Turning Weaknesses into Strengths

Turning Weaknesses into Strengths

Dear Friends:
I have literally spent the last month thinking about this topic and I have to be honest, this has been a difficult one.   Turning our weaknesses into strengths!  The more I thought about it, the more I realized I could write a book about this topic or a whole series of books for that matter.  Just being in the inquiry and observing myself and others has been amazing, enlightening and yes, at times, downright depressing.

I’ve even reread “Creativity, Inc.” by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation.  If you haven’t read this book, go online and order it now! When you’re committed to the highest artistic standards as Catmull and his colleagues were, you are going to bump up against your weak areas again and again.  Never did he or his colleagues back down from a challenge. They faced each breakdown and problem head on, dealt with it and found solutions.  The results were pure creative genius and we as audiences got to enjoy the magic they created.  <--read more-->

Moving From Resignation To Enthusiasm

Moving From Resignation To Enthusiasm

Dear Friends:
This week I’m going to focus on the subject of ‘energy and enthusiasm.’ As I do with many of the topics of these articles, I put myself in an inquiry. This time as I was focusing on ‘energy and enthusiasm,’ I was continually observing what impact the day-to-day bumps in the road were having on me… always noticing when (and how quickly) resignation would set in and affect my level of energy and my productivity.

I recommend you join me in this inquiry. Just staying conscious and present to these distinctions is transformational. In addition to observing, I did some research on the topic and spoke to a lot of people about it. I noticed that it doesn’t take much to bring us down.

In the entertainment industry I believe we face more rejection than any other industry in the world. The result of on-going rejection will be resignation and despair if we don’t really make a concerted effort to turn it around. <--read more-->

Turning Your Passion into Prosperity

Turning Your Passion into Prosperity

Dear Friends:
“Workin’ 9 to 5… what a way to make a livin.” Do you know that song from the old 70s film “9 to 5”? Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you get the picture. It’s the way we’ve been trained. It’s the way our parents were raised and it’s the way their parents were raised. It’s just “the way it is.” Well, what if it didn’t have to be that way? If you love your 9 to 5 job, fantastic! Of course, these days the hours are more like 9:00 to 7:00! However, Jack Canfield, in his book “The Success Principles,” refers to a study that was done in the U.S. that says, “A full one third of Americans would be happier in another job.” That’s crazy. We really have to ask ourselves, “Am I doing what I love to do?”

Many of you reading this article are in the entertainment industry doing what you love. But, for the majority of us, it’s not a weekly paycheck. Sometimes there’s weeks, months and even years between gigs. So, what are ways that we can make money doing other things we love and want to do. <--read more-->

How To Be Accountable

How To Be Accountable

Dear Friends:
I absolutely love the distinction I’m going to talk about this week. Accountability! This one may hurt a little. We like to think of ourselves as pretty accountable… at least some of the time. Well that’s not okay. It’s like integrity… either you have it or you don’t. Can we count on you to show up on time, for example. Really count on you to do what you said you were going to do. This is not necessarily something that will happen overnight. I worked for a long time of this one.

For those of us in the entertainment industry we’re only weeks away from the American Film Market. It’s a great place to meet people, do some serious networking and to find out what’s happening in the film industry. However, no matter how great your work is, how eloquent your pitch is, how talented a writer you are, how amazing your composer reel is, if you’re someone I can’t count on when the rubber hits the road, none of the other great stuff I just mentioned will matter. It’s probably one of the most important distinctions to master. <--read more-->

10 Tips to Put You On the Leading Edge – Part 2

10 Tips to Put You On the Leading Edge – Part 2

Dear Friends:
I love this time of year.  The fall reminds me of the magnificent colors of life surrounding us. A perfect time of year to stop and enjoy the vibrant colors and be present… really present to appreciate the wonders of life.

It couldn’t be a more perfect time to stand in leadership.  Last week I offered 10 Tips on Leadership and I promised I would give you ten more.  I truly believe I’m giving you gold here so really take a good hard look at who you’re being in the world in terms of leadership.  Are you stepping up to the plate? <--read more-->

10 Tips To Put You On The Leading Edge

10 Tips to Put You On the Leading Edge

Dear Friends:
The topic I’m going to focus on this week is LEADERSHIP. No matter what level or what facet of the entertainment industry (or any industry) we’re in, it’s our job to keep raising the bar. The bigger we get the more we allow the people around us to rise to the occasion. It’s in that type of space that people shine, and their creative brilliance will shine through as well.

