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My failures and what I learned from them.

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Mike L

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Nov 11, 2020
26
21
17
Hi all,

I figured I'd share some of my failures and pains that I've gone through with my ventures and what I learned from. Maybe there's some lessons that might be valuable to people.

So, as a kid I always dreamt of working with entertainment as an artist. Like for many, growing up was painful and having that dream kept me going and was a way for me to filter a lot of bad things in my life back then.

My first venture...
Eventually (being completely obsessed with my dream) I got my foot in to the industry. A few years in the industry my dreams evolved in to something bigger, to have my own business in the industry. The company I worked for eventually went bankrupt and I took the opportunity to start (initially I partnered up with someone else that eventually bailed).

I formed my company with the big vision to build a big studio. I had the big vision in creating an European version of Disney. Not necessarily in terms of animated family movies, but the business model. Create original IP's that could have a 360 model, inspire with movies, spin off to all sorts of products like toys, games, comic books etc.

I spent years trying to build this. Writing tons of original scripts, networking like crazy to team up with the right people to have more muscle for the vision. I could feel how people thought this was a ridiculous idea and that I should quit and get a job, I kept going.

Eventually I got close to get a concept short movie out that I hoped would kickstart things in to the right direction. I had made som great connections that I partnered up with for the production and also built a relationship with one of the biggest VFX / Animation studios in the country that got interested in seeing the project. After 2-3 years working on the concept I was getting close to a pitch meeting with
the Animation studio.

I had just 1-2 more scenes to film and my DoP (Director of Photography) quit the project and had a realization that he didn't' want to work in the industry anymore, and then days before my pitch meeting my animator's drive crashed with all the animated material done on it. And yes, he made no backups, nor did I (beside older material he sent previously). So perhaps 6 months of animation done was gone.

So it was time to step in to that pitch meeting I have been building up towards the last couple of years. I stepped in with missing scenes since I couldn't find any replacement DoP and didn't have the money to rent equipment, months old animation that was straight picked out from recorded Motion Capture, it was a mess.

As expected, the cost of finalizing this movie would be too expensive so naturally the VFX/Animation house couldn't accept a partnership.

Eventually that vision crashed and burned. And I ran out of steam to keep going with the same vision. I tried picking it up again, but I couldn't get the same momentum going.

Here's some mistakes I made.

1. I started this company not having a clue what I was getting myself in to. Had no clue how to run a business, how to properly take care of the relationships, how to find capital or how to organize etc.

2. My vision was entirely fueled by my own passion. I had enormous drive. I was obsessed and pretty much worked 24/7 (since I also had to freelance to keep myself floating) for years. But it was all based on what I was passionate about. Not the value it would bring to other people. I was naive to think that my passion and drive for art would be enough to build it.

3. The vision was way to big for me to carry by myself. Create entertainment based products (games, movies etc.) is extremely difficult and takes a huge amount of energy and people. (these days, the indie scene helps, still very difficult)

4. I did not invest in my own education (reading business, entrepreneurship etc.) back then. It was all about my "art" and how I could make a business out of it.

5. No backups for a big chunk of the work (Wtf right?)


Here are some of the things I learned from it

1. Don't let your own passion override the value for other people. This for me took a while to learn and accept unfortunately. Always start with whoever are going to use your products. What value do you bring to the table from their perspective? How do you help them with your services/products.

2. There's a reason why there's not another Disney, Warner Bros, Fox, DreamWorks starting. It's an enormous risk and takes a massive amount of capital to build. Start small. Start something that's within you reach. Then grow with that. The less capital needed the better.

3. Always keep educating yourself. These days I read a ton. And what I discovered was that the more I read, the more humble I become to the fact that there's a lot I don't know and still have to learn. And with this, don't be afraid to branch out. Artists (visual people) have a tendens to stay away from code and are very protective of their craft. For me, it's just a tool. A very powerful one. Also being an introvert like many others, dealing
with people might not always be easy. Then there's other areas as well that might not be that obvious, time management, discipline etc. Learn about the world!

4. I didn't fully understand the value of delegating or building systems. Or that in order to grow, I need to separate myself from being too attached to the product. I didn't understand the concept of systems. This ties in to what I mentioned about passion. I was so blinded by the need to be hands on with the products at all time. And I tried to build a business dependent on that. Comparing to Apple, I tried to be Jobs, Wozniak and Jony Ive at the same time doing it all from scratch.

5. just because your harddrive didn't crash today, doesn't mean it won't tomorrow. Always make backups!

Some of what I went through as my first venture. I've learned a lot since then. What I wished I had back then was a mentor or the hunger for knowledge I have today. But with that said, that naive attitude also lead me to really head in fearlessly and go after it. Good spirit, wrong vision/approach.

Don't know if this is useful to anyone. But I thought, I learn more from my failures (even though painful) than from my success and maybe there's something here that could help people not falling in to the same traps I did. This took me years with a lot of pain to learn and accept. Maybe with this it doesn't have to for someone else.

I'll try to share more later.
 

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harlansjobs

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Oct 31, 2018
55
59
114
Hi all,

I figured I'd share some of my failures and pains that I've gone through with my ventures and what I learned from. Maybe there's some lessons that might be valuable to people.

So, as a kid I always dreamt of working with entertainment as an artist. Like for many, growing up was painful and having that dream kept me going and was a way for me to filter a lot of bad things in my life back then.

