For a lot of people, it can be challenging to continually pursue their creative passion — especially in Los Angeles. This article is meant to provide some practical principles that you can implement in your daily routine to rely on discipline rather than fleeting motivation.
The biggest reason most people fail (or feel like they are failing) is lack of consistent execution. Many people have great ideas but have little to no follow through — you could be the most talented, best looking, have the greatest connections, but if you don’t show up — you got nothing. So show up! For yourself, at the studio, with friends/collaborators, gigs, auditions, etc. You have to walk through the door and be ready to work. Even if that just means getting out of bed and going to your desk to start writing your script. Consistent execution is the most fundamental principle in maintaining productive efficiency.
This is something I am currently working on. Most everyone in LA is here to “build a name”…for themselves, their company, an organization, whatever. We are all very selfish at times — that’s the industry. To some extent you have to be “selfish” because we all know no one will hand you anything.
However, bringing actual value to other humans is the best ROI. So many people focus on controlling their public narrative in the name of marketability but don’t actually bring any value to their followers, employees, business/creative partners, coworkers, etc. In summary, be kind and selfless with no expectations — that’s how you bring value to others, build brand, and not burn out.
My most successful and most fun projects have been collaborations. There are countless reasons for this but the big ones are:
- Bounce ideas. You aren’t alone and if an idea sucks, hopefully your collaborator/s will tell you there might be a better way and provide constructive feedback.
- Reach new people…new future fans, new future collaborators, new business opportunities.
- You can learn new things…as much as you think you got it figured out…there’s always a new perspective you can learn from.
- IT’S FUN! There is nothing like linking up with a fellow creative and executing a vision together.
Collabs are King in LA
Get in the DM’s, go to events, connect with people you might hit it off (and if you don’t, well now you know). Don’t spam people and don’t try to work with everyone. Build genuine relationships and go from there. Authenticity is really important here.
Nothing kills productivity more than overthinking, micro managing, and trying to control everything (especially when it comes to collaborations or projects you are in charge of). You have to move fast in the short term and have patience for the long term. Let go of your selfish intentions and recognize you aren’t always right. Sometimes letting someone else have their way will speed up the process and allow them to feel empowered and valuable. Humility will always be more important than pushing your ideas and micro managing everything. It’s important to have quality control — but don’t get so fixated on your subjective opinion of quality that you slow down production. Failure is important here. You will drop balls, you will miss opportunities, but don’t judge yourself. Learn from the mistakes and move on to the next thing.
Goals Not Expectations
Angelinos are really good at having unrealistic and unhealthy expectations. Especially because we constantly compare ourselves to the controlled narrative of others. Having expectations with zero context is really discouraging and brings no value to you or anyone else. Setting daily goals, year long goals, and 10 year goals (or any version of that) is far more productive than doing a little high intensity work here and there and expecting something to “just happen”. Get over the idea that you are going to get “discovered”. Social media exists — you’re already discovered…now go create. You are in control of your story. And the aspects of it that are out of your control, you can make up for by controlling how you react. Set realistic goals and chip away at them day by day.