A friend of mine (let’s call him Jim) works in the film industry in Canada about four months a year and spends the rest of his time living it up down south. He has been working on a business plan to bring film work to Barbados so he can live there full time. Sounds pretty smart to me.
He had been working on his idea for about four years when he finally got his break. A famous actor on one of his sets in Vancouver had heard of him and his plan and was planning on shooting a small film in Barbados. The actor approached my friend wondering if he would work as an Associate Producer (getting a Producer credit is not easy by the way) with them to ensure that everything went smoothly while filming there.
Wow! Jim had come up with a dream idea, made his plan, done the legwork, promoted it, and now he was going to get his shot at making his dream come true.
That was until he got a call from another Producer that he works for regularly. The Producer wanted him to work for him on a movie in Vancouver at the same time as the Barbados movie!!
Considering how much time and effort Jim had put into his plan one might think this would be an easy decision, however, when Jim works in Vancouver he earns enough money in four months to pay his bills and live in Barbados for the rest of the year!
Jim was telling me this story the other day and I asked if he had worked through this kind of scenario in his head before it happened. “No”, he replied. “I never dreamed of it.”
As you make plans for pitching your show you MUST decide what you are willing to give up to have your shot at making your dream happen. What are you willing to risk? And you have to know BEFORE the time comes.
What if you need to spend your vacation money to shoot a Teaser, or your honeymoon money to fly to LA for a meeting? What if you have to move? What if you need to stake your job and your future earnings on your chance to make your show?
These might seem like extreme questions, or even like a fantasy, but if you do the work, the opportunity WILL come to you, and you will need to know these answers.
Jim didn’t ask the questions before the situation came up, and when it did come up he had to make the decision fast. There was very little time for a pros and cons list and he didn’t have time to seek the counsel of wise people he knows in the business. He had to act. And he had to act now.
If he followed his dream it could lead to everything he had worked for those past four years. But saying no to the job in Vancouver would mean saying no to a year’s worth of work, and most likely, the following year’s as well because when a Producer replaces you for a job, they don’t usually call you back for the next one.
So what would you do? And be honest with yourself. When opportunity comes you need to be prepared and know what you will give up to answer that call.
Jim didn’t do it. He took the job in Vancouver. He said he had to. He simply had not done enough research in himself to take that chance. He lost out on what would have been his first Associate Producer credit and the opportunity to take the first big step down the path to live his dream.
The actor expressed his disappointment and made the movie without him. Jim still calls the actor to touch base sometimes. He hasn’t got a call back.
Taking the big step and following your dream is hard – some people might even say crazy. But when you’ve done all the work on your show and it’s ready to go will you be ready to take that step and follow it?
I know exactly what I am and am not willing to give up. And I know this because I have weighed the options and the risks. I have talked to my fiancé about it. She knows. Frankly, if I’m not willing to drop everything and follow the call when it comes, then why the hell am I bothering writing all these shows in my spare time? I could be out having fun!
What do you hold dearest to you? Work? Security? Money? Family and friends? What are you willing to give up to achieve your dream?
You cannot know 100% what will happen if you stake your future on that one throw of the dice. But I’ll tell ya, my friend Jim knows what happens when you don’t.