Achieving the Impossible

A good friend, who’s been watch the progress of the film, asked my how I managed to get a certain actor or musician to work on the project? I responded, somewhat tritely, that I just asked. I found out how to contact them, usually through an agent, dropped the agent an email, followed it up with a call and asked.


What my friend didn’t know was the number of times I’ve asked and people have said “No” but I have been relatively successful getting who I wanted.


You see, I’m a great believer in goal setting. Goal-setting theoryrefers to the effects of setting goals on subsequent performance. The eminent researcher Edwin Locke found that individuals who set specific, difficult goals performed better than those who set general, easy goals. He proposed five basic principles of goal setting: clarity, challenge, commitment, feedback, and task complexity.

I set goals for myself every year at the beginning of January. I find it’s the most effective ways to stay motivated. The simple act of setting an effective goal gives you a better chance of realizing that goal.


For the film “Lawrence: After Arabia” within pre-production I set various goals. What budget did I want to set? I gave the project a budgetary range and hoped I would stay within it – so far it has! What were the timescales I wanted to set? I knew I needed to break up the project in bite size chunks as if I were eating an elephant.


For the cast I created a dream-cast. For each part I named a specific actor for the role. Knowing it was unlikely to get a specific actor because of cost and their availability I also set a back-up and a back up for the back-up, a 1-2-3 if you will!


In some cases I have been lucky I got who I wanted. Where I was no so lucky and it’s allowed me to think laterally and eventually cast an actor with the same qualities I had been looking for in the original.


With the crew I’ve been lucky enough for the crew to come to me and I have a great team. It’s almost as if they had been pre-allocated and the right person came to me. That said I knew I was looking for easy going and adaptable people who would work well together. I’ve been very lucky – I have a great team.



It only goes to prove that in anything “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” and the worse that can happen is for someone to say “No”. I’m happy that in achieving the impossible - as many have described making a feature film – I’ve met more Yes’s than No’s!!

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