Wrapping Up Your Year


Dear Friends:

For those of you who know me, you’re well aware that this is my favorite time of year. I love this magical holiday season.   A time for family, friends and food… giving and receiving… completion, contribution, acknowledgement, creation and of course, FUN!

Because the end of the year is drawing near, it’s time to take a look back at 2019.  I think what I’m about to give you in this article may be the best gift you’ve received during this entire holiday season.  “10 Tips to Wrap Up 2019… Giving Yourself the Best Holiday Gift Ever!”  

Much of the information you are about to read is taken from a workshop called Launching the Future that I have led for over twenty years.  In fact, I just did the workshop on December 7th.  

As I do in the workshop, I am going to be dividing the information into two sections.  This article (Part I) will focus on completion and the next article (Part II) will be about designing and creating 2020.  I truly believe that the main reason we don’t achieve our goals, realize our dreams and fulfill on our vision, is because we jump right into Part II… designing, creating and generating, without completing!  

I know what you’re thinking… completing makes you uncomfortable.  When we are complete… really complete, it brings up what’s next, it causes us to move on and deal with the unknown.  What’s next is unfamiliar and that can be scary. But, the magic it creates is well worth the risk! We tend, perhaps unconsciously, to gloss over the past year (or years!) ignoring our incompletions, disregarding our accomplishments, overlooking the places we’ve gotten stuck.  We think we can just move forward on top of all of it! Sorry folks… not going to happen. It would be like asking Picasso to paint on top of a Van Gogh.  

I’m going to give you the tools to comfortably, willingly and graciously complete the past year (or years) and then, and only then, will you get to generate and design 2020 from a blank slate.   Enjoy!



 Giving Yourself the Best Holiday Gift Ever!


  1. TAKING STOCK:  Take a thorough and serious look at your year.  Go through your calendar, day timer, diary, etc.  See where you are out of communication, out of touch, and out of integrity with colleagues, family and friends.  Make a complete list.
  2. COMMUNICATION:  Take your list and write up what you would need to do or say to clean things up (to be complete).  I am not saying that you have to take the actions.  You can take the actions if you want to, but often just the act of acknowledging what is incomplete will have the issue disappear
  3. YEAR END REVIEW:  Now, go back through your year and take note of all the projects, areas and anything from your “To Do” list that is incomplete or unfinished.   
  4. BEING COMPLETE:  Take the above items and write out what actions you could take to be finished or be complete.  Once again, it is up to you whether or not you take the actions, but in order to be complete with 2019 it is important to take note of the above and acknowledge what is left unfinished.
  5. ACCOMPLISHMENT:  Now it’s time to brag!  I love this part.  Go through your year again and this time make a list of all of your accomplishments… no matter how small you think some of them might be.  All too often we focus on what’s wrong, what we didn’t get done or what we should have done.  So now I want you to focus on everything you accomplished. Claim it!  Be proud of it!  Take joy and pleasure in it!
  6. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: There are two sides to this one.  Giving and receiving.  Both are very important, and both are missing in our culture and our industry.  It is all part of being complete.  In all of 2019, what would you like to be acknowledged for.  For example, “I would like to be acknowledged for sticking to my weekly exercise program.”  Or, “I would like to be acknowledged for showing up at every meeting on time.”  People say they don’t need it… it’s just not true. We all need it and we love it and acknowledgement is all part of being complete. Taking into account your entire year, write out a list of the things you want to be acknowledged for and share it with a friend.  Perhaps you could have a friend or family member do the exercise as well and that way you can share your lists with each other.  A friend of mine sits down with her family and does the accomplishment and acknowledgement lists every year on New Year’s Day… what a great gift!
  7. ACKNOWLEDGING OTHERS:  Who do you want to acknowledge?  Make a list and include the acknowledgement in calls, emails and in person.  Acknowledge not only what they did, but also who they are for you and the difference they have made in your life. When my film partner and I sent out our holiday cards we did this for each person.  For example, “As my script reader, I would like to acknowledge you for your great screenplay coverage. You are more than a coverage expert to me. Your commitment to excellence, your thorough work and your ‘going the extra mile’ attitude is something I truly admire and appreciate. I go into every development meeting knowing that I have the best coverage possible and it puts my mind at rest.”  Practice acknowledging others on a daily basis. It will feel really really good. A win/win for everyone.
  8. EXPECTATIONS: A friend of mine once said that “human beings are walking expectations just waiting to be unfulfilled”.  So that said, what about enjoying the season with your friends and family with absolutely no expectations at all!  Just allow them to do what they do and be who they be and have no reaction.  Just keep falling in love with them over and over again no matter what.  Wouldn’t that be a fun adventure to take on?
  9. APPRECIATION AND GRATITUDE:  There is a great quote by Melody Beattie where she says that “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  Create a list of all the wonderful things you appreciate and are grateful for.  Come up with at least 20 things today!  Look at this list every day and keep adding to it.
  10. CONTRIBUTION:  The more complete you are, the more present you will be.  The more present you are, the more you are an opening for expansion.  Stagnation and mediocrity will occur as intolerable. Your expansion will contribute to each and everyone one of us.  Since this is the season for giving, the greatest gift you can give is yourself… your time, your love, your kind words, your ongoing commitment to be an example for humanity… bringing excitement, possibility, joy, love and passion to everything you do and everyone you touch!   

