Saturday, December 31, 2011

Playing it SMART in 2012

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday break. I've really enjoyed my week off and am slowly getting ready to go back to work. I didn't want to get close out the year without writing a blog entry that helps me put things into perspective for 2012.

This is the time of year when many people make resolutions. Some resolve to loose weight, save more money, to be more productive, or just be happier.  One of the problems I find with New Year's resolutions is that they loose their thrust by the end of March. People tend to get back into the usual routine and the resolutions don't yield that sense of urgency as we make it through another year. One of my goals for 2012 is to maintain that sense of urgency .

When I look back at 2011 I can say I made some significant strides in a variety of areas in my life. I started my second master's program with Gonzaga University, began house hunting (and if all goes well Karim and I will close on our first home in a little over a month), and tackled some new projects at work. However, there is one area that didn't get my attention. That would be screenwriting. I won't make excuses for not writing, instead I will accept the fact that I dropped the ball on this front. As this year quickly comes to a close I realize that screenwriting must be a priority that I focus on and am actively working at.

In the past, I've talked about winning contests and screenwriting fellowships or getting an agent. Before any of those things can come to the fruit I want, I just need to write and be consistent. Rather than worry about the crops I want to see, I need to make sure I'm tending to the land and building a solid foundation.

I read a discussion thread in my Independent Filmmakers and Screenwriters group in LinkedIN that put my screenwriting goals in 2012 into perspective for me. I need to play it SMART.

S = Simple
M = Measurable
A= Achievable
R = Realistic
T = Timely

As part of playing it SMART my goals will be to:

1. Read a script a week.
2. Watch a new film a week.
3.Writer a page a day.
4. Spend five hours a week prepping story ideas.

Playing it SMART is not just about making a resolution for the new year, it's about changing the pattern of how I work as a screenwriter. I have four simple goals for 2012. If I stick to these goals I will have read 52 scripts, watched 52 movies, and have written two feature-length scripts. I like the sound of that.

Wishing you a Happy New Year and hoping that you also play it SMART in 2012 whatever your goals in life are.

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's a Wrap: Reflections on my First Semester with Gonzaga

Today my first semester with Gonzaga is officially wrapped . It feels good to write that sentence. So very good. At the moment, I want to coordinate a flash mob dance routine to celebrate, but instead I will write this blog entry. This semester was rough at times. I had my fair share of ups and downs.

Although my coursework was pretty comprehensive and took over my life for 16 weeks, I can say I feel better as a result of it. I just completed a course entitled the Social Dynamics of Computer Technology. In this course I looked at technology and its social and cultural impact in our daily lives. I have to admit that before this class I didn't really think about how my life has been impacted by technology. Questions like "Who are the winners and losers in technology?" or "Does computer technology drive me or am I driven by technology?," pushed me to be more critical about the role it plays in my life. I also looked deeper at how technology has shaped and influenced all the messages we get on a daily basis. Despite the Utopian ideals that we have come to accept with the Internet and new media technology I was reminded that we must remain critical of the information we receive and the ways in which we receive it.

During my second course I managed to squeak in some time to participate in the 2011 Action on Film (AOF) Screenwriters Invitational. I was the head writer of my group and we were charged with writing a six page comedic script. I was a little nervous about taking this project on, but in the end it worked out. I realized that I can be funny on paper and according to my team of screenwriter (which by the way is a very talented group) I was a good leader that kept my team on task. The short we produced is called This is It, which is now in the judging process. Next year I will find out if my team is a finalist.

The AOF Screenwriters Invitational gave me an opportunity to put my script hat back on. I'm thankful for it because I've really missed writing. During the break I plan get back to it. I'm looking forward to that and catching up with T.V. shows and films I missed. Netflix here I come!! I'm wrapped and ready to unload, watch out folks!!

I wish you all a safe and fun holiday season and the very best in 2012. I'm looking forward to it and hope all of you are too!