By Hammad Zaidi | December 11, 2012

As we barrel through the last 20 days of 2012, if, of course, the world doesn’t end on the 21st, today ignites part one of a two part series on, “Things To Do Before 2013.” These tactics are designed to focus and inspire your about the opportunities that lay ahead. So, let’s settle into this 135th edition of “Going Bionic,” by exploring the first five things to do this week.

Check Your E-mail Folders From This Week Last Year
Take some time to look at where you were this time last year. Search through your “archived inbox” and your “sent folder.” Examine whom you were emailing, and how far up the entertainment career ladder they are, or at least were at that time. Then, take a look at how long it took them to get back to you. Unless you took major steps backwards, you’ll probably find that these days you’re dealing with people higher up the film industry food chain. You’ll also find that the response time to your emails is far quicker than before.

However, if you find you’re not ahead of where you were one year ago, then it’s time to reexamine your approach. Find out at which point your correspondence and/or negotiations broke down with those you wanted to do business with, and try to find out why. Remember, the only constant in life is change, and if you’re not getting the career results you want, then it’s time for a change.

Create Your Hit List For 2013
This list should focus on the people your want to work with in the New Year. However, you need to refrain from listing people that you could a) never get to, or b) can get to, but don’t treat you, or your project, with respect. The list should be filled with people that you get a “good vibe” from. They should also be further along in their career, and they should have greater contacts than yours. While it’s always wonderful to hang with up-and-coming filmmaker friends who may be at the same stage you are, those friends are probably too worried with advancing their own careers, then helping you get a leg up.

Create Your S**t List For 2013
Make a list of people you feel are detrimental the forward progression of your career, and give them a “backseat” in the vehicle that is your career. Mind you, I said, give them a backseat – not throw them out of the car that is your life. There’s no reason to tell people off in person, send them vindictive voice mails, emails or texts. In fact, I deeply discourage such behavior, because a) there is no upside to burning bridges, b) their negative comments may be accurate. Filmmakers, who cut out everyone who gives them negative comments, usually find themselves alone, with few contacts, and saddled with the same unsold project 10 years later.

However, if the person you want to cut out is incredibly negative and you feel your creativity would flow better, without their energy crowding your space, then cut them out!

Wish “Happy Holidays” To Places Considering Your Project
But don’t ask them about the status of your project on the call, or in the email or text. Don’t worry, what they choose not to say will tell you all you need to know about their interest level. For example, if you wish him or her  “Happy Holidays,” but they don’t mention your project in their response, then they either a) haven’t reviewed it or b) don’t like it. On the other hand, if they like your project conceptually, whether it’s been reviewed it or not, they’ll probably mention it in their response. The last thing you want is for the “powers that be” to think you only wished them “Seasons Greetings” to get information on your project’s status. Trust me, this would be very bad for you.

Go At Least 48 Hours Without Thinking About Your Project
This may be the hardest of the five things to do this week, but spending time away from your film may be what you need to get some clarity about where you are with your film and your career. Once you allow yourself to get out of the stressed-filled war to get your film financed, produced and distributed, you’ll realize just how damn crazy the entire process is. Besides, decompressing and relaxing is more fun than worrying and agonizing, so you should cut loose for a bit this holiday season.

On that note, I’d like to thank you once again for lending me your eyes, and I look forward to borrowing them again next Tuesday. I can be followed on Twitter @Lonelyseal.

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