Don't put all your film in one camera, so to speak.
One of the earliest lessons I learned the very hard way was not to put all your hopes and dreams into one project. Filmmaking is about hearing the word "no" 99 times out of 100. If you only work on one project at a time, it's going to take a really long time to hear that yes.
That's why you have to juggle a few projects at once, especially if you're trying to break in.
Sometimes that's easier said than done. If you're like me, you're trying to manage a full-time job, a side hustle, and your dream career. There are not enough hours in the day. Still, people manage to get things done. But how?
Today, I want to go over some ways to juggle your projects and make your life a little easier.
Let's dive in.
How to Balance Multiple Filmmaking Projects All at Once
I'll start off the bat by saying these are all strategies I use and that have worked for me in the past. If you have better ideas or suggestions, put them in the comment section to help out your fellow filmmakers.
Divide Your Days
One of the things that helps me enormously is using the hours of the day to work on different things. I get up at 6 a.m. and work my mornings doing everything I have to do for my day job through the afternoon. You might not be able to do this, but maybe you can on the weekends. I work from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and then call it a day. When I'm done with the day job, I'm done. I don't answer emails or think about it until it's 6 a.m. again.
From 2 p.m. until 6 p.m., it's screenwriting time. I take meetings, crank out pages, and work on treatments.
Then, if I have any energy left, I work from 7 p.m. until around 10 p.m. on the side hustle.
In the stretches of my life where I am being paid solely to write, I use those hours for various projects. The morning goes to the thing that's closest to production or needs the most attention. That might be a spec I'm about to finish or a bible I'm handing into a studio.
The afternoon goes to meetings or pitches for new ideas. If I don't have any of those, the afternoon is for polishing whatever is going out next, or researching what I am working on. Maybe that's talking to experts or just getting my facts straight.
Finally, the night is spent reading or researching IP and making a plan for the next day.
Yes, it's exhausting. Yes, things get in the way and change. But the most important thing is that you produce new ideas. Always be ready. Someone is going to ask, and you want to be working on something.
Organize Your Computer
Another hot tip would be to make sure your laptop or desktop is totally organized. I know this sounds like a good procrastination tool, but it's worth it. You don't want to be opening documents and not knowing where to save them, or looking for that next project to work on and have no idea where your other ideas can be. What if you finally crack that scene and need to type it up but can't find your screenplay?
Keep your computer organized, and the ideas and tasks will feel manageable.
A sub-category here would keep a calendar. Add your due dates for drafts, edits, treatments, and personal goals. Keep yourself accountable by sticking to deadlines and marking dates.
It's so important to understand how much time you have to do these things and how much you need to do every day to make sure they happen.
Work in Multiple Genres
One of the harder things is brainstorming a lot of similar ideas. Instead, I'd advise that you work in multiple genres at once. Sure, they can have something in common—I usually have a comedic element in my writing, but having different genres gives you the ability to wipe your brain and just focus on one area of intent.
You can also take the lessons you learn in one genre and apply the tropes and characteristics to another.
Pick Your Resting Areas
As always, take a break when you need it. You don't have to work every hour of every day. Maybe on Saturdays you just work before people get up. Or only on Sunday nights to stave off worrying about Mondays.
Another idea is to pick rest points in your projects. I try to take a few days after I am done with a treatment to then write the idea in screenplay format. I need those days to let my mind relax and to work out the problems I have in the script that I didn't anticipate when writing the treatment. Also, sometimes my manager wants to shop the treatment around to see if we can pick up producers right away.
I wait for a week after typing "fade out" to send things in, because I like to give myself one last pass before it goes to my team.
Find areas to rest and take time off. You will sharpen your working time if you know when not to work as well.
Summing It All Up
At the end of the day, managing multiple projects at once is the only way a filmmaker can succeed. So much of this job is preparing for what's coming next. You have to have a list of ideas in development and ready for when you're done with what you're working on.
It's not easy to juggle multiple things at once, and one of these accounts for families, kids, pets, and just the way life comes up.
Still, if you use these tools, you can prepare each day and work smarter, not harder, to achieve your goals.
Let me know if you think I missed anything in the comments!
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I wish there was a great app/service that will track projects such as video/film.
March 1, 2021 at 6:51AM
How so? Can you elaborate?
March 3, 2021 at 4:17AM
Impossible if you're doing your job properly
You're asking the audience to sit down and give up their time for you – so if you haven't put 110% into the the thing you're asking them to watch, then you're not delivering what they rightfully expect from you
March 1, 2021 at 11:28AM
Sounds like this guy Will be hit by stress some day. I was, when i worked several jobs in different appartments at once (lighting, screenwriting, editing).
Now i Work on several projects, but all are scripts. And still i need to have periods sat aside for each project. Ie: im working a week or more on one project, to be able to fully integrate with the feeling og the story. Meanwhile ill take Notes for my other projects, if an idea pops up.
But staying focused and leaving a Lot of time to just relax, is the best nourishment for my creativity.
All my best ideas come when i have time to stare out the window.
March 2, 2021 at 1:32AM