I can’t tell you how many times filmmakers complain to me that they don’t have time to work on their movies or screenplays. Then they complain that their problem is lack of money as well.

Then they wonder how I manage to get so much done, given that they can get so little done.

What they are really saying is that I manage somehow to prioiritise my limited time (there are just 24 hours in a day).

The saying ‘Time Is Money” has it’s origins in ancient Greece. Proper allocation of your time is as important as allocation of money.

Each day has 24 hours. Most filmmakers and screenwriters have a day job (9 hours) and need to sleep (7-8 hours) leaving about 7 hours to work on your film, your screenplay and your career, as well as hang out with your mates, do housework and other domestic chores. Here are 9 ways you can maximise your spare time.

 

1. Stop reading, start writing

Reading and learning are very important. But there is the danger you can become a ‘learning junkie’ – using study mode as a way to avoid filmmaking. At some point, remember you have to put into practise what you have learned.

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2. Don’t worry about statistics

You can drive yourself crazy cruising rivals on IMDB.com, setting up Google alerts, and checking out Facebook and Twitter for the number of new friends you have.

Why not use the time instead working on your film and screenplays instead. Successfully completed projects are far more likely to create interest in your Facebook and Twitter accounts than anything else.

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3. Impact first

When presented with a range of options of what to do with your available time, choose the tasks that have the highest impact first.

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4. Don’t let Distractions become Attractions

The internet and the social media world are like a giant sponge waiting for you to browse, to chat, to IM. This can easily become an addiciton that will swallow up all of your available time. Be ruthless with yourself. Set a time limit of 15 or 30 minuters per day in which you do your Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook accounts.

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5. Who says TV is bad?

Like surfing, watching TV can lead to an entirely new way to waste time. Before you know it, you will have spent all of your free time ‘relaxing’ in front of the TV.

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6. Forget your strict schedule

Working on your career is hard work. If you miss a day or two through illness or other social commitments, don’t fret. Your movie will still be there waiting for you when you return.

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7. Health means wealth

A healthy life style will give you more energy and a clear head. I ditched dairy and carbohydrates earlier this year and have found that I can out-work and out-think just about everybody I know.

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8. The ‘P’ Word

The most important ingredient about any successful film career is Passion. Without it, you simply can’t do it. If you aren’t feeling passion for your project, pause and have a rethink and make sure it really is for you.

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9. Go from Passive to Active

‘Get off your shelf and out of the library’ a high school teacher once said to me. And how right she was. “Doing” beats “thinking about doing”, and with it will come a whole new level of skill and confidence youi never knew you had. There is another saying which is: “Why do so many want to be the noun and won’t do the verb?” So true too!

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Happy filmmaking!

About 

Photo Credit Jay Brooks / BIFA 2015

Elliot Grove is the founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He has produced over 700 hundred short films and also five feature films, including the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead in 2006, Deadly Virtues in 2013 and AMBER in 2017. He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance trailer 2017

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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