I have a hard time finishing.
There, I said it… I don’t have any problem starting something… well, lets put it this way, if I get around to starting something, if I don’t have a deadline, its hard for me to finish.
For instance, a year ago I shot some footage for an advertisement that was supposed to be for a film festival I guest produce. In my contract for the festival I’m supposed to create two videos for promotion leading up to the event. In the past I’d done two completely separate videos… one on the complex side and the other a little easier to complete. I decided last year that I’d go all-out and make two really hard ones; Two styles of video that I had not accomplished before… Or so I thought. Needless to say, I was in over my head. The one I completed you can see here:
To fulfill my contract I realsed a shorter version of the above video first as I finished the details of the final version. Cheating? No, not really. These sort of things happen all the time. Whether you notice it or not, there are often long and short versions of the same commercial aired on T.V. all the time.
So what happened with the footage from the video I didn’t use? Well, thankfully I still have it… I actually got pretty far along with the concept I was trying to accomplish too. So I dug up and dusted off the old After Effects project today and to my amazement, the original footage is still intact, in fact, it fits the theme of this year’s festival even better than it would have last year’s. Its a good thing too, ’cause I had spent some of my own money buying the prop canvas that appears in the spot. I bought it as payment to the artist who was my actor in the add. By the way, his name is Perry Ross. You can check out his art here:
The reason why this project has been so hard to complete is not only the fact that its one of the biggest AE projects I’ve ever worked on, but its my own ability to justify not doing something when there’s a seeming lack of need to finish. My dad would say its my ENFP (Extravert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving) Myers Briggs score… but I think its just a fact of life. Its hard to get things done sometimes.
Ok, so enough about not getting things done. Here are some tips for those of you like me that have a hard time get a project completed (aka get’n ‘er done).
- Set a Deadline
Setting a deadline is the #1 way I accomplish a task. Set a reasonable goal based on previous experience and don’t be afraid if you need to change that deadline. However, the second and vital part of this equation comes in tip #2.
- Find Someone or Something to Keep You Accountable
Setting a deadline is crucial, but its never going to materialize unless you have someone or something making sure you hit that deadline. My accountability often comes from my need to finish work in order to get paid, but when I do things pro-bono or for personal use I try to find someone invested in the outcome of the project. For instance I’m working with a friend of mine on his debut EP. We’re having a blast working on it even though neither of us are getting paid. What keeps us going is each other. If either one of us lost interest or if he didn’t bug me every week about it or I him, we simply wouldn’t get anywhere.
- Another great way to make sure a job gets finished is to have it be something you’re somewhat familiar with, but something that also stretches your abilities.
For me at least, there has to be a happy medium between comprehension and difficulty. If I know exactly how I’m going to accomplish something or if I’ve done it before… if there’s no other motivation like money, what’s the point? I need to feel like I’ve grown through the process; learned something new, or…
- Perfect the result
This is one that my wife particularly likes. She’s a baker. She makes this amazing sourdough that she’s spent years (at least the 4 1/2 years we’ve been married) cultivating her starter, testing recipes, and sourcing better ingredients for. She makes 2-12 loaves a week and what motivates her is the drive to make her product better with every batch.
So, what do you guys do to get projects done? Do you use any of the above methods, or do you have very different approaches?
Either way, I look forward to completing the promo for the film festival. I’m hoping you all will keep me accountable too, so I can delight in presenting it to you in the near future.
Until then. Thank you for reading.