Copyright Lia Scott Price
I've always done things my way: producing and publishing on my own. I didn't have to ask anyone's permission to do so, and I didn't settle for the word "no". When I was born, there was no contract from anyone that I signed where I had to follow a path carved out by family, certain societal and cultural expectations, or even significant others. I've had my fair share of lessons and mistakes and frustrations, but I never gave up. I don't like to fully rely on someone to get my project done, which was one of the reasons why I learned to do everything from filming to editing to composing. (Of course, if you do work with people, make sure they are professionals who follow through. There is nothing more frustrating than having a project held up by someone on your team. On a side note, this is why I prefer to never take on partners, or work on other people's projects. I get more done, and when I hire people, I make sure they are reliable. That's just my choice.)
Besides staying true to working on my own, I made it a strong point not to listen to other people who tell me I can't do something, I can't fulfill my dreams, or that it will be too expensive to publish a book or produce a film. Of course, I listen to constructive criticism from colleagues who suggest better ways to do something, or not to do something. I listen to constructive and helpful suggestions. I don't listen to people who judge and I don't make 20 excuses on why I can't do something. If I felt passionate enough about a project, I find a way to make it happen. I only work with people who can get the job done. And if one project doesn't work out, I re-work it or find another way. I re-invent it and myself as well until I come up with what works.
I have tried to inspire and help other people as well. It's easy to come up with ideas but hard to actually make them a reality. I have told people time and again to analyze what you can do realistically, and to be prepared to adjust, improvise, and find ways on their own, to make mistakes and learn from them, to improve and to do their research. I can't magically transfer all I know into someone, and sometimes even if I could they are still skeptical about their own abilties. It just doesn't work that way. I can only share what I know and you need to do the legwork.
However, in the process, there are some things about people that I've found that I cannot help them with. One is negativity, and the other is desperation.
I don't like having to waste my breath trying encourage people who come up with 20 excuses on why they can't do something for every piece of advice I give. Constructive questioning is OK. Whiny, what-if-everything-I-do-fails is not. That is something you yourself have to work on, because no amount of advice from me or any other professional author or filmmaker is going to help. The second thing that turns me off is pure desperation, the "I'll-do-anything" kind of attitude. No, you won't do anything. This means you're not thinking clearly. Do you really think Hollywood is about giving up your entire life and even your dignity? It's not. Instead, your thinking should be "I'll do whatever it takes with research and reason and planning. I'll analyze things, approach it as a business, and see what I need to do to get it done." And I always try to avoid the "desperation" part, as in the "I'll-do-anything-to-make-it-happen, bargain-on-anything; sell-my-house, give-up-my-life-for-this-project, sign0anything-etc." That may not work either and you may lost everything in the end, and you will regret being so desperate.
Another thing I've come across with people is that they worry too much, or become too much of a perfectionist, and nitpick on every little thing. Now, keep in mind that being cautious is OK, after you've analyzed all the pros and cons and not made brash decisions without thought, of course, and it's OK to have standards so that you can make a good product, but too much perfectionism can derail a project. People worry too much if something's not good enough, not perfect enough, or become too obsessive-compulsive about a sentence, a piece of music, or the color of a DVD cover. Months, years will pass and they can never get the project done because it's not perfect yet and everyone else has either quit or moved on. A word of advice: don't be too hard on yourself, or you will never get something out there. It will stay in your head until it;s good enough, and in that case, it will never be good enough. It makes you lose focus on the main goal.
My rule is to keep it simple, get it out, and always follow through. I know people out there will say I am settling for "good enough", but the point is, I got something out there: It's produced, it's published, it's out there. I never procrastinate or out it off unless I'm waiting on an important decision or element, but I am not held back by fears of "it's not good enough". And how will you know if you never publish it? The worst that can happen is that you simply learn from your mistakes and move on, and try again. Nothing happens until you do something. You will never get anything accomplished if, to you, something is never good enough. If it doesn't work out, find something that will. It's all trial and error. It took me years to find out what is successful for me. I started out with novels and films. A graphic novel project I started failed, but I wanted to improve on that, and it led to an even better project: my current comic book series, and it is by far the most successful project I've done, but I guess in a way it would never have happened had I not failed with that one graphic novel.
Another is the people who surround them, and if they are negative, chances are, it will affect a project---badly.
I've seen a lot of reasons why people fail, or who just do not get anywhere with their projects. They get discouraged by their friends judging them, they listen to reasons why they should not et it done, they hang around "enablers", people who, for whatever reasons of their own, tell them what they do its not good enough, or that something sucks, and instead of putting their energy into the project, they put their energy into trying to please the naysayers. I make it a point to get rid of enablers and negative people in my life, but for those of you who can't, maybe it's time to think about who, or what, may be holding you back and how to best handle them.
Would you want your future and your projects controlled by naysayers, or would you want to control the direction of your own future?
So you have choices. You can decide whether or not to continue coming up with excuses on why you can't do something, or you can start making a plan and finding ways.
You can be negative, or you can stay (realistically) positive and work towards your goal. If one thing doesn't work, find another way.
You can keep worrying about what others will say, or you can ignore them and seek more positive advice and encouragement.
I can't begin to count how many people I know who have given up or who are simply stuck because of these reasons.
Just remember that nothing happens unless you work towards it.