On Monday next week, we’re kicking off a free five-day mini course called The Fundamentals of Filmmaking Success. Basically, I’m going to give you the blueprint for how to build the film career you’ve always wanted.
It’s gonna be rad.
But before we can dive into those lessons, we need to take a step back and set the stage a little bit.
Because most of the time, your biggest obstacle—the thing that’s holding you back most from your ideal film career—isn’t a lack of knowledge or strategy.
It’s your own psychology. It’s you.
In my own experience (and with lots of the filmmakers I’ve worked with and coached) when it comes to making progress in our lives and careers, we’re our own worst enemy.
Tell me if you can relate to this.
Every day feels like a constant battle to be disciplined and do the work and live up to your potential. And every day, you go to bed feeling like you spent a lot of energy, did a lot of random stuff, but didn’t actually make progress on your goals.
That was the story of my life for many years. And it sucked, because I would try all sorts of new tactics and to-do apps and productivity strategies, and nothing would happen. I’d still be stuck.
What I'm getting at is that, more often than not, it’s our psychology that’s holding us back, not our lack of information. It’s our bad mental habits that ultimately lead to poor time-management skills, procrastination, and lack of clear direction.
So it's not enough to just know WHAT we need to do in our careers. We must know HOW to do it, preferably in a way that works with our psychology.
With that in mind, there are two destructive mental stories that we tell ourselves, each deeply rooted in our psychology, that are responsible for much of our inaction. These stories are basically a mental roadblock to getting shit done and making progress.
To be successful in our careers, we must destroy them. Which is what today’s email is all about.
Let’s dig in.
“I need to gain more knowledge, more gear, more everything!
Have you ever said to yourself, “I’ll be ready for the next big leap in my career as soon as I have fill in the blank.”
Maybe it’s a new piece of gear. Maybe it’s a technique or skill you have to learn. Maybe it’s something psychological like confidence or motivation.
“Once I’ve got that,” you tell yourself, “then I’ll be ready to do great things!”
Then a funny thing happens. As soon as you acquire that knowledge, that piece of gear, or improve your psychology, you instinctively look for the next thing to learn, the next thing to buy.
It’s a completely natural thing to do. We’re evolved to collect and store things. That’s what our distant ancestors had to do in order to survive, and those genetics are still part of us.
Now here’s where things get a little dangerous. It actually feels productive to consume and collect. It feels like we’re making progress when we learn new things. That spike of dopamine we get from buying something new makes us feel great, at least for a brief moment.
That’s why it’s so easy to get stuck in a pattern like this. We consume and collect, consume and collect, all the while feeling good and thinking we’re doing something worthwhile.
Don’t be fooled. This is just procrastination in disguise.
We’re using a disproportionate amount of our energy on consuming and collecting stuff, and not investing nearly enough into doing the work that will move our careers forward.
And the more we train ourselves to consume—the more it becomes habitual—the harder it becomes to produce.
If we’re not careful, it can turn into a never-ending hamster wheel of doom.
If any of this sounds like you, don’t worry. I still struggle with this pretty much every day.
By our very nature, we’re designed to seek out pleasure and avoid pain. It’s one of those biological functions that at one time served to keep us alive.
With that said, we must fight this natural urge.
Because shifting your energy from consuming to producing is one of the secrets to having a great film career. It’s not as sexy or fun as buying new stuff. But it’s damn effective.
In fact, I’m willing to bet that you could make an insane amount of progress towards your career goals in the next 90 days with the exact knowledge and gear you have right now. You just need to do the work.
And that’s exactly what you’ll learn to do in the free 5-day course coming up. It’s going to get you out of consumption mode and into a routine where you consistently tackle your important work every day.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First we’ve got another myth to tackle. Onward!
“Great film careers are reserved for the most talented, or those with the biggest bank accounts, or those who are the best at networking.”
Have you ever looked at a successful filmmaker, whether it’s a Hollywood hotshot like George Lucas or an indie darling like Mark Duplass, and thought to yourself, “Well of course they were successful! They had [fill in the blank] advantage!”
Maybe it’s that they’re insanely talented. Or they came from a wealthy family. Or they’re naturally outgoing and great at networking. Or they were in the right place at the right time. Whatever.
These thoughts might be true—and they really did have some kind of advantage that you don’t—or maybe they’re not. Doesn’t really matter.
The only truth that matters is that when you start thinking this way, you’re less likely to succeed.
Because when you start thinking like this, it’s easy to justify why you aren’t as successful as they are, and why you never will be. It’s a way for us to protect our ego and feel better about our current position in life.
And there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable with where we currently are. We’re all on different paths and at a different place in our journey. Nothing wrong with that.
But when we view ourselves as being less privileged or gifted than other filmmakers, it robs us of our ability to author our future. It makes us feel like our potential is less than theirs because we don’t have the same advantages.
Not only is that not useful, it’s just not true.
Based on what I’ve seen and experienced, great film careers aren’t reserved for the wealthiest, luckiest, or most talented.
Instead, they’re reserved for those who are willing to think strategically, put in the consistent hard work, and be really damn persistent.
If you can do those three things, I guarantee you can build whatever kind of film career you want.
Whether you want to make it in Hollywood, build a successful production company, or make your living with indie films. All of it is possible, for anyone reading this.
Yeah, it’ll be easier to get ahead if you’re talented, or if you’ve got money, or if you’re great at networking.
But not having those things isn’t a deal breaker.
It just means you’ll have to work a little bit harder to get where you want to go. Which is fine, because when you’re doing hard work in pursuit of a career you love, it’s totally worth it.
So with all of that said, my two questions for you today are… 1). Do you want a thriving film career? 2). Are you willing to do the work required to get there?
If you answered yes to both of those, continue on with this five part course, because it will give you a handy blueprint to make progress.