“I failed” is ten times more of a man than someone that says “what if” cause “what if” never went to the arena! – Greg Plitt.
I’ve been in the film industry under varied hats (actor, screenwriter, script doctor, producer, stuntman and now director) for years. I’ve been through a lot (like a lot) and I have learned (and am still learning) the HARD WAY about the nature of this fickle beast. Now if there’s one thing that I eventually struggled with that I couldn’t shake off is how to NOT become cynical/jaded in an industry that is filled with false promises, bullshit, and let downs?
I mean; why get pumped about writing a script for a film that has little chances of getting made? Why get stoked about an audition when getting the part is one in a million? Why get excited about submitting your film to a Festival when chances are they’ll turn you down? Why get excited about directing a film when the odds of making your money back or/and locking distribution are against you? And I won’t even get into the hardships that come with “making an actual living” in this business – nope – no novels today. Hence, for a long time, after so many let downs, I lived that way: coming into projects fairly cold to protect myself emotionally from what will most likely be A LOT OF FIGHT in exchange for DISAPPOINTMENTS and LITTLE REWARDS. On that, I was never sold on my approach to the process being that I was nurturing negative energy and it was sucking the “fun” out of trying to make movies.
But it’s all I knew. I simply couldn’t crack how to consolidate having a “positive attitude” with the reality that is this cut-throat, false promises filled and “you scratch my back I ignore yours” industry. But this month, I finally figured it out for myself and I’m sharing it with you because I’m sure I’m not the only mook in the biz that’s struggled with this.
Remove the bulk of your focus from the end game and instead celebrate the steps forward, no matter how small they are.
Make sense? Yes? No? Here’s an example: I have been trying to get this new project off the ground this year. And for a couple of months now, every week or so, the project would inch forward, yes INCH. But you know what? An inch forward is better than an inch backwards or no inch at all… in the film industry an inch forward is f*cking mammoth! So I’d smile, and celebrate the step by having a drink with buds, going to hike a mountain in honor of that step, having a stogie etc. By perceiving things in that manner, focusing on the steps forward that were achieved as opposed to the end result that has yet to come, I managed to seep in more positive energy than usual in terms of the overall procedure of trying to get a film off the ground.
Now this project I was attempting to get going, went south right at the fucking finish line 2 days ago, the path we were on was gonna end one way or the other and sadly it took the “no dice” route right at the end. Sure it hurt me when it nose dived but not as much as it could have because of this new perspective that I applied – all of my energy wasn’t put on the end result but in acknowledging and being proud of the success in the actual steps forward instead. PS: I’m back to square one with that project; ready to fight some more – it will fly one way or another – I know it when I have a winner on my hands and this is one. More news when it locks.
So there you have it, I hope this “celebrate the steps” angle makes sense for y’all. Because it has helped me cope with the harsh reality of this business and I hope it does the same for you. Am done! Back to the hustle! The Shelter is calling my name! That demanding mofo is never done with me….