Eminem said it best.

This idea of embracing reality. And making friends with the odd creatures that land on earth.

I’ve been hit by such a creature - an asteroid from space.

The death of my mother. My mom. Nana.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to unwind that a bit and write about it here. Tune in if you want to get heavy around that, and help me shine some light into the shadows.

1942 - 2018.

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AuthorChris Donaldson

There are a minimum of two realities we are faced with everyday…

Reality as it occurs.

And reality as we (I) perceive it to be.

Socrates and Plato discussed this in the Hot Tub Time Machine centuries ago, this idea of Absolute Truth and the real meaning of ‘Knowledge’. The Matrix discusses it again in a future not so distant from our own. In these deep philosophical mind-benders, it might even be argued that there is just the one reality: mine. But does this negate the goal of compassion: being one with others?

The Rubik’s Cube spins and spins again.

The one truth we do know (if we know anything) is that we can control how we respond to ‘reality’, at least most of the time. When we get bitch-slapped by circumstance, we can manifest our own behavior/attitude/outcome to a huge degree.

There are exceptions of course, but if we accept the power we have and are held accountable for who we have become, just about anything is possible.

Owning that, perhaps, is everything.

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AuthorChris Donaldson

If you ask my religion at this exact moment in time, I'll tell you I'm working at becoming a Radical Optimist

Maybe the true Radical Optimist sees suffering and has empathy. Maybe the true Radical Optimist is the person who is charging towards the best solution and fighting like hell for the best outcome. Maybe it's the embrace of suffering to realize there is something more. Something better. 

Peter McWilliams wrote  You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought. I haven't read this yet, but I've always been intrigued by the title and the idea that negative thinking is something only the idle have time for. This isn't always true of course, but how many times have you heard someone say "I succeeded because I didn't know any better.... I just put my head down and did the work."

The inverse of that title is All I Can Afford is a Positive Thought. In this age of noise and discourse, it might be the best action we can take. It might propel us to do the work we are meant to do.

And perhaps be a radical, and a revolutionary, in the process. 

 
 Measure your horizons differently. 

Measure your horizons differently. 

 
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AuthorChris Donaldson
 
 
 
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AuthorChris Donaldson

The world likes to separate us. 

Into classes, politics, religions. 

We're stratified and defined based on algorithms or data or....

We see 'other' often before we see ourselves. 

But empathy is the greatest gift. Turning 'you' into 'us' our greatest skill. 

Something to try today. 

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AuthorChris Donaldson

The biggest challenge I have is chasing shiny objects. In my own frenetic mind, there are a 1000 things I should be doing at this exact moment. 

I'm trying to kill the myth of multi-tasking. But t's a crazy zombie that always resurfaces, blood on it's lips, whispering sweet nothings in my ear. Faster.... faster.  

Speed is the enemy of quality. And quality is the repetition of making the Best Next Move, over and over again. A few misses will happen, for sure, but focusing on the next choice, the next fork in the road, the next concrete thing that can be accomplished - this is how goodness is achieved. 

I'm working on ignoring the squirrels that want me to chase them in a all directions. I'm doing my best to put aside the emails that are trying to set my agenda. I'm focusing instead on the one thing, the ONE thing, that will get me closer to the who, what, how, and why of the person I want to be. 

Be present. That's a good place to start. 

 

 

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AuthorChris Donaldson
 
 
 
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AuthorChris Donaldson
 
 
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This is the time of year when I start getting resumes from filmmakers just graduating from college and wanting to break into the biz.

I give a full breakdown of how I think you should approach the job search over at my company site, Hand Crank Films. Check it!

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AuthorChris Donaldson

One of our intrepid Production Managers at Hand Crank Films, Avielle Heath, forwarded me this article about multi-tasking that rang a very familiar bell. Five minutes ago, multi-tasking was all the rage. If you weren't responding to your email, fielding a call, ordering a cappucino and having a conversation with a co-worker while planning your next vacation, you were not working fast enough. Plain and simple. Job postings everywhere made 'multi-tasking' a pre-requisite to success. 

But a funny thing happened on the way to the brass ring. I for one have come to realize that the thing lacking from my work and my life is pretty straight-forward: focus. The ability to dig deep into something and take the time to understand it. To listen. To understand. And then, perhaps, to act. 

The resistance tells us we need a 'to-do' lists a mile long. That we are measured in quantity. That speed is a virtue. That check-marks are our most important asset. I've believed it, and lost many opportunities because of it. And that's too bad. 

ACTION ITEM:  One thing I've tried to do is take some time every Sunday to outline my 'Model Week'. During this outlining process of the Model Week, I mark the 3 big objectives I need to get done in any given day. That may include something as simple as 'Start  :30 Script' on Monday and 'Finish :30 Script on Friday, with all the necessary steps in between. If I get my 3 things done everyday, then the rest is gravy. I try not to rush to look for the next thing I can spit out the door. I try to use the in-between time to understand the job at hand. And, most importantly, to Think Bigger. 

It's tricky stuff to be sure, but try it next time. Living in the weeds makes you think smaller. No exceptions. 

That's the beauty of great film, fine prose, poems that are music. These things pull you into the moment. Grab you. Force you go deep as well as wide. You can live your days like that too. 

And that very well may include a phone stack or three in your future. 

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AuthorChris Donaldson
CategoriesLife and Media
 
 
 
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AuthorChris Donaldson
 
 
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If you're doing anything worthwhile (and I mean anything), you're going to hear 'no' a lot. 

No - it's not what we're looking for. 

No - the timing isn't right. 

No - we're not ready for this yet. 

No - you are out of your flipping mind. 

You can be crushed by No. It seems so permanent and heavy. Immovable. 

But maybe we can look at it a different way. Because life really is about odds and oddsmakers, maybe every No helps build the ladder to Yes. The roulette wheel spins, but only if you're at the table. 

Which means it might be good to give thanks to the No.  Just moments before trying again.  

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AuthorChris Donaldson

Many of you know I finished a novel, Devil's Candy, about a screenwriter who sells his screenplay to a producer, the producer gets murdered, and the screenwriter gets framed for that murder. 

So I've started to email a few agents about it and have found out a few lessons the hard way:

  • No friggin' attachments in your pitch, ever. 
  • Read EXACTLY how to pitch each individual agent as each has their own requirements. 
  • Do NOT send out form letters. Do your research, explore the agent, and see what she wants and likes. If you find out your agent loves pizza, there's your potential opening to hook her into the rest of your pitch. 
  • Be respectful: agents (like you) are busy. They don't owe you anything. They'll get back to you when, and if, they can. 

That all said, it's a numbers game. You have to do the outreach and the work. Writing the book is only half the battle. 

I've reached out to 11 agents so far. 1 has agreed to read my first 50 pages. 

Onward.  

Posted
AuthorChris Donaldson