Wondering how to start that big project?
You aren’t alone… Big projects are always easy to start tomorrow.
Here’s a quick story that might get you going…
When you are finished reading, please take a minute and share how you start big projects in the comments below.
We’d love to hear your perspective.
Once upon a time… I was living in a rickety trailer in Mexico with my girlfriend.
We’d been traveling for 5 months and the Baja looked like the perfect place for a break.
It would give me plenty of time to create articles and videos for Adventure Sauce…
And my girlfriend could work on her Spanish.
Plus, we were resting up for an across the USA hitchhiking trip…
And preparing to shoot a documentary of our experience.
We were excited… and would spend hours slugging cold Pacificos, eating tacos, and brainstorming how we would shoot it.
Of course, neither of us had any idea how to shoot a documentary.
And the word “documentary” had me sweating.
I’ve never attended a prestigious film school or spent years as a production assistant, like most Normal documentary filmmakers.
And even though I’d been pretty successful on Youtube…
A documentary project seemed different.
Bigger… foreign… real… and fuckin’ scary.
Despite my stomach gurgling with fear (although I’d faced this battle before and I knew what I needed to do.
I had to study… and I had to start taking action.
So I did what any Artistic Adventurer would do…
- I started Googling like a mad man… “How To Shoot A Documentary.”
- I wrote and wrote about what I wanted to ‘say’
- And I downed beers and smoked joints with the our neighborly (and leatherly) Gringos around the fire… shaping the ideas in conversation
I became consumed by hunting down ideas.
Sort of like the Gringos here, who were consumed with hunting down the biggest whitefish in the Sea of Cortez.
But it got too much… and my brain became an Idea Junkie.
It was addicted to hunting down, slaughtering, and consuming the best ideas about how to shoot a documentary… ever.
I didn’t want to fail.
And I wanted you to be able to see what hitchhiking really was like.
If your brain has ever become an Idea Junkie…
You know it can only last so long… before you OD.
Of course, I had to take a hit of the antidote to this addiction…
I had to take action.
If you are feeling this way as you start at a big project ahead of you, my recommendation is to…
Climb the nearest mountain and fuck.
That is the bold and raunchy way to describe it anyways… but let me explain.
There were some small mountains near our trailer.
And my girlfriend and I had been talking about climbing them together for weeks.
But we always seemed too busy
So on that day, when my brain could take no more… we decided to grab our camera and start hiking.
Now… this isn’t the kind of mountain that is 15,000 feet high.
There is no snow on top and there aren’t any trees.
It is more like a big hill in the desert.
Scattered on the sides are thorny bushes and plenty of the cacti you would see in old Western movies.
There isn’t exactly a trail either.
But there are plenty of rocks.
The big boulders make a huge staircase to clamber up…
As if you were shrunk to 3 inches high and were forced to climb out of the steps at your parent’s house.
But as we sweat and climb…
I can feel myself gaining Strength.
My Fears are getting tired
And my Brain’s need for an Idea Fix had been burned up.
The sun quietly creeps towards the Western horizon.
The air is thickening with pastel colored light as if Monet had chosen the colors.
And as we crawled over the final boulder…
The Sea of Cortes stretches out in front of us like an endless purple pancake.
This is one of those moments… that I will remember forever.
The fading sunlight bathed my skin…
I had endorphins chugging thru my brain making me feel like a Hollywood star.
And it’s just me and my gorgeous co-star.
Watching 3 fishing boats go out to sea in zig-zags…
Looking like drunk teenagers stumbling and flirting with each other…
It was a moment where you know why you travel…
And you feel something bigger than yourself in that Monet air.
I gazed at the radiant little co-star that had accompanied me up this mountain…
And I could enjoy the bond we had built as we had adventured around the USA…
- Driving across the USA in a church bus,
- Wearing silly things at Burning Man,
- Looking for pants in San Francisco,
- Hiking in the Sawtooth Mountains,
- And even crossing the Mexican border on foot, despite all the rumors of gringo heads getting chopped off.
Looking at her, it was pretty clear what the most beautiful sight was.
And it was clear what we must do.
We were going to shoot the first scene of our documentary.
No script, no treatment, or storyboard.
We were just going to take action.
I set up the camera and we did what came natural.
You can guess where we naturally went from there…
And I’ll spare you the Sauce-y details.
But after that day, we had broken the addiction of my Idea Junkie Brain.
We had started our big project and it was time to get to work.
Are you staring nervously at a big project for 2013…
But not sure where to start?
Is there a mountain nearby you could climb?
Is there a radiant little co-star you could ‘collaborate’ with?
Is there something you could do today to take one step forward?
And how have you started big projects in the past?
We’d love to hear from you.
Your process doesn’t need to be anything like mine…
But I’d love to compile different ways Artistic Adventurers start big projects.
Thanks for taking a minute to share… it means a lot.