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AFDI: Actually F*ing Do It - Insights from XM Radio Co-Founder, Lee Abrams

"So many people have good ideas but they're afraid to execute them."

- Lee Abrams, Co-Founder of XM Radio

Lee Abrams has done it. Time and time again he's done it. He co-founded XM Radio, he transformed the album-oriented rock music format, and he has consulted over a thousand radio stations across the country. Of all of the advice he could offer the creative community, he keeps it simple by imploring creatives to do one thing: AFDI: Actually Fucking Do It.

But isn't that easier said than done? Isn't it hard to do it? Aren't there just too many obstacles to making it in this industry?

Well, Lee doesn't seem to believe that at all. He tells us that, as a creative, "you need to let your creative batting average climb." He wants us to understand that we're not going to hit every ball, but the few that we do hit will more than make up for the many that we don't. The first step is to just swing.

Far too many filmmakers create obstacles to their own success by not creating and taking enough chances. We see this most often with filmmakers who put life on hold while chasing their next big feature film. This singular magnum opus consumes all of their time and energy while leaving them batting .000. The opportunity cost to chasing but not creating is that filmmakers become invisible to the industry as well as to their would-be supporters.

We stand behind Lee and implore the filmmaking community to AFDI. Actually Fucking Do IT by making short films to express your creativity and show off your filmmaking talents. Short films may not feel as glamorous as features, but they are the gateway to financing, partnerships, endorsements, and sponsors because they showcase what you're capable of creating, the audiences you're capable of mobilizing, and the quality you're capable of delivering. The support you need comes with the proof that you provide. The more you can show, the more business you'll get.

A perfect example of this is Ben Proudfoot of Breakwater Studios. Ben has made a career out of Actually Fucking Doing It. His batting average improves year after year as his masterfully hand-crafted short documentaries and narrative films impress and engage audiences around the globe. Ever since his directorial debut, Dinner with Fred, Ben has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to AFDI. He has directed 35 films, been nominated for an Academy Award, won an Emmy, and has partnered with some of the most iconic brands in the world. He is the perfect example of what happens when a filmmaker decides to do what they love and not simply aspire to it. He also proves that success as a creative may take many different forms but it all starts with the desire and drive to make great art.

It's an honor to share the virtual room with the entertainment legend and visionary Lee Abrams. We can't wait to see how he re-envisions Video News and reimagines the live music experience. We'll be sure to keep an eye out for his work in the coming months and will look forward to speaking with him again.

As always,

Be Better. Be Creative. Be Engaged. (And AFDI.)


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