Jumpstarting Your Dreams

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” – Thomas Jefferson

Around this time of year, like most people, I tend to reflect upon how my life went during the past 12 months and where I think it’s going.

As I consider the changes I experienced this year, I’m really overwhelmed. You see, I’m writing this article from my hotel room in Hollywood, California. I’m here (far from my home in South Florida) for a slew of show business meetings. And this reminds me of how proud I was when I took a much earlier trip to Hollywood for just a handful of meetings. Those meetings were with my agent and an independent producer who had no credits to his name. But even that was a huge leap up from where I began – with no knowledge of how show business really works, no contacts of any sort, and no formal education in that field.

This trip is so different, it’s hard for me to believe it. I now have two produced film credits with known stars. And I’m about to meet with a “name” Hollywood producer to work on a television show that I have a contract to executive-produce along with his company. (This is a company that produces major broadcast network television programs and major theatrical release films.)

Now, this, alone, is an outstanding accomplishment … something for me to be proud of. But, amazingly, it’s only the beginning.

This week, I am also scheduled to sign a contract on another feature film that I wrote, meet with another major production company on a script that I’m developing with them, and attend three pitch meetings with three other well-established producers who are interested in developing a new idea that I’ve created for a television program.

I’m not sharing all this with you to try and impress you or to boost my own ego. I’m telling you this to prove to you that anyone with a dream … even a dream that might seem impossible … can make that dream come true.

Of course, amazing dreams don’t just “happen” to come true. If you want to change the course of your life in 2007, here’s how you get started:

1. Make a bold decision to make your dream a reality.

You can’t just say to yourself, “Well, I’ll give it a go – and if it works out, that will be awesome.” A half-hearted pursuit of your dream won’t work. You have got to be 100 percent committed to it – so committed that nothing will make you waver from your goal.

Listen, not that many years back, nobody thought I could become successful in show business. Even, my good friend Michael Masterson, who surely is a big thinker, had his doubts.

Still, he respected my determination, and I believe he thought it was possible. That’s about the best you can expect from the folks around you. The most positive of them will think there’s a chance you will succeed, although the odds are against you. And the rest of them will be sure you’re going to fail.

If you want to accomplish big dreams, you have got to believe with every fiber of your being that this dream of yours is your destiny. There is no question of “if” – only “when.”

2. Create a strategy.

Believing that your dream will happen isn’t enough. You’ve got to have an intelligent, well-thought-out, realistic plan. In my case, I got started by studying screenwriting books, hooking up with mentors, and traveling to screenwriting seminars in Los Angeles as often as I could afford it. In addition, I began a program of querying a minimum number of producers each week. (I realized that if I did one query a day, five days a week, at the end of one year I’d have queried 260 producers. And with that many queries, how could I not attract a potential producer?)

Naturally, your strategy will be made up of specific tasks that are tailored to your specific goal. But establishing and implementing those tasks – especially the ones you can quantify – will help you measure your efforts.

3. Implement the strategy.

For a lot of people, this is the hardest part. It’s not only the work, but the fear of failing that keeps them from taking action.

I can tell you firsthand that there’s a good chance you’ll suffer some disappointments along the way. I’ve been told “no” by so many producers that I lost track a long time ago. I endured the smirks from those who didn’t have generous hearts and took pleasure in my setbacks. And even the well-meaning people who said, “Well, at least you gave it a try,” hurt.

But I continued to press forward. I had to learn a lot. I had to work on my screenwriting craftsmanship because, although I had some natural talent, it turned out that my first screenplays weren’t close to a professional level.

Like me, you will likely have to work very hard and repeatedly risk getting your feelings hurt. But if you want to make your dreams a reality, you have no choice.

Life is short. If you aren’t yet living your dreams, I strongly urge you to stop letting time pass you by. Follow my three-part formula, and make 2007 the year you’re finally on your way to success.

[Ed. Note: Paul Lawrence truly is living his dreams. He is a produced screenwriter who has written a multimillion-dollar film. He’s signed a development deal with one of the entertainment industry’s largest producers to executive-produce a television show, has sold another feature film script slated for a 2007 theatrical release, and is the president of a successful direct-mail company.

Learn about Paul’s “Dare to Live Your Dreams” program on his website .]