My first venture...
Eventually (being completely obsessed with my dream) I got my foot in to the industry. A few years in the industry my dreams evolved in to something bigger, to have my own business in the industry. The company I worked for eventually went bankrupt and I took the opportunity to start (initially I partnered up with someone else that eventually bailed).

I formed my company with the big vision to build a big studio. I had the big vision in creating an European version of Disney. Not necessarily in terms of animated family movies, but the business model. Create original IP's that could have a 360 model, inspire with movies, spin off to all sorts of products like toys, games, comic books etc.

I spent years trying to build this. Writing tons of original scripts, networking like crazy to team up with the right people to have more muscle for the vision. I could feel how people thought this was a ridiculous idea and that I should quit and get a job, I kept going.

Eventually I got close to get a concept short movie out that I hoped would kickstart things in to the right direction. I had made som great connections that I partnered up with for the production and also built a relationship with one of the biggest VFX / Animation studios in the country that got interested in seeing the project. After 2-3 years working on the concept I was getting close to a pitch meeting with
the Animation studio.

I had just 1-2 more scenes to film and my DoP (Director of Photography) quit the project and had a realization that he didn't' want to work in the industry anymore, and then days before my pitch meeting my animator's drive crashed with all the animated material done on it. And yes, he made no backups, nor did I (beside older material he sent previously). So perhaps 6 months of animation done was gone.

So it was time to step in to that pitch meeting I have been building up towards the last couple of years. I stepped in with missing scenes since I couldn't find any replacement DoP and didn't have the money to rent equipment, months old animation that was straight picked out from recorded Motion Capture, it was a mess.

As expected, the cost of finalizing this movie would be too expensive so naturally the VFX/Animation house couldn't accept a partnership.

Eventually that vision crashed and burned. And I ran out of steam to keep going with the same vision. I tried picking it up again, but I couldn't get the same momentum going.

Here's some mistakes I made.

1. I started this company not having a clue what I was getting myself in to. Had no clue how to run a business, how to properly take care of the relationships, how to find capital or how to organize etc.

2. My vision was entirely fueled by my own passion. I had enormous drive. I was obsessed and pretty much worked 24/7 (since I also had to freelance to keep myself floating) for years. But it was all based on what I was passionate about. Not the value it would bring to other people. I was naive to think that my passion and drive for art would be enough to build it.

3. The vision was way to big for me to carry by myself. Create entertainment based products (games, movies etc.) is extremely difficult and takes a huge amount of energy and people. (these days, the indie scene helps, still very difficult)

4. I did not invest in my own education (reading business, entrepreneurship etc.) back then. It was all about my "art" and how I could make a business out of it.

5. No backups for a big chunk of the work (Wtf right?)


Here are some of the things I learned from it

1. Don't let your own passion override the value for other people. This for me took a while to learn and accept unfortunately. Always start with whoever are going to use your products. What value do you bring to the table from their perspective? How do you help them with your services/products.

2. There's a reason why there's not another Disney, Warner Bros, Fox, DreamWorks starting. It's an enormous risk and takes a massive amount of capital to build. Start small. Start something that's within you reach. Then grow with that. The less capital needed the better.

3. Always keep educating yourself. These days I read a ton. And what I discovered was that the more I read, the more humble I become to the fact that there's a lot I don't know and still have to learn. And with this, don't be afraid to branch out. Artists (visual people) have a tendens to stay away from code and are very protective of their craft. For me, it's just a tool. A very powerful one. Also being an introvert like many others, dealing
with people might not always be easy. Then there's other areas as well that might not be that obvious, time management, discipline etc. Learn about the world!

4. I didn't fully understand the value of delegating or building systems. Or that in order to grow, I need to separate myself from being too attached to the product. I didn't understand the concept of systems. This ties in to what I mentioned about passion. I was so blinded by the need to be hands on with the products at all time. And I tried to build a business dependent on that. Comparing to Apple, I tried to be Jobs, Wozniak and Jony Ive at the same time doing it all from scratch.

5. just because your harddrive didn't crash today, doesn't mean it won't tomorrow. Always make backups!

Some of what I went through as my first venture. I've learned a lot since then. What I wished I had back then was a mentor or the hunger for knowledge I have today. But with that said, that naive attitude also lead me to really head in fearlessly and go after it. Good spirit, wrong vision/approach.

Don't know if this is useful to anyone. But I thought, I learn more from my failures (even though painful) than from my success and maybe there's something here that could help people not falling in to the same traps I did. This took me years with a lot of pain to learn and accept. Maybe with this it doesn't have to for someone else.

I'll try to share more later.
Thank you for sharing this with us. It must have been quite painful to talk about.
 

pappaishere

New Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Feb 8, 2020
20
17
20
World
I love your company style... and your willingness to re-creating something like Disney.

Disney aura is powerful.

So you abandoned the project forever?
 

Mike L

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Nov 11, 2020
26
21
17
Thank you for sharing this with us. It must have been quite painful to talk about.
Back then it was, Today it's all good.. I learned massively from it looking back. That was almost 10 years ago, so I've had plenty of time to heal hehe :)
 

Mike L

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Nov 11, 2020
26
21
17
I love your company style... and your willingness to re-creating something like Disney.

Disney aura is powerful.

So you abandoned the project forever?
Well, you never know what the future holds.
 

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