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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Buggs

7 Habits and Indie Filmmaking - 3. Put First Things First

In this series, we consider how the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey relates to indie filmmakers. In this post, we discuss the "Put First Things First" habit.


First Things First: The Macro Level


Filmmaking is so many things when you consider both the art and the business of it. At times, it seems like you're doing all the things all the time just to keep your career moving forward. So how do figure out what to do first? Well, at a macro level, we believe in a strict order of operations for setting up your filmmaking career for success.


There are three distinct areas that need your focus from the day you decide to be a filmmaker:


  1. Brand - Who you are and what you offer.

  2. Work - The projects you get involved in.

  3. Recognition - The acclaim you receive.


The reason we put things in this order is because your brand gets you the work and the work gets you recognition. The recognition, in turn, improves your brand which get you more work, which invites even more recognition, and starts the cycle all over again. It's a pretty good model for success.


So, in this context (the macro), putting first things first means creating your personal brand so that others know why they should work with you. Here are a few areas you should consider when building your brand:


1. Value


Identify the value that you intend to provide. Read our article on "Begin with the End in Mind" for an idea of how to build that out. This statement tells people who you are, what you bring to the table, and what your aspirations are for your career.


2. Principles


These are the rules that guide your actions and how you interact with the world around you. It's important for you to know the rules, play by the rules, and work with others who play by those same rules. Filmmaking takes a community. Good filmmaking takes a village. Great filmmaking takes a family. Be wary of who you let in your family. Be true to your principles.