As I always do with each of these topics, I engaged in an inquiry on Leadership. I listened, observed and inquired. I read and researched. Looked at people I respected and admired… remembered people who inspired. Recalled presidents, teachers and heroes… thought about the average guy and gal who quietly make a difference and enrich our world. And did some soul searching of my own. It all boiled down to this, leaders are people who make the extraordinary possible… who hold a vision for life and see the world not as it is, but as it could be. <--read more-->

10 Tips to a Killer Sales Presentation

10 Tips to a Killer Sales Presentation

Dear Friends:
Years ago, my film partner and I decided to launch Windchill Films. A low budget genre division of Snowfall Films where we had done bigger budget films. Thriller/horror movies were doing fantastic box office back then so we chose our first project, “Candy Stripers.” It was early fall at the time, and we did the paperwork, opened the LLC, created a great business plan, set the production date for May 12th, and even opened a bank account. We were thrilled to get started.

Christmas came and went and the next thing I remember is looking at the calendar and screaming, “Oh my God! It’s March 1st!” Two months had gone by and we’d sold two units (shares in the film) and that was to each other! I called Kate and together we realized that the fear of getting out there and selling the units… raising the money and approaching potential investors was overwhelming. We had completely shut down and disappeared. In the past our projects had for the most part been co-productions where you work with a representative from an investment group, get government funding, tax incentives and do gap financing. <--read more-->

10 Tips to Help Attract Investors

10 Tips to Help Attract Investors

Dear Friends:
When I was deciding on which article to write this time all I had to do was think back to the first question everyone asks anytime I’m on a panel or doing a speaking engagement in front of producers. “How do we fund our films?”

And the question doesn’t usually end there. It continued with “How do I raise money for my film in this economy?” Or “in the face of having to deal with unions on my ultra- low budget film?” Or “When I don’t have enough producing experience?” Or “What if the script I’ve optioned isn’t commercial enough?” My answer is always the same. The economy and the rest of those issues have nothing to do with it. If you buy into the doom and gloom of whatever conversation your telling yourself, you might as well go watch a movie, because you sure as heck aren’t going to make one. My business coach always said, “You take actions correlated to the way the world occurs for you”. So, if you think it’s impossible to raise money for your film… guess what actions you’re going to take. <--read more-->

Enhancing Your Communication Skills

Enhancing Your Communication Skills

Dear Friends:
I am super excited about this topic…. Communication. It doesn’t get any more important than this. Some of you reading this blog are in the entertainment industry so you are in the center of communication. It’s what we do. We bring our voice to the screen, the stage, the networks. We get to express ourselves publicly, globally. There are few people on the planet who get to do that. It’s a gift and it’s a big responsibility. My question to you is, how conscious are you of your own communication. It starts here, and it starts with you.

Are you aware of the fact that everything we do is a communication of sorts? Language is a small part of it. If you cross your arms during a conversation, you’re communicating. If you are sloppy in your written correspondence, you’re communicating. If you do a mediocre job, you’re communicating. If you hand your script in late, you’re communicating. It’s all communication. Be conscious. Really take notice this week as to how conscious and aware you are of all aspects of your communication. <--read more-->

Pitching Yourself and Your Projects

Pitching Yourself and Your Projects

Dear Friends:
I’ve been on many panels on “Pitching” over the years, heard pitches in my office and heard tons of pitches at various PitchFest events. I am always amazed at how many pitches are unclear, confusing, too long and too generic.

I am not trying to be critical here… I know first-hand just how hard it is to pitch your projects and yourself. I’ve been on both sides of the table 100s of times. In fact, I use to love watching “Dragon’s Den” because it is fascinating to watch people pitch. I always learn so much.

As a film producer, I have been hearing pitches for years and I think what people don’t realize is the fact that they are pitching all the time. It starts when you walk in the room or get on the phone or the email. I’ve seen people at networking events, film markets, festivals, interviews and auditions and for the most part they are completely unconscious as to how they come across. They just don’t get it! You aren’t just pitching while you’re pitching… you’re pitching all the time! Your speaking, who you’re being, how you’re occurring… it’s all pitching! <--read more-->