Rocket Fuel for Your Creative Career
Writing a screenplay is no easy task. Yeah, there’s a ton of white space and the page count doesn’t even come close to a decent novel. But it’s still a hardcore endeavor that’s likely to rattle you to the bone. Then, when you’ve finally got your twelfth draft all good to go, it’s an entirely different battle— with readers, agents, managers and producers.
We get stuck in so many ways along the way. Maybe your poison is procrastination. Perhaps you lose interest in your own characters or stories. Maybe you’ve forgotten about your triumphs and tend concentrate on your failures. Whatever your deal is, you gotta align yourself with winning habits, strategies and mindsets of you wanna take it to the next level. I call this Rocket Fuel.
While drinking too many cups of coffee and riffing on Greek mythology with my pal Steve, we realized that the myth of Sisyphus was right on. Remember that mortal? Just like Mr. S., we all end up pushing giant rocks up hills in one way or another.
In a caffeinated frenzy, Steve and I developed the Tag Team Boulder Accountability System. Since then, we’ve finished screenplays and novels. We’ve gotten into better shape. Made short films. And tons of other stuff.
But even when we’re cranking out the pages in a big way, if we’re not fully behind the stories and characters in our screenplays, it always falls flat. Lifeless. It’s just not engaging. To ourselves or anyone who reads it.
By energizing our stories and characters with the emotional potency of our own core wounds, we breathe real truth and connection into our tales. And guess what? When we play out our personal dramas in our screenplays, it helps us heal as individuals. It deeply resonates with our audience. And it helps heal them too.
But even when we’re knocking out scripts that pulse and thud and scream and purr with emotion and drama, it’s still a rough road. Getting past procrastination and energizing our writing are all well within our control. But once we step out into the world— shooting emails to producers, shmoozing at ScriptFest, getting ten minutes with a decent agent or manager— the control is largely out of our hands.
Yes, we can practice our pitch to perfection. But at the end of the day, if the person on the other side of the table isn’t into it, there’s not much we can do about it. That kind of pain and rejection takes a toll on all of us.
My Rocket Fuel for this challenge is to step into my own personal time machine. Seriously. From there I can tune into my triumphs, my victories, my successes. With that energy in my pocket it’s much easier to refuel in the present. Once the tank is full again, I can weather the storm with a little more grace.
These ideas and techniques have kept me on track and pointing in the right direction with my screenwriting and filmmaking career, my music world and with my new book Not F*ing Around— The No Bullsh*t Guide for Getting My Creative Dreams Off the Ground.
I’ve been bashing my head against the wall for decades. Hopefully some of these ideas and strategies will help you bash your head against the wall a little less.
Why do you procrastinate?
How do you tap into your personal stories to energize your characters?
What do you to help overcome the inevitable sting of rejection?