By Scott Rieckhoff
Friday, April 28, 2017

Are you excited? I am. My favorite unofficial holiday is only one week away - the start of the summer movie season. With it comes the promise of 3-months worth of action, laughs and entertainment as Hollywood brings out their big guns during the most lucrative time of...

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Photo by Peter Varga

I love film festivals. Love them. There is no experience like a gaggle of creatives, who have put their energy into a project and simply want people to see it. Despite the few egos that exist in the room, the atmosphere pulsates with pure energy. These people are...


Letting Go of a Project: Seven Ways to Move Past The Disappointment

If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, there are a million articles about how to be better and how your ultimate success is around the next corner. If you just wake up an hour earlier, meditate 30 minutes a day, and consume vast quantities of coconut oil, all of your dreams will come true....

A Writer’s Rules

Frustrated man with palm against head
Photo by  Andrew McCluskey
Writer’s block is the absolute worst! How do you even begin to think about getting paid if you are missing the one thing that could make that payday a reality? Writers face...

8 Professional Lessons I Learned While Running

8 Things Running - Large
When I made the move to Southern California, I didn’t start out with any friends or family in the business. I had to learn a lot on my own and there is still so much more I am working to learn....

Desolation by David Moscow

By Nikki Daniel If you don’t recognize him as the kid in Big, then you probably know him from Newsies. Really though, you could know him from any one of a very long list of movies and shows, as David Moscow’s acting credits are quite substantial (you can check out his IMDb...

5 Steps Focused Productive Day
Photo Credit: dltcy


How many times have you started the day with good intentions, only to realize at the end you are far from where you wanted to be? You might be a writer attempting to put your idea on paper. You could be a filmmaker working on hiring the necessary crew. You might be the professional that has a big project coming due. Derailed days have happened to me more than I care to admit to all you fine folks.

If you are like a lot of creatives I know, you have spent days waiting for the moment of inspiration to come. Always looking for it on the other side of the next invented task that is distracting you from your important work. Note: rearranging your desk is an invented task and so is organizing your red stapler collection. This is a common struggle for most individuals, not just a creative person. You sit there attempting to figure out how you can complete the projects that you’ve decided are worthy of your time without making any true progress. Frustrating.

Let me ask a second question. How do you start your day? Everybody seems to have his or her own unique answer. For the sake of simplicity, the answer boils down to one of four approaches. You either ease into your day, follow a routine, jump into hyper productivity mode, or you’re the chronic morning procrastinator.

Most of my life I’ve been the chronic morning procrastinator. Le sigh. Late to get up after hitting snooze 5 or 6 times. Even once I got up, I was a bona fide zombie until I had my morning coffee. When I eventually snapped awake, it was only to realize I needed to rush through getting ready and heading to work. I always found mornings to be chaotic and unproductive, which ended up impacting the rest of my day. It was a stressful vicious routine with no end in sight.

One morning I was talking with a friend who runs a successful business with over 50 employees. He casually mentioned that he puts all of his clothes out the night before. He went on to explain the benefits. It streamlines his morning. He always knows what to wear. It frees up additional time and eliminates that feeling of rushing. All of these have a direct impact on his stress levels and how he approaches his work through the rest of the day. I was intrigued.

I’ve heard the saying “Tomorrow is a new day!”. While that technically is true, I was dismissing the connection between yesterday and today. The American Pyschological Association notes that sleep is necessary for a person’s health and brain function. Think about how a night of poor sleep – or a night of drinking – impacts your focus and productivity the following day. It is not pretty.

I started thinking about these things and what I could do differently that would have a positive impact on my morning. I finally decided that I needed to make a few changes and so I did.

Going back to the question about starting your day. My answer now is that I start my day the night before and so should you.

When you realize that today IS connected to yesterday. It makes you think differently about your week, month and year. Changing a few habits begins to create incremental successes in anything you choose. There is power in incremental successes because they add up to larger successes.

Mornings are typically the best time of day to nurture your creativity. Your mind is sharpest and you are free from distractions.

I have a simple 5-step method you can employ that will have a huge impact on your day. All you need to do is set-up nighttime routine that creates momentum for the morning. It is actually simple to do.

  1. Create A Plan (15 – 30 minutes) – You may want to do this at the end of your workday or right before you go to bed. This is your road map and it avoids getting you caught up in short-term focused distractions. This also eliminates the morning anxiety about jumping into your task list.
  2. Electronics (1 hr before bed) – Turn these off if you want to good nights rest. There are numerous studies that point to the negative effects of technology on sleep and brain patterns. Put the devices away and set yourself up for a restful sleep.
  3. Routine (30 minutes) – Create a bedtime routine. This should be your flossing, brushing, face washing, etc. Having a routine prepares your mind for relaxing and ultimately sleeping. Take the time to set out your clothes. Pack your work/workout bag and put it near the door. Remember to place your phone, wallet and keys in a spot where you can find them. A routine helps you remember to do everything you need to do.
  4. Read (30 Minutes) – I suggest something entertaining and light. I find biographies are an excellent way to end the day. You might also pick something fictional or fantastical. Whichever you decide, make sure it is unrelated to work or engaging your active mind.
  5. Sleep – You should go to sleep as soon as you feel tired, which means you may only read for 15 minutes. Before you know it you’ll be off to sleep and rested for the morning.

