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There are a Million Ways to Make It Happen!

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There are a million ways to do anything. Yes, there are certain things that have to get done, but, there are a million ways to accomplish those things. I think that we as artists get caught up in the “rigidness” of the business parts of making our projects happen to the point that a lot of us stop doing them for one reason or another. But, if we shift our perspective, the business end (producing end) of the creative process can be just as creative.

I think the key to producing a successful project is a combination of (1) knowing the goal (2) knowing what needs to be done to accomplish that goal (3) knowing who you are as a person and (4) knowing how you operate – the thing is that we often times forget or maybe don’t even know that the secret sauce is in 3 and 4. We’re so used to being told “this is the only way” that we forget that as creatives, we absolutely must tweak whatever we do to fit our unique personalities.

As I write this, I’m sitting here thinking about what example to use. I have so many. So, I’ll choose the latest for me. I started a company called Indie Movie Mastery with the intention of helping filmmakers and content creators actually get their projects made.

When I started my company three years ago I sought guidance from a coach. Unfortunately, they were the wrong coach for me.

For over a year, I listened to them and tried to implement what they were saying. I worked so hard on all the things they were telling me to do. But, I had so much internal conflict. I eventually stopped working on the project altogether because I was doing it in a way that felt so wrong to me. I have seen this happen to so many projects that it breaks my heart. So, after a year of 12-hour days, tens of thousands of dollars, pouring my heart, soul and knowledge into creating the course (which was the soul of the business), I shelved it.

It sat on a little yellow hard drive for almost another whole year.

Until one day, I was talking with a different coach, telling her about my situation. She could see the turmoil in me as I was describing how I had this great content that I really thought could help a lot of people and that was what my heart wanted to do, but the idea of owning this business that required me to do all these sales-y things was just too much for me. She looked at me and with genuine puzzlement and said, “why do you have to do it that way?”

My head exploded! Duh! There are a million ways to do anything.

I got to work.

I dove into what I call “the 5 phases of producing” and looked at each thing I had been told to do and tried to figure out how I could do it in a way that made sense to me. So, here are some examples:

Phase 1 (Development) – I sat down and really looked at who I was as a person after the past several years because I had definitely changed and needed to figure out how I most effectively operated now. What was I trying to accomplish? How could I make it happen?

Phase 2 (Funding) – I budgeted. How could I make this my focus and still pay the bills?

Phase 3 (Production) – I broke each big task down into small manageable tasks and figured out how I could do them in a way that felt right and quite frankly, fun for me.

Phase 4 (Distribution) – I had tried so many different platforms for distributing the course and none of them were right until I found Vimeo. Well, Vimeo is where my audience hangs out and fit almost all my criteria. So, it was a no-brainer and this discovery was probably one of the biggest “signs” for me that I was on the right path.

Phase 5 (Marketing) – This phase held me up more than anything I had to do to make this project come to life. I did countless hours of research, took more classes than I care to admit and was being told to do so many things that just felt, well, icky to me. I absolutely hate the hard sell and that’s what I was being coached to do. The sales funnel of getting people to call for a consult and then selling them into the course. This is probably the most effective way to make money selling, but it didn’t work for me. So, how could I market and sell the course in a way that felt right?

I sat down with all the information I gathered from working the phases and I realized:

  1. I absolutely LOVE talking to people and my biggest dream in life is to have my own talk show. So, do it now. Duh. I started a podcast. It may not look exactly how my dream talk show looks, but I’m having a TOTAL blast talking with amazing people, I’m sharing invaluable information with my audience and it aligns perfectly with who I am as a person and what my career goals are.
  2. I love writing. Enter this amazing opportunity to write for Ms. in the Biz.
  3. I love speaking so a speaking tour is in the works to get the word out.

So, you see – there are a million ways to do anything and it’s important that we find a way that works for us. Yes, we have to get the basics of producing a project done, but the how is totally up to us. It’s important that we remember that because the how is the fun part. It’s the creative part. And, if we can embrace the idea that making things happen is creative, I believe we will all be more successful in our careers and in life.

Jenna Edwards

About Jenna Edwards

With a passion for acting and the business of show-business, Jenna moved to Burbank, CA in 2000. Soon after, she appeared in UNSOLVED MYSTERIES, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE. In 2008 she produced her first feature, the award-winning film, APRIL SHOWERS. Building on the success of April Showers, Jenna produced the first narrative feature film exclusively for Hulu. Jenna helped create and was the “resident producing advisor” on the Movie Maker Magazine top ranked podcast, FILM METHOD and wrote an advice column called the Film Method Mailbag. She also taught producing at New York Film Academy. Years of teaching, consulting and coaching filmmakers made Jenna want to do more so she started her company, Indie Movie Mastery which focuses on teaching producing through an online course and encouraging filmmakers to think outside the box though her podcast and blogs