If you’re just joining us, in part 1 of this series, we talked about the importance of knowing and understanding your ‘why.’ I walked away from a secure, good paying media production job to pursue my dream of becoming a full-time filmmaker. This is no flight of fancy or delusional entitlement; I spend almost an entire year thinking and planning my escape from the 9-to-5.

Today we’re going to be talking about goals. Not the ones you talked about with your Guidance Counselor, I’m talking about the nitty-gritty, full-contact type goals you need to push through to success. Ready to get your hands dirty?

Where Are You Going?

If I told you I was taking you on a trip, you’d have to know where we were going to know how to pack, right? Are we going to New Mexico or Alaska? A beach or a rainforest? If you don’t know exactly where you’re going after you quit your job, how will you know what steps to take? How will you gauge your progress? How will you know when you’ve gone down the wrong path?

Saying I wanted to be a full-time filmmaker is like saying I want to vacation somewhere exotic; I’m not being specific enough. Do I want to be a working cinematographer? Do I want to sell a project to the studios? Do I want to be a self-distributing writer/director? Do those lines blur?

Try it for yourself. Be more specific about your goals and you’ll begin unravel all the treads in a tightly wound cord.

No, Think Longer.

When I left my day-job, I had rosy dreams of being on top of the world in under six months. Unless you’re lucky, well-connected, or a savant, it’s going to take MUCH longer than you expect.

I’m finding my six-month goals should really be my one-year goals, and my one-year goals should probably be five-year goals. And it’s not because I aimed too high; it’s because I didn’t factor in the multitude of variables that life presents.

I had a tooth break about four months after my dental insurance cut out, which was a nasty setback. I’ve had to take on a lot more freelance work than I expected, which has slowed my film progress. But, more importantly, I’m finding the major limitation is myself; there’s only so much I can do before I’m burned out and exhausted.

Be realistic with your timeframes, your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health may very well depend on that.

Break It Up

Once you get into the day to day of living your dream, you’ll soon discover that’s it’s easier to get overwhelmed or sidetracked than you thought. You’ll need to outline your immediate goals and begin to break it all up into smaller, manageable chunks.

I don’t have a lot of practical advice here as I’m still learning how to manage my time. You’ll probably get less done per-day than you think you will. Nothing will usher in discouragement faster than missed deadlines and stalled projects. I find that I have to make a to-do list on a day to day basis, and make sure it’s manageable.

I’m the kind of person that wants to burn the candle at both ends, pull all-nighters, chug Red Bulls, etc… But I’m finding that I get more done in the long run if I keep it simple.

Your Homework:

In the comments, share what your goals are. If you were to be hyper-specific, what would those goals look like?

Good luck and stay tuned!

Dan Baker

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Dan works out his social anxieties by producing and directing films. He's a proud New Mexican, and prefers green over red.

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