Archive for May, 2014

It Takes a Village Pt 2: Lessons from an Olympic Gold Medalist

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

I am writing, as promised, to share about the Saturn Returns process.  As we gear up for our shoot in June I’ve been learning so much!

A few weeks ago I wrote about the concept of “It Takes a Village” to make a movie like this one.  Well, today I want to share one of the places that concept led me to and the wonderful lesson I learned.

In the spirit of “It Takes a Village” I’ve literally met hundreds of people who I’ve shared the film with. And by meet I mean actually sit down and have a meeting.  It would be tempting sometimes, as I talked about in the last blog, to get frustrated and feel like “if only I can do my art!”

But, once I embraced the concept that building the village is as much a part of the creative process as the director’s prep, some wonderful things really opened up for me.  Here’s one of them…

I was introduced to the amazing Kelly Clark.  If you’re a Mammoth-lover or Mammoth-local, you know that she is the most successful snowboarder, man or woman, of all time.  She won her first Olympic medal, the gold, in Salt Lake in 2002.  Now, 12 years later, she is still the one to beat.  She’s the only woman who can throw a 1080 (3 turns in the air) in competition.  She came in 4th in Torino, bronze medaled in Vancouver, and then competed in Sochi.  I’ve been fortunate enough to become friends with her and we had a terrific conversation a few weeks after she came back from Sochi.

If you didn’t watch the half-pipe competition, here’s what you have to know; the conditions in the pipe were terrible.  The weather was really warm and the organizers couldn’t keep the pipe frozen.  It kept melting and then refreezing when they put chemicals on it.  The result was a combination of slush, ice and lots of bumps.

I’m not a snowboarder, but as Kelly told me, when you ride down and then up the pipe, you have to “carry a lot of speed” to be able to do the tricks.  If you don’t go fast enough, you can’t throw tricks.  If the conditions are bumpy and irregular it slows you down.  Also, if you land on a bumpy wall, you are a lot more likely to fall then if you land on a smooth wall.

So, with all this knowledge, here’s what Kelly shared with me.  She fell five times before her last finals run.  She fell every single training run.  She fell in a qualifying run.  She fell in her first of two finals runs.

She also told me that she almost never falls.  By way of comparison, the week after the Olympics she competed in another event and didn’t fall the entire week.  She barely put her hand down once in 15 runs.  This gives you an idea how bad the situation at Sochi was.

And here’s what I heard her share.  She kept getting back up.  Even after her first finals run, she fell and she got back up.  On the world’s biggest stage, in primetime, with more then 3 billion people watching, she fell… and she got back up.  And then she won a bronze medal.

I saw her a few weeks ago and got to talk to her some more and hold her medal.   She said that this medal was the most special of all the medals that she’s ever won because of how hard it was to win it.

kelly

I was incredibly inspired by Kelly’s story for a couple of reasons.  First, we hear all about how getting to the Olympics and competing on the world stage with the best of the best involves sacrifice and hard work.  But, when I heard the details of what Kelly went through I really heard something I’d never heard before.  The sacrifice and hard work involve not just runs in the pipe, workouts and travel away from your family.  The sacrifice I saw was the sacrifice of ego.  The sacrifice of the easy way out.  The sacrifice of feeling good.

She kept getting back up on the board and riding down the pipe, fully aware that she might totally bite the dust, look stupid and fail in front of 3 billion people.

And here’s what Kelly’s story has in common with making a film.  I can’t say that I’ve fallen 5 times at the Olympics, but I can say that I’ve been rejected by hundreds if not thousands of people in the five years I’ve been working on Saturn Returns.  I’ve gone to meeting after meeting and been told no.  I’ve been told yes and then no.  I’ve had people tell me yes for three years or even five years and then tell me no.  I’ve had people question my sanity, my creativity, my judgement, and more.  In short, I’ve bitten the dust, looked stupid and failed.

Turns out the keys to getting a movie made and winning an Olympic medal aren’t so different.  You can’t win if you don’t get back up and ride again. 

By embracing the it-takes-a-village concept, I got to hear Kelly’s story and get inspired to get back up and keep going another day.  And now I get to share it with you.

I hope it inspires you, too, to keep going even when you fall repeatedly.

Please consider supporting our indiegogo campaign and going on the journey with us as we make the film.  Lots of cool ways to participate!  Only 6 days left!

 

 

It Takes A Village

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

I am writing, as I promised, to share about the Saturn Returns process.  As we gear up for our shoot in June I’ve been learning so much!

One of the things I most want to share has to do with the idea of team.  Now, you probably know that I spend a lot of time talking about team building and leadership in my various classes and coaching.  Today I want to talk about something a little different.  To borrow from Hilary Clinton and the Nigerian Igbo culture, I want to talk about the idea that a project (or your career) “takes a village.”

You might have heard me talk about the idea that nothing of any scope or magnitude in life happens alone.  We can’t even procreate by ourselves, right?  Yet, this business can be extraordinarily isolating if we’re not careful.  We write alone.  We go to auditions alone.  We sit at our desks making calls or sending emails alone.  When we get to be a part of a group making something, it’s often short and fleeting, preceded and followed by a lot of work all by ourselves.

