going to be perfect, but their dream of directing a film has been realized.

Looking back at the first person in our example, let’s take it a step further. Again with the goal of becoming a director, they write and upon completion of their 30th screenplay, they finally get one optioned and made into a film. The result of their efforts ends in the person getting an agent and moving on to have a career in the entertainment industry...as a writer.

Our writer in the example may eventually get their chance at directing a film, but it’s going to come many years down the road. That person will finally get fed up with never being given a chance and they’ll take the leap they perhaps should’ve taken when they first started out.

Looking back at the director's path, the second person finishes their first film with a disappointing result. Not to be discouraged, they rinse and repeat several times, going on to build a catalog of 3 or 4 movies. With each result showing vast improvement, the filmmaker eventually gets into several festivals building some momentum. Through industry networking, people start to talk and our filmmaker eventually scores an agent, going on to have a career in the entertainment industry...as a director.

Two paths of action resulting in two very different careers.

Ideas are Nothing Action is Everything

Behind The Scenes of My Second Feature Film What About Molly?

THE TALE OF TWO DIRECTORS

It was over 10 years ago now and I can still remember the conversation like it was yesterday. On the phone with my mentor in Australia, Chris went on to say this…Everyone in Hollywood is either a writer, a director, a producer or actor. The difference is, when you ask them what they’ve worked on, most won't have an answer. You’re not going to be that person.

Fast forward a few years to another conversation I had with Chris. With two short films under my belt, I spoke about wanting to find an agent and getting a chance to direct feature films. His response, have you ever directed a feature length film? Sadly, the answer was no and Chris went on in that conversation to explain it to me like this.

You have two directors up for the same job. The first has made several short films in their career, finally resulting in them winning an Oscar. The other director has made a few shitty feature length films. Which one gets the job? 99% of the time it’s going to be the director who makes a few feature length films.

The point Chris was making is that action is what matters. The director who made the shitty feature films would likely get a job because they’ve shown they can make a feature length film. Nobody knows if the other director can withstand what it takes to make a feature. All we know is that they can make a damn good short. Are you going to trust your 50 million dollar project in the hands of someone who’s never made a feature length film?

Action is everything. If you want to be a feature length film director, then you need to direct feature length films. It’s not easy, but it is simple.

Ideas are Nothing Action is Everything

Behind The Scenes of My Second Feature Film What About Molly?

THE WRITER WHO NEVER WAS

Two people want to be writers. Both start out the same, they read a few books, take a few classes and write several scripts. Neither get into any festivals or gain any traction within the industry. Left depressed, lost and defeated, a choice must be made on what to do next. A choice that could have an immense downstream impact on one's career.

The first choice that could be made, is to simply give up. Pull the plug on this whole writing thing and move on with life. Stop chasing the dream, accept that you’ll sit in your cubicle for the rest of your adult life and dream of what could’ve been. Me being The Failed Filmmaker, I really hate this choice. I don’t consider it and neither will the writers in this example. Let’s look at the other choices.

Much like the want to be directors in our first example, our two writers are going to walk very different paths. Writer number one decides to hold their head high and try again. Failing, struggling, fighting and clawing their way from script to script until finally they get accepted as a finalist in that festival they so desired.

Acceptance in this prestigious festival pushes writer one’s career forward, resulting in them landing an agent and working in the industry as a writer. Maybe they end up in the writers room of a show or two. Perhaps they write a feature or a show of their own. It doesn’t really matter as the point is, writer number one has become a writer.

Ideas are Nothing Action is Everything

Behind The Scenes of My Second Feature Film What About Molly?

Writer number two chooses another path. A few scripts under their belt, they decide to apply for a studio job as a reader. The thought is they will get on the inside of the industry. Writer number two will get to read several scripts a day, allowing them to see what’s good and what’s not. This will help to improve their own writing. After a few years and contacts within the industry, writer number two thinks they will be more positioned for success.

Writer number two isn’t wrong, they certainly are positioned for success. After two years of being a reader and little to no time to actually write, the boss calls writer number two into the office and offers them a promotion. More money, responsibility and a chance at a higher level career in the industry. Writer number two accepts.

The problem is, more responsibility comes with less time to the point where the writer eventually never writers again. Rinse and repeat promotion after promotion and the next thing you know, writer number two has a 30 year career in a job they didn’t even want. They never actually realize their dream of becoming a writer.

Taking proper action is important. If you want to be a writer, director, producer, editor, actor, etc...take the proper action that will result in the career you so desire. Perform in the job you want to hold.

Ideas are Nothing Action is Everything

Behind The Scenes of My Second Feature Film What About Molly?

FINAL THOUGHTS

I urge you now to take action. There’s no time like the present. Sit down, think about the career you want. Lay out the path and take action. Make progress towards your goals. Fight for your dreams. It’s going to be a long, tough road. Keep your head up and keep moving forward. The journey is worth it.

Action is going to come with failure. Accept it and get comfortable with knowing that failure equals growth. You can’t have one without the other. So as you move forward in your own careers, every failure should come with a smile. A smile that says, I took action, I failed, I grew and I am one step closer to realizing my dreams.

Take action.

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About the Author

Sean LaFollette

Sean LaFollette

Director, Filmmaker, Producer, Screenwriter

The Failed Filmmaker - An independent artist with over 10 years of experience. Find out more at www.thefailedfilmmaker.net

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