PREVIEW FOR PART II:  What is great about Part II is that YOU get to design YOUR year.  If you are not putting yourself in charge of YOUR life and career and literally creating YOUR future, you will always be at the effect of what is going on around you.  So, my next article, “Ten Tips to Having Your Best Year Ever!” will be about designing and creating from a truly blank slate. From there, magic will happen. You’ll be freed up to dream big, to have fun, to lighten up, to design the life you want and love.  The “10 Tips” will help you invent an inspiring blueprint that propels you into action and impacts the results you will achieve all year! Stay tuned.

BONUS: I was re-watching the Commencement Speech that actor, Jim Carrey gave to the graduating class of MUM University in 2014 and I thought it might be fun to share part of it with you.  He says, “You can join the game, fight the wars, play with form all you want, but to find real peace, you have to let the armor fall.” I think this might be a great place to stand when you’re doing these exercises.  Be your authentic self while doing this work. Be truly honest with yourself and stand in your commitment and not your identity.  “Let your armor fall” and leave your ego at the door. I promise you that doing the completion exercises from there will be one hundred times more powerful.   

Here are a few paragraphs from his speech: “I realized one night in LA that the purpose of my life had always been to free people from concern, like my dad.  What’s yours? How will you serve the world? What do they need that your talent can provide? That’s all you have to figure out. As someone who has done what you are about to go do, I can tell you from experience, the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is. 

Everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart, and all that will be left of you is what was in your heart. My choosing to free people from concern got me to the top of a mountain. Look where I am — look what I get to do! Everywhere I go – and I’m going to get emotional because when I tap into this, it really is extraordinary to me — I did something that makes people present their best selves to me wherever I go.  I am at the top of the mountain and the only one I hadn’t freed was myself and that’s when my search for identity deepened.

I wondered who I’d be without my fame. Who would I be if I said things that people didn’t want to hear, or if I defied their expectations of me?  But you guys are way ahead of the game. You already know who you are and that peace, that peace that we’re after, lies somewhere beyond personality, beyond the perception of others, beyond invention and disguise, even beyond effort itself. You can join the game, fight the wars, play with form all you want, but to find real peace, you have to let the armor fall. Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world. Don’t let anything stand in the way of the light that shines through this form. Risk being seen in all of your glory.”

Suzanne Lyons is President/Producer of Snowfall Films, Inc. (snowfallfilms.com) having produced/exec produced 12 feature films to date.  She co-founded the Flash Forward Institute which focused on teaching the tools of business needed to market oneself in the entertainment industry.  Her book titled Indie Film Producing: The Craft of Low Budget Filmmaking was published by Focal Press  www.suzannelyons.net/indiefilm).  She’s hosted over 125 informational videos for the industry (www.youtube.com/suzannelyons).   When time permits, she does private career and business coaching as well as indie film producing coaching.  Suzanne is originally Canadian and lives with her husband in Los Angeles.