When it comes to Saturn Returns I’ve found myself using the phrase “it takes a village to make a film like this” over and over again.  And while that, in and of itself, has not been a big surprise, what that actually looks like and really means, practically speaking, has been surprising to me.  Here’s what I mean…

It takes a village, and you have to love the village.  A lot of actors I meet tell me “I just want to act.”  A lot of writers I meet tell me, “I just want to write.”  Ditto with directors, sound mixers, wardrobe stylists, you name it.

We feel we have a calling. There’s something that we love doing and we’re good at it.  If only all this other junk would just go away, we’d be so much happier and fulfilled.  We come to resent all this other stuff we have to do.  All the people we have to meet, the calls we have to make, the events we have to go to, the hustling we have to do.  Ugh.  When does it all end?

This is the village I’m talking about.  This is the village we have to love.  It would be so easy for me to resent how long it’s taken to raise the money for Saturn Returns, the number of meetings I’ve had that have gone nowhere, the number of people who’ve told me they’ll invest and then backed out, and on and on.  But one of the things that I’ve come to learn is that the village is every bit as much a part of making Saturn Returns as the actual filmmaking.  They go hand in hand.  There’s an idea that you can be a filmmaker without all of this other stuff, but, frankly, I think it’s a myth.  At least in this day and age.  And the sooner we kiss the myth of the pure filmmaker or pure artist, actor or writer good-bye, the better.  It’s like kissing the myth of Prince Charming good-bye.  Hard but so freeing once we do it.

So, my lesson is love your village the way you love your art.  You can’t have one without the other.  It can be hard to love your village, I know.  But, truth be told, some days it can be hard to love your art, right?  Your village and your art demand a lot out of you.  But it’s in the service of something important, something extraordinary, something you’ve dedicated your life to doing.

Gotta love the Village.

 

Why You Haven’t Accomplished Your Goal: Reason #4

Monday, May 5th, 2014

As I’ve written the past few months, a lot of my clients find me and my coaching when they are very frustrated.  They work hard, get training, go to networking events, make phone calls, submit themselves and their work, and yet they aren’t getting where they want to go!

This series of blogs gets to the bottom of why you’re stopped, stuck, or not moving very fast.  In February, I tackled the problem of not really knowing what your goal is specifically.  In March, we dealt with the second reason you might not have accomplished your goal, that you don’t have a strategy.  Last month I dug into the problem of knowing your goal and your strategy but not doing what you need to do.  If you haven’t read these blogs, I highly recommend checking them out.

Let’s look at the fourth reason you haven’t accomplished your goal…

You know your goal, you have a strategy and you’re executing it,

but you’re not doing it effectively and powerfully.

You know you’re not making the most of networking events.  You make phone calls and no one calls back.  You submit your work and never get a response.

powerfully

Someone says “tell me about yourself” and you answer in a big jumble.  You labor over decisions about what to do next, only to find yourself feeling like you went down the wrong path or made a mistake.

If any of this resonates, then there are some flaws in your game.  You are not executing your plan as effectively as you could be.  And, the effect of this is a lot of wasted time and effort and way too much disappointment.

I can’t go into all the reasons why you might not be executing your game-plan powerfully, but I can give you a few tips and steer you in the direction of where to get the tools you need.

First…

You’ve got to share yourself powerfully to accomplish your goal. 

If people don’t know what you’re up to, they can’t support you, partner with you or mentor you, pure and simple.  It’s up to you to share yourself in such a way that someone is inspired to read your script, wants make a phone call on your behalf, or have a meeting with you.

In Jump Start™ we work on what I like to call a personal logline.  This is a short, powerful way to share yourself in any situation.  It’s short enough to say it on the briefest phone call, in an elevator, or at a party waiting in line at the bar.

Second…

You need to know your brand and have everything aligned with it. 

You have a brand, whether you know it or not.  If you don’t know it, chances are others don’t know either.  If people don’t know your brand, it’s hard for them to hire you, and create with you or for you.

Recently, a client of mine got very clear about her brand in one of my classes.  She’s a sexy scientist.  Lo and behold, the very next week she booked a great role in a studio feature as, wouldn’t you know, a sexy scientist.  She’d never gotten this clear before, even though as she looked back at her career she realized that she’d been predominately cast in these types of roles.  Once she got crystal clear she stopped going out for roles she wasn’t right for, her booking ratio went up, and she started booking better jobs.

Third…

You need to build powerful teams around you

and take responsibility for leading them. 

Most creative people are used to going it alone.  We write by ourselves.  We compose alone.  We go to acting class with a just few people.

This might be great for the creative process, but it is death to your career.  To have your dream career, you need to have a passionate team working on your behalf and you need to lead that team effectively.

By team I mean your agent and manager, yes, but also your significant other, your accountability partner, your coach, a mentor (or more than one,) your producing partner, and more.

Executing your strategy is made up of many components.  I’ve dealt with a few here, but I tackle these and several more in Jump Start™.  To learn more and get more tools, visit www.entertainmentcareerstrategy.com.  Click on “Coaching and Mentoring” or “Breakthrough Store.”  Check out THRIVE and Jump Start™ to get started.

 

Love and Success!