When I was asked to head the documentary for the San Francisco Bay Area's hip-hop group, "The Experts" back in the early 2000's, I knew it would be the perfect chance to showcase something great. They were artists with real energy, a strong, loyal following and a passion for music. The timing was right to get the potential of this group into the hands of people who, whether they knew it or not, were about to become part of the rise of such a powerful musical force in a city where only a few artists such as E-40, Too Short and Rappin' 4-Tay had that type of local admiration (Green Day too, if you cross genres).
However, after principal shooting began, as with most DIY projects that quickly take off on a whim...things stopped. Over time it just fell by the wayside as everyday life took over and the project became something that was pushed towards the backburner. A common misfortune for most DIY ideas. (If you haven't already experienced this, then you've probably either been lucky or you haven't embarked on your own project yet.)
Just knowing the potential of something great and not even seeing it get off the ground can be the difference between greatness and obscurity and it'll happen if you let it - that's almost a guarantee. Whether big or small, things won't happen if you're not there to make it happen. One of the most difficult aspects of being part of a project is seeing it through from beginning to end.
Now, if it's a DIY project it'll be even more difficult because you're contributing so much of your own time, effort, money, etc. that it becomes way too easy to call it quits. But you can't allow yourself or your team to do that. It's the downfall of almost every DIY project. I know...I've seen my share of them.
If you don't care enough to keep pushing your project forward until it gets done, who will? Just keep at it and make sure that you do something everyday that'll help get the project done. You'll soon find out that this is what makes or breaks not only a DIY filmmaker, but people in general.
Quick Tips to Staying Motivated and Completing Your Project
1. Set a deadline
2. Get everyone involved with the project to tell as many people as they know about it. This way, they'll feel a bit more obligated to complete it.
3. Don't overwhelm yourselves. Once it starts to feel like work and you're not enjoying yourself anymore - back off! Even if it's a labour of love, you'll need a break from it sooner or later. Step back, relax, recharge and get yourself back into the groove of production.
4. Get other people involved. Their new excitement for the project could be just the boost your group needs to help stay motivated until the end.
5. Take turns motivating each other and keeping the possibilities, rewards, potential and finish line within reach.
6. Stay away from negative minds and negative people. Nothing good ever comes from them.