Suzanne’s Past Speaking Engagement Include:

Directors Guild of America ~ UCLA ~ USC ~ American Film Institute ~ Film Independent Network ~ Women In Film (Los Angeles) ~ Women in Film and TV (Toronto) ~ Women in Film and Video (Vancouver) ~ Producers Guild of America ~ California Governor’s Conference for Women ~ Latino Entertainment Media Institute – Cinematographers Guild – Alameda Writers Group ~ IWOSC ~ The Table ~ Chapman College ~ The Actors Network ~ BAFTA ~ National University ~ Pepperdine Law Class ~ Creative Actors Alliance ~ Sherwood Oaks College ~ Academy of TV Arts and Sciences ~ WGA ~ SAG ~ Filmmakers Alliance ~ Cinema Arts Tech ~ New Brunswick Film Industry Summit (Fredericton, NB) ~ Filmmakers Collaborative (Boston) ~ Latino Producers Academy (NALIP) (Tucson and Santa Fe) ~  Learning Annex (Los Angeles) ~ Scriptwriters Network ~ Great American Pitch Fest ~ Action/Cut Filmmaking ~ IFP West ~ California Institute of the Arts ~ Hollywood Film Festival ~ Film Specific ~ REEL Ladies ~ Gary Goldstein Podcast ~ AFCI Cineposium (Association of Film Commissioners International) ~ New Mexico Filmmakers Conference (Albuquerque) ~ The Black Film Festival ~ InkTip Writers’ Summit ~ Columbia College Chicago Film Financing Townhall (IIFF) ~ Sandra Lord’s Women Helping Women ~ Braveheartwomen.com ~ ScreenwritingU ~ International Family Film Festival ~ NATPE ~ AIA Actor’s Studio ~ Breaking Into Hollywood ~ Curry College (Massachusetts) ~ American Film Market (Producer’s Program) ~ Singapore Media Academy (Singapore) ~ AFM (American Film Market) ~ Columbia College Graduate Film Program (Associate Professor Spring Sessions) ~ New York Film School ~ IFH Podcast (IndieFilmHustle.com) ~  Indie Film Academy ~ Hollywood Entertainment Industry Meetup ~ Sisters in Crime Conference ~ The Other 50%-A Herstory of Hollywood ~ Lawrence Harte’s Internet TV Podcast ~ SoundMindBodyPodcast.com

Some Topics Have Included:

The Six Stages of the Pitch; How to Market Yourself and Your Projects; The 10 Secrets to Success in Hollywood; How to Jump Start Your Career; Four Stages to Closing the Deal; Networking and Creating Relationships in the Entertainment Industry (& any Industry); Where Do You Go From Here; How to Get More Work (Thinking Outside the Box); Putting Your Career in High Gear; How to Get a Mentor; Active Listening; Act Now and Sky Rocket Your Career; High Powered Career Strategies; Booking the Job; Launching the Future: How to Have Your Best Year Ever; How to Create a Paradigm Shift; Funding Your Indie Film; and Indie Film Producing (Full day program based on my book: “Indie Film Producing: The Craft of Low Budget Filmmaking” as well as private sessions or segments (from one to four hours) covering aspects that include “Creating a Killer Sales Presentation,” “How to Fund your Film,” “Wearing the Business Hat.” and many more)

To book Suzanne for a speaking engagement, keynote speaker, panelist, moderator or for more information on her workshops, contact Suzanne at 818-516-9781 snowfallfilms@aol.com   

Books She’s Been Featured In Include:

“Complete Production Handbook” by Eve Light Honthaner. Check out this great book here.



“Hollywood Drive” by Eve Light Honthaner. The Amazon link is here.




Michael Hauge’s “Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read”. For more info on what Michael has in store check out www.screenplaymastery.com.



Another excellent book Suzanne had the honor to be a part of a couple of years ago is “Birthing the Elephant” by Karen Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman with a forward by Bobbi Brown. A great book that features a number of women entrepreneurs giving advice on starting and maintaining a business.


Another excellent book Suzanne had the honor to be a part of a couple of years ago is “Birthing the Elephant” by Karen Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman with a forward by Bobbi Brown. A great book that features a number of women entrepreneurs giving advice on starting and maintaining a business.

“Create For Cash” by Julie Austin. Check out Julie’s Website at www.createforcash.com.

A few years ago, Suzanne was also featured in “Make It Happen”, the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business annual magazine.