You’ve heard Einsten say that the world exists as a result of our thinking. Changing the world involves changing how we think about and approach life. Let’s change our thinking and create a positive foundation for tomorrow. It helps us be more relaxed and focused. It also eliminates the morning rush, the late start and in the moment distractions that keep us from the important work we have set out to accomplish: telling excellent stories.

What adjustments do you need to make to your nightly routine? Leave it as a comment below and inspire others to make changes.

Week 29: Inspirational Quote

Week 29 IQ Photo

Photo courtesy of Meena Kadri

"Action is the foundational key to all success"
- Pablo Picasso


We all know the name Pablo Picasso. He is the famous Spanish painter known for creating Cubism. He...


Week 28 IQ Picture
Photo by Wayne Grazio

“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.”
– Nikos Kazantzakis

*|FNAME|*! Powerful insight! An interesting idea for us to wrap our brains around. Daily we send ourselves constructive or destructive messages that are getting through to our subconscious.

In a study conducted by Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina, she concluded that people who were more positive opened themselves up to new possibilities, which created positive results throughout their lives.

I can attest to that! I have spent parts of my life perpetuating negative thoughts about my worth and what I can and cannot achieve. I’d tell myself, ”You can’t do that!”, “You’ll fail!” or “What is the point?” The wildest part about those thoughts is they were true, because I told myself they were true. I finally woke up to the realization that I was holding myself back (always my own worst enemy, right!) and I needed to adjust my seemingly automatic behavior.

I did just that! I adopted a morning routine that includes a daily affirmation. I admit that I have yet to experience an instantaneous shift, but I’ve noticed small daily changes, which I count as a success. The self-deprecating thoughts still enter my mind, but I can catch them quicker before they take root. Another added benefit, less resistance to tasks that previously overwhelmed me. This is simply because I view them with a positive outlook, which makes them manageable.

There is truth to the idea that our thoughts create and sculpt the person we are. Changes usually begins in small unnoticeable ways that add up to a significant shift. Carefully watch your thoughts, they determine your destiny. Now when I want to succeed at anything, I set my mind right to take the first step.

What inspirational thoughts do you want to tell yourself today? If you feel like sharing, scroll down and leave it as a comment.

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Week 15: Inspirational Quote

"Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that's easy. What's hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple awesomely simple, that's creativity."

- Charles Mingus Thank you Charles. It's always a brilliant reminder to keep things simple. In the world of the internet there...

Molly McIntyre’s 7 Rules for Actors

Photo Courtesy of Yoppy

“A life spent working towards something you love is a life worth living” - Molly McIntyre

Molly moved to Los Angeles from Dallas, TX just about a year ago. She has a strategy and a set of rules that is helping her get the traction she wants in the...

Week 12: Inspirational Quote

"I’ve learned from experience that if you work harder at it, and apply more energy and time to it, and more consistency, you get a better result. It comes from the work." -Louis C. K.

  I read this week's quote and it resonated so strongly with me. Think about...

“Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.”
– Miguel Angel Ruiz

If I can give you one piece of advice it would be to avoid the flu! I caught it and it was nasty. I’ve been out of commission the last few weeks. I was getting so discouraged and frustrated because it was taking forever to start feeling better. I can remember one specific moment where I hit a low point. I woke up exhausted after a full night’s sleep, my body ached, I was congested and had absolutely no appetite. I just knew that something needed to change or I would never get better. 

I took a quick inventory of my habits and I discovered that I was placing pressure on myself to keep up my level of output. The stress I was putting on myself was making everything worse. The more I thought about it, if I felt that bad after a full night sleep, I needed to make a change and double down on getting better. 

I immediately started focusing on rest and recuperating. I started napping, which helped me feel better. I doubled my soup and water intake. It still took me over another week to start feeling better. Can you imagine how long it would have taken had I not started resting more?

This was an important lesson for me to learn. Making consistent progress should always be a priority, however, never at the expense of my health. The level of output and quality of work will change related to my health. I should be happy doing my best, but understanding that my best ultimately depends on my health.

I’d love to hear from you. Let me know how you handle being sick scroll down and leave it as a comment. Want these delivered directly to your inbox? Subscribe to our mailing list.

Week 7: Inspirational Quote

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"Giving up is conceding that things will never get better, and that is just not true. Ups and downs are a constant in life, and I've been belted into that roller coaster...


