New Year’s Anti-Resolutions

Anti-New Year's resoltions for FilmmakersHere we are – a brand new year staring at you like a blank canvas. Everything you accomplish (or don’t) in the next year will forever have that date stamp: 2014, tattooed in the corner, for all your fans, friends and people important to you.

My name is Elliot Grove. I’ve witnessed 23 New Year’s celebrations since I started Raindance in 1992. The fresh perspective the New Year brings is a great time for reflection and renewal.

Here’s where so many of us go wrong: we make resolutions

The typical resolution:
How many make these resolutions?
  • Read More
  • Write More
  • Ditch The Boring Day Job
  • Make A Movie
  • Stop Procrastinating
These are all positive thoughts, but they are ultimately going to fail because they can’t be measured. Far better to say:

“I’m going to write 15 minutes every day before work.”

We’re adding a specific, which is good. But what if you miss a day? What happens if there is some sort of domestic issue that prevents you from writing for just 15 minutes on a particular day?

Then you have failed and you feel like a loser. You’ve broken your New Year’s Resolution and it’s barely a week into the New Year!

Fix it with the Anti-resolution!

When I teach screenwriting, I am always harping on about making a specific goal – one that can be measured. Without this, your screenplay, like your 2014 life story, has no focus or direction and will wander and become confused.

Start thinking about the goals of 2014 and ditch that word ‘resolution’. What I’m really talking about is something we can measure. Something we know is realistic and attainable. Something specific.

Remove ‘resolution’ from your vocabulary and start thinking about goals for the New Year.

Write 100 pages in 2014.

Let’s say you’re a screenwriter and you really want to improve your output. Let’s suppose you wrote 35 pages in 2014 and feel that if you add a bit of dedication you could easily write 100 pages – that’s just 2 pages a week!

This is a measurable and realistic goal. And let’s suppose that you miss a week — the good news is that you can make this up when it suits you later in the year. Let’s say you really get on a roll and write 110 pages in 2015?

I’d say: Let me give you a high 5! You surpassed your goal!

Let’s Craft Goals: 3 Tips

I’ve made hundreds of goals through the years at Raindance, and made a fair few learnings when I’ve missed my target. Self-improvement is something I’m always striving for and there are lots and lots of things, large and small, a screenwriter or filmmaker can strive for.

1. The goal must be measurable

The trick is to set goals that are achievable and measurable.
Turn I will read more into I will read 1 book.
Turn I will get more Twitter followers into I will get 20 new Twitter followers a month for three months.
Turn I will learn more about film directing into I will practice making movies on my cell phone for six months.

Here’s the bonus:
If you end up with more Twitter followers if you read just two books and if you make two short films on your cell phone Guess what? You have exceeded your goals and you are a success! Another big Raindance High Five coming your way.

You should strive to exceed the goals, but don’t sweat it if you don’t.

2. The goal must be specific

You have to have a goal that can be measured. You must be able to see a point in time when you either achieve or fail to achieve your goal.

3. You have got to write it down

This is the most important step. In our office we have a big white board where we write down what we want to do – our goals. Every morning we look at it as we stand around with our morning coffee. I have noticed over the past 23 years that if you don’t write it down, it doesn’t happen. Write it down and 9 times out of 10, it happens.

End Credits: Share your goal

A life in the creative industries can be a lonely one.Sharing your goal with a partner, relative or close friend will mean that you have someone rooting for you when times are tough, when you think you were crazy to want to become a filmmaker or screenwriter.

So, What are you waiting for?

Over the coming months, how cool to be able to confide in someone about your goals and whether or not you are achieving them. Your mates will often have ideas of how you can hone your attack to achieving your goal. And you can help them with their’s too!

Sit down right now and write down 3 goals. Make them specific. Make them realistic. And have a very successful and happy 2015.
Yours in filmmaking  and a successful New Year.
Elliot Grove
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PS: Have you any ideas about how to make a really good and achievable New Year’s Resolution? Please leave in the contact box below.

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