I borrowed and modified the “Done Door” idea from Scott Belsky’s essential book for creatives: “Making Ideas Happen”. The 2013 Done Door (pictured here but now retired) encouraged, inspired and motivated me through twelve months of hard work.
Vision Boards have never done much for me. But this — being able to look back and appreciate a recent body of work in real time — fires me up. Listen to Belsky’s description of the practice’s value: “When we feel mired in the thick of it all, we can look up and see the wake of progress that trails behind us.”
Nature of the Beast
Most of the projects in which I’m involved are in the process of “getting done” at best and “still undone” at worst. That’s the nature of creating and producing. We stir up a lot of things and hope that a few make it to the table. I’m actually ok with how much of my work is in development. (Development is a Hollywood term that is often more euphemistic than it is accurate.)
But sometimes I can be a little too ok with how much is not getting done. It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you’re making progress because you’re busy. But activity does not always translate into productivity. Talking about what you’re going to do is a poor substitute for doing it. That’s where the Done Door comes in.
Everything on the door represents a completed project or a significant completed phase of a larger project. Nothing on the door is from a previous calendar year. To get on the door the project had to provide measurable, significant value to the company. In other words, completed “to do” lists go in the recycling bin, not on the door. It’s not about everything I did. The door is just about what got done.
The Door does not lie. If it’s the end of April and there’s nary a thing up there, then it’s time to take stock of how time, money and effort are being expended. You’ve heard of instant karma? This is instant clarity.
A Bias Toward Action
Look, I know we are human beings, not human doings. But the fact of the matter is – humans do stuff. We create, we build, we serve, we work, we play – we do a lot of stuff. Doing those things well is not just a matter of having great talent or skill sets. It’s mostly a matter of making choices then actually doing something.
A friend, who knew Paddy Chayefsky well, tells me that the legendary writer/producer always had three projects going because he didn’t know which was going to stall, which was gong to fail and which would succeed. Paddy was as smart as he was talented but the secret of his successful body of work was that he worked!
It helps to love what you do. I feel greatly blessed that I love what I do and get to do what I love every day. (If you don’t love what you do, I hope you’ll stay tuned here. You’ll meet some great people and might pick up a few ideas to help you get unstuck.)
The New Year is two weeks old and there’s already a couple of projects up on the newly minted 2014 Done Door. After this post is published — essentially flipping the switch on the new Rev. Hollywood Blog – there’ll be three. I could have waited until the developer was done with the website. Could’ve waited until all the hosting details were worked out. But neither of those has any bearing on content. Sometimes you have to pull the trigger or pull the plug. Today, I’m pulling the trigger.
Welcome to Rev. Hollywood — at the Corner of Art & Commerce.