It’s time of year for resolutions. Each one of us says to our inner self: come on, you can do better. Try making an anti-resolution this year. Let me explain how to craft goals that have a chance of success.

My name is Elliot Grove. I’ve witnessed 26 New Year’s celebrations since I started Raindance in 1992. I’m celebrating 26 years! Here we are – a brand new year staring at us like a blank canvas. Everything you accomplish (or don’t) in the next year will forever have that date stamp – 2018 – tattooed in the corner, for all your fans, friends and people important to you. The fresh perspective the New Year brings is a great time for reflection and renewal. Here’s where so many of us go wrong: we make resolutions.

The Typical Resolution

Do you make one of these resolutions?

  • Read More
  • Write More
  • Ditch The Boring Day Job
  • Make A Movie
  • Stop Procrastinating

These are all positive thoughts, but they are ultimately going to fail because they can’t be measured. Far better to say:
I’m going to write 15 minutes every day before work

We’re adding a specific, which is good. But what if you miss a day? What happens if there is some sort of domestic issue that prevents you from writing for just 15 minutes on a particular day?

Then you’ve failed and you feel like a loser. You’ve broken your New Year’s Resolution and it’s barely a week into the New Year!

Fix It With The Anti-Resolution

When I teach screenwriting I am always harping on about making a specific goal for your character– one that can be measured. Without this your screenplay, like your 2017 life story, has no focus or direction. You might unwillingly wander and become confused.

Start thinking about the goals of 2018 and ditch that word ‘resolution’.

What I’m really talking about is something we can measure. Something we know is realistic and attainable. Something specific. Remove ‘resolution’ from your vocabulary and start thinking about goals for the New Year.

Write 100 pages in 2017

Let’s say you’re a screenwriter and you really want to improve your output. Let’s suppose you wrote 35 pages in 2017 and feel that if you add a bit of dedication you could easily write 100 pages – that’s just 2 pages a week!

This is a measurable and realistic goal. And let’s suppose that you miss a week — the good news is that you can make this up when it suits you later in the year.

Let’s say you really get on a roll and write 110 pages in 2018?

I’d say: Let me give you a high 5! You surpassed your goal!

Let’s Craft Goals – 3 Tips for anti-resolutions

I’ve made hundreds of goals through the years at Raindance, and made a fair few learnings when I’ve missed my target- which has been often!

Self-improvement is something I’m always striving for, and there’s lots and lots of things, large and small, a screenwriter or filmmaker can strive for.

1. Craft goals that are measurable.

The trick is to set goals that are achievable and measurable.

Turn:  I will read more into I will read 1 book.
Turn: I will get more Twitter followers into I will get 20 new Twitter followers a month for three months.
Turn: I will learn more about film directing into I will practice making movies on my cell phone for six months.

Here’s the bonus:
If you end up with more Twitter followers
if you read just two books and
if you make two short films on your cell phone

Guess what? You have exceeded your goals and you are a success!
Another big Raindance High Five coming your way.
You should strive to exceed the goals, but don’t sweat it if you don’t.

2. Craft goals that are specific

Like your hero in your movie, your goal needs to be specific. How are you going to achieve the goal you’ve set out to conquer?

If you want to learn film directing you may need to buy a cheap filmmaking app or find an instructor.
If you want to write a hundred pages you might need to learn how to fire up your idea machine.
If you really want to make a low budget feature you might want to read a book (like my Lo To No Budget Filmmaking book (which BTW I wrote in just 20 mins a day over 18 months)

Stuck? You might want to look at our film training calendar. Or book a free taster tutorial.

3. You have got to write it down

This is the most important step. In our office, we have a big white board where we write down what we want to do – our goals. Every morning we look at it as we stand around with our morning coffee.

I have noticed over the past 25 years that if you don’t write it down, it doesn’t happen. Write it down and 9 times out of 10, it happens.

End Credits: Share your Anti-resolutions

A life in the creative industries can be a lonely one. Sharing your goal with a partner, relative or close friend will mean that you have someone rooting for you when times are tough when you think you were crazy to want to become a filmmaker or screenwriter.

Over the coming months, how cool to be able to confide in someone about your goals and whether or not you are achieving them. Your mates will often have ideas of how you can hone your attack to achieving your goal. And you can help them with their’s too!
What are you waiting for?

Sit down right now and write down 3 goals. Remember the golden key: craft goals intelligently. Make them specific. Make them realistic.

Here’s to your best New Year ever. Let’s make movies!

About 

Elliot Grove is the founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He has produced over hundreds of short films and also five feature films, including the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead in 2006. 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).

He has produced over 700 shorts and 6 features including the new action film AMBER.

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

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