Despite Sterling’s Warning, I Had No Idea How Hard it Would Really Be

IMG_0061Tonight my film premiers at a local theater.

As I think back on the experience, there are several great lessons that I’ve learned. The biggest lesson relates to having a Definite Major Purpose, not only in life but even in our daily activities.

I had no idea how much work it would be to create a 10-minute short film. Sterling warned me, but I still didn’t fathom the extent of work the project was going to take. Still, looking back it was totally worth it. I would do it again.

Before I committed to creating this film, I listed as many reasons as I could for why I wanted to do it.

I knew all the ways that it would fulfill me. I knew the meaning it would have for me and others involved in the project.

By carefully choosing a purpose (or even several) for creating the film, I stayed  motivated even when I spent 30 straight hours editing, without sleep.

Here are a few of the pre-defined purposes that motivated me through the project.

  1. I wanted to learn a number of new skills including how to be a better storyteller and media creator and how to use Final Cut
  2. Next time I have an idea for a film, I wanted to be more likely to just do it rather than getting overwhelmed by an unfamiliar process.
  3. I wanted to make new friends by working with other filmmakers and with the dancers that my film is about.
  4. I wanted to collaborate with very passionate and creative people.
  5. I needed to exercise the creative part of my personality — something that has always fulfilled me in life.
  6. I knew the finished product would have meaning and purpose beyond just being watched a couple times by local audiences. The subject of  my film is a non-profit dance company that can use the film to promote their mission for years to come.
  7. I hoped the film will inspire others to pursue their passion.

The idea of having a Definite Major Purpose and knowing your Fulfillment Factors is something that we teach in our courses.

It can (and should) be applied to choosing what you’ll do this weekend just as much as the big picture plans of your life. Without thinking about the reasons why I wanted to undertake the film, I would have likely given up half way through when the going got tough.

The better you know what motivates you and what you want in life, the better you get at quickly making decision that lead to more happiness each step of the way.

Can you think of a time when know your purpose helped you get through a difficult task?

I’d love to hear your stories. Please share them in the comments below.


  1. Great to hear you successfully creating a film Jay. It sounds like a very difficult and challenging task beyond the realm of what you were already familiar with.

    I decided to tackle the task of creating an online beer store with social elements to it, an idea that came to me while in the Academy. Like you, I had no idea how difficult it was really going to be with all the legal obstacles and logistics issues I had to overcome. However my purpose, “escaping the 9-to-5” and working with a niche I’m a part of keeps me going.

    Still got a long way to go but I’ve managed to sell quite a few Christmas Ales this month with most of the site still under construction.

  2. awesome jay!

    keep stepping out! you truly are an inspiration and i thank you for keeping me inspired to follow my excitement!

    content IS king.

    that’s the motto with my new adventures at (soon to be

  3. @Tony,

    Very cool. Good luck with the new site.

    I enjoy stepping out of the comfort zone on a regular basis.


    Thanks! It makes it even more worth it to know it inspires others.

  4. Where can I watch the video at?

    Also, congrats on being a person of action, so many people just read all day about things they could be doing instead of doing them.

  5. Just watched the whole thing, great job dude.

  6. hit the wrong keyboard shortcut and it posted my comment before i finished, lol….anyway….I’m going to Haiti next month, would like to shoot a documentary also…I’ve done video before, but never a documentary…any tips on how to craft the story?

    • @Jeremy,

      Keep it simple. Decide on the one main thing that you want to convey. Too many messages and too many characters ruin things fast. Of course, I am coming from the perspective of having made a 10-minute short.

      Going to Haiti sounds like quite the experience.

  7. Jeremy says:

    Didn’t have enough time to do a full blown documentary, but just finished the video that tells the story of the trip..check it out..