Forget mission statements, genres and log lines… Try three little words instead

Over the last week or so I have been doing some soul searching, as well as building the curriculum for Talent Campus. By chance, during research an idea I came across resonated with something I did over a decade ago and have done many times since (I even posted about it here in 2010!)

Three words. Describe it in three words.

Your story. Your career. Your business. Your… well pretty much anything that you actively put energy into and want to improve.

I first did this process when making my Oscar shortlisted film ‘Gone Fishing’. At that time I taped Cinematic, Sensitive and Confident to the front of my script binder. This would be how I approached the entire process of making the film.

Everything I did, every choice I made, creative or practical, had to serve these three words. If it didn’t, I was the wrong choice.

I cannot tell you how much this helps when under massive pressure, as well as at the other end of creativity, when there’s no pressure and shiny distractions everywhere.

Of course I don’t really mean ‘forget a logline…’, but I do think these three words are WAY more helpful than a logline during the long act of creation. They are flexible enough to unleash the full creative potential you and your work offers, yet clear enough to result in focus, often laser focus when combined with pressure (real, imagined or self imposed).

It doesn’t need to be the same words for everything. The London Screenwriters Festival is ‘Experience, Inspire and Connect’ for instance.

For me right now, I am considering a bold creative step, and with limitless opportunities, I need to focus on what really resonates with me and floats my boat.

My three words for what I want to do next creatively would be…

  • Mystery
  • Awe
  • Confident

Certainly Rocketboy which I have been writing with Judy has all three. And I am at the tipping point now where I think I will revert to the original title too, ‘Rocketboy and Vampire Girl’.

There are other words too, words I would love to add, maybe Magical, Melancholy, Entertaining, Touching… Constellations of emotions.

I guess I can have these additionally IF I can first pass through my three words. Again, this is a flexible enough guide to encompass so much, but also rigid enough to keep us on the creative straight and narrow.

The words… mystery and awe… are what I loved about movies as a kid. That sense of magical reality created awe, and all told through the lens of mystery.

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I have taken Confident again, not as a way of being for myself (though it’s a good reminder), more about the story and treatment of the narrative. To avoid clever, tricksy, over engineered solutions. Keeping it simple yet bold.

Just writing this has given me tons of clarity an ignited the passion.

What are the three words that describe your next project? Your career? Heck, even your website…? It works really well, like ever finer filtration.

Do share your thoughts and breakthroughs.

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones
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