table of contents

Introduction ix
ACT I: Pre-Production: Create Your Life Script . . . . 1
CHAPTER 1: Develop Your Life Script . . . . . . . . . . . 3
CHAPTER 2: Edit Your Life Script . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
CHAPTER 3: Let Fun Unlock Your Creativity . . . . . . . 47
CHAPTER 4: The Pitch: Turn a No into a Go . . . . . . . . 63
ACT II: Production: Make a Plan and Build
Your Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
CHAPTER 5: Make Your Plans (and Your Budget) for Success . . 81
CHAPTER 6: Assemble Your Cast and Crew . . . . . . . . . 105
CHAPTER 7: Schedule Your Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
ACT III: Post-Production: Debut Your Dream . . . . . 137
CHAPTER 8: Ready, Set, Shoot!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
CHAPTER 9: Putting Your Unique Dream Together . . . . . 159
CHAPTER 10: Get Ready to Show the World Who You Are . . . 175
Afterword 193
Acknowledgments 203
Index 205
About the Authors 211

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Sample Chapter

   Just a few years ago, we were learning the ropes at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Chris, a young entrepreneur, was featured in the Canadian documentary The Corporation as the world’s fi rst corporate-sponsored college student, and he traveled from the East Coast to see his film premiere to an American audience. Efren, a young actor who had long been struggling for his big break, traveled from the West Coast to show off his starring role in the “small” indie film, Napoleon Dynamite. At the festival, we each had remarkable experiences. The Corporation won high acclaim and the World Cinema Documentary Award, and Napoleon Dynamite won a standing ovation and a distribution deal that would launch the fi lm into the hearts of millions of adoring fans across the country.

   We both seemed to have won the lottery with the successes of our fi lms at Sundance. Chris was an entrepreneurial college kid, and his partnership with First USA to teach fi nancial responsibility to young people prompted The Corporation’s producers to feature him in their fi lm. Efren had been practicing the art of performing for years, yet he had earned only small, sporadic roles until he turned down a part in a movie with a $100 million budget for the lead in an independent fi lm. By opening ourselves up to every humble opportunity, we struck a gold mine of opportunities when our projects blew up at one of the biggest film festivals in the world. But our success wasn’t happenstance; as you will see through the pages of this book, we had been moving toward these achievements for years; we had been directing our own lives.

   The two of us met at that 2004 Sundance Film Festival while having a blast at all of the parties, screenings, and events. Though we were very different people from completely different backgrounds, we had a lot in common: We were each enjoying the fruits of our hard work and our willingness to be a part of something special.

   One of the most important things we have done with our experience was to share our secrets for success with students on high school and college campuses across the country. By talking with these students, it became clear to us that many young people have no faith in their ability to achieve their dreams. Whether they have been discouraged by their families, dissuaded by their friends, or disillusioned by their teachers, most people think that being able to direct their own lives is just a fantasy. Many believe that real life means working 9 to 5. As we listened to these students, we discovered some key points about achieving dreams that anyone can learn and integrate into his or her life. As these principles became clearer, we decided to share them with others through this book.

   We want you, our reader, to learn that life isn’t lived within the confi nes of a career; rather, living a successful life means embracing the limitless world of opportunities and allowing yourself to explore any endeavor. This is what it means to direct your own life: Dream big, work hard, and be open to opportunities. Don’t wait for someone to present an opportunity to you—be the director, screenwriter, and producer of your own choices, decisions, and direction.

   Directing your own life is not just a fantasy. You can make a life out of your dreams. If you are unsure what you want to do with your life or you don’t know how to accomplish your dream, Direct Your Own Life is for you.    Direct Your Own Life is a collection of battle stories, advice, and hands-on steps you can take to overcome your fears of failure, find direction, and accomplish your dreams. We’ve shared stories from our own lives and experience and presented some stories from other young people who are living their dreams.

   In the pages of Direct Your Own Life, you’ll discover that living a successful life means embracing the limitless world of opportunities and allowing yourself to dream. The only way you can give back to the world is to make yourself happy first. We can’t wait to see what dreams you come up with—and to see you achieve those dreams. If two regular guys like us can do it, you can, too.