Fortune Cookie Time Management

I pulled into Toronto Wednesday night, bleary eyed but in good spirits.  Spent most of the drive lost in my thoughts.  What a tangle.

Even though I had a travelling companion, I spent most of the trip in silence.  Just didn’t have anything to say because I didn’t know what I thought about anything.  Spent most of my time in Regina being just as silent.

I recently read an article by Ken Davenport in his blog about a young producer who was asking an established Broadway producer for advice.  “I have this show,” he said, “And I’ve been trying to raise money for it.  And I just can’t do it.  What should I do?”

The producer responded simply with, “If you can’t raise the money for your show, you don’t want to produce it badly enough.”

RedShirts, Highwaymen, Not Being A Dick, Hog Town and That Moment In Between, all show great potential, and I’m simply not doing enough to realize that potential.  I feel that truth in my bones and I’ve been in denial about it.

I realize producing a play is very different from producing a movie or television show.  In a previous article, Davenport confessed that he is as prone to procrastination as anyone when it comes to getting his Broadway shows off the ground.  The trick he says, is to simply book a theatre.  I totally get how that can be a perfect remedy, but I can’t simply ‘book’ a broadcaster to play my ideas.

I can however, be doing a lot more to get my ideas out there.

My time is finite and I need to be better at using it to further my goals.  To this end, I need to look at myself closely and break the time I spend down into a number of realistic categories.

The first category is Personal Time.  This is the time I take to play backgammon (my rating is an impressive 1872 btw), watch TV, hang out, and/or wander aimlessly.  I’m embarrassed to say that I spend most of my time in this category.

The second category is Project Time.  If my overall time is finite, then this time is even more finite (finitier).  The more projects I actively pursue, the less time each project gets.  There are no guarantees about if and when a project green lights, so it’s prudent to have a few on the front burner.  Still, I could do more to find a better balance.

The third category is Short Term Cash Flow Time.  I need to pay my bills while my projects simmer.  This time has two sub categories, ‘pursue the gigs‘ and ‘work the gigs‘.  I can do corporate gigs, teach workshops, work on movies (I’m now a member of the Directors Guild of Canada), and/or work for other companies.  The time I give to this category is directly proportional to my cash flow needs.

So there it is.  Perfectly straight forward.  I need to get better at first measuring, and then managing my time.

Fucking yuck!

I hate to even admit that to myself.  Sounds like a phrase right out of a self help diagnosis fortune cookie.  It’s true though, and if I’m going to make something of my career, I’m gonna have to make some adjustments.

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