The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The "Danger Word" Miracle: Goals

Back to the fateful meeting where we turned “Danger Word” around.   BTW—I’m telling this story, so it sounds like I’m the hero.  I’m not.  I could not, in any way, overestimate what Luchina Fisher or my dear  wife T brought to the mix.   It certainly equaled or exceeded my own contribution, but heck, I’m telling this so this is my perspective, darn it.


But it doesn’t matter what order you put those in, just so long as they’re all in, so I started with Gratitude, a sense of joy at how far we’d come already.   This was specifically employed to combat any sense of fear.

Now, then…the next thing to do was focus on our Goal.  We’d set a goal of 12,500 for Post-production: color correction, editing, re-shoots, sound, etc.   We’d only raised about 2500.00 with three weeks to go.  All right…what would happen if contributions totally stalled out?  Were we screwed?

Well…the first question to ask was: had we reached every potential donor?   The WORST case scenario said that that was an absurd notion.  We’d reached the “low hanging fruit.”  People who knew us and our work.  Family.  FB community.  For all the work we’d put into raising the initial money, it had still been a wide net.   What if we targeted a few higher-end donors?  Looked for completion funds from film organizations, universities, charitable foundations, and selected philanthropists? Rather than trying to get a mass of small donations, what if we made a list of nothing but people who could potentially donate a thousand and more? 

What would we need to do that? Well…a rough cut of the film would do it.  Then we could burn that to DVD, and send a physical copy to selected philanthropists.

Well…how much would it cost to get to the point where we could execute such a plan?

Well…if we deferred selected payments (with the cooperation and permission of the people involved) and pinched pennies like hell, it turned out that we could create such a “rough cut” for only 1800.00 more than we currently had.

What the #$%%?  

1800.00, when we’d already raised almost TWENTY?   That….was absurd.   It was glaringly obvious that we could meet such a goal.

By defining CLEARLY what our intent was (to finish the movie) we could then identify the actual “critical path” to that goal (raising the money or otherwise negotiating for services) and identify a series of steps that would lead us there (creating a “rough cut” that could be used to attract higher-end donors.)

That’s the power of a goal.   Now, many people won’t set goals (especially written goals) because they are afraid of not reaching them.   Friends, one major reason that human beings have accomplished all they have on this planet is that they WRITE THINGS DOWN and can therefore pass learned information from one generation to the next, a sort of Larmarckian social evolution.  Well, consider written goals a message from your current to your future self, reminding yourself of your commitments, values, and intentions.

Performance psychologists suggest writing problems down, rather than just trying to work them out in your head—it reduces the number of factors you have to mentally juggle and increases functional intelligence.  Who can’t use a few more I.Q. points?

Now transfer this to the domain of the Master Mind.  Definition: “Two or more people meeting at least once a week, cooperating in a state of perfect harmony to accomplish a single or compatible goals.”
Just having a “brain storm” group can break your box wide open, conceptually.  But when you integrate this with people who share (at least in this one arena) your values, intentions, beliefs and goals…it’s like adding another lobe to your brain. 

Starting to understand?

So what did we have at this point?

1) A feeling of gratitude for all we had done, all the people who loved and supported us, and the wonderful potential ahead.

2) A clear goal that we KNEW we could achieve.  Nothing could stop us.  We were already celebrating.

Get it?   How much could YOU achieve today if you started with a sense of joy and gratitude, and knew the exact steps to take to accomplish your dream, had a Master Mind of people who supported you, and believed 100% in your ability to succeed.

Yeah.  That’s right.   So…start applying these principles today, folks.  Any time you wonder if you should be going after your goals, ask yourself one simple question: “how long am I going to be dead?”

And armed with the answer to that question…go out and have the best week of your life, would ya?


The initial Fundraising for DANGER WORD will shut down on Monday.   If you’ve wanted to contribute, just for the fun, or to get one of our terrific bonuses, it’s not too late!   Go to: and give a buck…just to say you did!

1 comment:

Xenical said...

yes, nice blog post