Week 6: Inspirational Quote

"Life is not a solo act. It's a huge collaboration, and we all need to assemble around us the people who care about us and support us in times of strife." - Steven Spielberg I think the majority of the population is prepared - or preparing if you've procrastinated - for the big game. These two strong...

Week 5: Inspirational Quote

Week 5 Inspirational Quote

“A calm sea does not make a skilled sailor.”
– Unknown

I saw this quote and I immediately connected with it! I can remember many moments during my long journey – working in theatres and on marketing programs – the myriad of issues that I encountered. It could be something as simple as the numbers not balancing at the end of the day – which was 2 AM – to the drunk guy smashing the light fixtures in the bathroom and claiming he didn’t do it despite the blood dripping from his hand (true story). There was also that time the marketing program I’d been working on for a couple weeks fell apart or the project that I couldn’t confirm with a client because a colleague didn’t communicate the appropriate information. All of these issues were annoying at minimum.

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, which is why my frustrations over the past are virtually non-existent. You can’t change the experience and it’s helped shape who you are today. Each of these challenging moments tempers us bit-by-bit. They make you better prepared to deal with the challenges that you’ll encounter in the future. Experience builds on experience and in the end you’ll make better decisions.

Remember this next time you get writers block, your deal falls through, your marketing program is cancelled or you encounter a plethora of on-set issues that these all have a purpose. They are there to make you a better filmmaker, actor or creative professional. Once you see it this way, you’ll be better equipped to accept and work through the challenge in front of you. One day you’ll look back and see that all those bumps along the way shaped the person you see in the mirror today.

I’d love to hear from you. Reply to this email and let me know what challenges you’ve recently conquered. If you feel like sharing, leave it as a comment.

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Week 4: Inspirational Quote

Photo of a pyramid Photo by Dennis Jarvis
"Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible." - Cherie...

Week 3: Inspirational Quote

Stockholm Public Library
Photo by Samantha Marx
"I don't have incredible knowledge about films or of filmmaking history; I'm not that kind of person." - Ang Lee I find myself inspired by this quote for so many reasons. A couple which include his authenticity, his passion, his...

Video On-Demand The New Business Model?

The Interview VOD Blog Photo

Photo by Paul Townsend
Box Office Drops 5% in 2014… Box Office Attendance lowest in 19 Years… Now that 2014 has officially come to a close the headlines predicting the doom of the theatrical experience are rolling across the ticker. There...

Top 5 Podcasts of 2014

Girl walking through a crowd with headphones Photo by Cheo70   As 2014 comes to a close, literally tomorrow! You will be celebrating the approaching New Year with family, friends or co-workers! We sure are excited, too! We know 2015 has amazing things in store for you! Before we look ahead...

10 Hollywood Rules


Hollywood Rules

Rules. Your parents had them. Your teachers had them. Your boss has them. Pay before you buy something, don't drive too fast, eat this and avoid that. Rules run our world. They usually exist to bring order to what would otherwise be chaos, which is for...

Your Hollywood Pro Weekly 12-14-14

December 14, 2014

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat." - F. Scott Fitzgerald I love this quote because it reminds me that when the situation looks to be bad it is not the end of the world (...unless of course the world is ending!) You may have been passed over for the job you...


Social network in a course   Business, by its very nature, is founded on working with others. That's why it's important to know who you're working with. It’s no different in Hollywood! It may not be the easiest thing to do, but building strong relationships with both clients...

Filmmaker Wishlist 2014



The holidays are here! Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have all come and gone. Now we face the inevitable countdown to THE day. The pressure is on to make sure you've bought for everyone on your holiday list. We couldn't help ourselves from...

The 5 Minute Rule

5 Minute Rule Photo by Kyle Hale "It's Monday!" or “I’m too busy to work on that right now.” I’ve told myself this a million and one times regarding projects big and small…usually the big ones. Just like me, I would imagine you identify with this...

Keep The Dream Alive

JDW Publicity Shot Hey there. Thank you for checking back on the blog. I'm still on vacation, but we've got a great guest blog from JD Waldvogel. JD Waldvogel is a young storyteller and filmmaker originally from Rockford, Michigan. Bringing some midwestern charm out to LA, JD...

The Morning Routine (Part 2)

Tired Man Sitting on Bed Photo Courtesy of Mic445 Welcome back to Morning Routine Part 2. Yesterday I shared with you my early morning habits that are great for fostering creativity or sifting through research. While all of my mornings do not fit into these two templates,...

5 Tips To Better Hollywood Networking

Hello. Thank you for stopping by for a quick visit. I wanted to let you know that I am still on vacation, but I will be back soon. In the meantime, Ken Davenport has given us some insight into his networking tips. Ken is a highly-intelligent man and writes a blog! If you want...

Fear Is The Mind-Killer

Photo courtesy of @thornybleeder
Bravo if this sounds familiar to you. You should count yourself lucky to be among the ranks of sci-fi nerds who get this reference. If you are not familiar with this phrase, fear not, because fear is the mind-killer. The saying is an...