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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Two lessons I learned from my movie-making experience

First off, let me start with an apology. This is the longest I’ve ever gone without writing to my blog. It has been 11 days, and that’s unacceptable. However, I do have a valid reason (along with a lesson).
As many of my regular readers know, in my “real life” I am a Science and Math teacher at a Christian Boarding Academy. If you know anything about working at a boarding school, you would know that it is NOT a 9 to 5 job. It’s more of a “You keep working” type of job.
I am also the Freshman class sponsor (among other things). The great thing about being Freshman Class sponsor is that you don’t have much to do. The biggest thing is putting together 1 program for a morning church service.
Well, Saturday was that day for my class and my kids had the “bright idea” to put together a movie for their program. Since I have recently acquired a nice video camera with some powerful editing software and other cool equipment, I thought it was a “great idea” and was very excited. What I did NOT predict was the amount of work it would take to get it done.
The Unexpected Work
We started filming a few weeks ago. I had to organize the times for the students to meet so that we could get things going. The problem was that although the students LOVED the idea, they HATED the amount of “work” they had to do. They complained over and over again. “Why do we have to do it so many times? Why do we have to meet again? I don’t want to do this! This is boring! I thought this would be more fun!” These were all very popular questions and statements, to the extent that it felt like I was a dentist trying to pull teeth (not to offend any dentists that might be reading this).
What was even more unexpected was the amount of editing work that needed to be done. Without exaggeration, whenever I wasn’t teaching a class or filming (or eating, sleeping, or using the rest room), I was editing video, up until 2am on a daily basis. My entire life was consumed with this movie. What made it extremely frustrating was the lack of cooperation from the students.
The two Lessons Learned and how they apply to Business.
1. It takes work. As with my “movie production experience”, it takes a lot of work to run a business. Those of you that have been reading my blog for a while would know that although a main focus of my blog is Freebie Trading, my ultimate purpose is bigger than freebies. It’s helping people be successful on the internet. I’m not going to lie to you. It takes a lot of work to make money online. Anything worth having is worth fighting for.
2. You can’t/shouldn’t do all the work yourself. If I had more people helping me, it would have been MUCH easier. I now understand why there are so many credits at the end of a movie. It takes a lot of people to make such a production. The beautiful thing about the internet is that you can find people to help you with tasks that can make your life much easier, and your business even more efficient. Most online businesses start as a one-man show, but as things start picking up, outsourcing becomes a necessity. This is something I struggled with for a while. I always had the idea that “if you want things done right, you have to do them yourself”. The problem with that if that if you do everything yourself, you won’t have time for anything, which I have seen first hand.
So how did it turn out?
Glad you asked. On one hand I can say that it turned out VERY WELL. The kids loved it and it was probably one of the best programs they had seen at the school ever. They were all very impressed because it was very “Hollywood-like” – from the screenplay to the effects, narration to the credits, everything was very well-done.
On the other hand I can say that it turned out VERY POORLY. I say that because over the last week, everything else suffered. I didn’t grade one homework assignment that week, nor did I spend time with my wife. At the end of Saturday, I had a call from a concerned friend wondering if I fell off the planet.
Will I ever do it again?
Not in the same way. If I ever try to make a movie again, it will be with people who want to make a movie. By that, I mean that they want to put in the work to make it happen. That way, much of the labor can be shared.
In the same way, I’ve decided that in my business, I will help people who want to be helped, as opposed to trying to convince people that they should want to be helped. The second takes too much time and energy and the first is more rewarding.
Oh, one funny thing – at the end of it all, I announced to the class that I would be making the dvd available for purchase. One of the students had the nerve to ask “Why do we have to pay for it since we did all the work?” I’ll let you get the lesson from that one

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