Who would leave a successful business as it was exploding with success and travel half way around the world to try something they have never tried before in one of the most competitive industries in the world?

​Is it crazy? When I tell people their faces tell me it is crazy!

Alan Donegan and Wonder Woman in LA

Alan and Katie in LA in 2016 with their friend Char! Wonder woman peering into the middle distance behind us!
I am going to Los Angeles in March and April this year.  I am off to Hollywood to write a movie and work to sell the script to the studios afterwards.

Taking action on dreams

Ever since I grew up watching The A-Team, Baywatch, Transformers, and the movies of the ’80s and ’90s, I have been inspired by them.  Their power to give people energy, transmit messages of hope and deliver powerful messages.  

About 3 years ago, my wife gave me a course for my birthday called “How to write a movie in a month”.  I devoured the course, and much like everyone else that reads a course like that, I did a few of the exercises and didn’t follow through.

I just never found the month to write the script!

So this is it.  Katie and I have booked our flights and we are off to Los Angeles and Hollywood, and I am going to write a movie.  We have 7 weeks in California and I am going to leave with a script (or two) and have some fun along the way!

Why Los Angeles? It is the home of the movies, the studios operate there, the people and the energy that is there are phenomenal.  Katie and I lived there for 5 weeks in 2014 and loved it and we want to go back for more.  

Where else would you go to write a movie?

Alan Donegan holding an Oscar in Los Angeles in 2016

Alan holding an Oscar in 2016. He didn’t win it, he just held someone else’s!

I also know that if I stay in the UK there is a high percentage chance I will get sucked back into running Rebel Business School.  If I am halfway across the globe with an 8-hour time difference, it is going to be difficult to meddle! 

So that it is it.  I have committed.  I am committing here to you, I have paid money for the flights, and I have told everyone on Facebook.  I am as committed as it gets.

What are you going to write?

From first reading the “Movie in a month” course I have developed 2 ideas.  One is better than the other.  I have lots of ideas in general but 2 that have got me going.

The first is a superhero movie, obviously!  Would you have expected anything else?

The second is a romantic comedy.  I have a pretty decent outline for this and I am excited to actually turn it into a script.  Don’t tell anyone but at heart I am a softy and I love romantic comedies like Love Actually and About Time.

​My plan is to write both scripts in my time there but if I can get one finished then I will be happy!

How do you know if it is going to be any good?

I have no idea if I am going to be any good at this.  I don’t even know if I am going to like the process you have to go through to write a script.  I have no idea!  What’s the only way to know?  How do you know if you are going to enjoy something or not? I am going to give it a go and see what happens. 

At the very worst, I travel back to England having given my dreams a shot and finding out they weren’t for me.  At the best, I write a script that gets sold and my dream comes true!  What have I got to lose?

What are the risks?

The way I have committed to doing this, there are some financial risks to what I am doing.  My lovely wife bought me a course that cost about $100 and we are paying for flights to LA and back, as well as accommodation.  Living in LA is not cheap but I felt like it would give me the best chance of success in my project by inspiring me and putting me next to the people that I can work with. 

The accommodation is costing around £4,500, the flights £1000.  We would be buying food and stuff whereever we stay so I am not adding this in here.  So my total risk is about £6,000 to make my dream come true.

And it didn’t even have to be that. I could have done it for nothing but the cost of the course if I had found the time and stayed at home writing on my laptop.  I could have done it for free but this is far more exciting!

The second risk comes primarily from the fact that I might be rubbish!  I might write a script that no one likes.  I show it to potential agents, studios and more, and find out that no one likes it all.  My feelings are hurt, I get a lot of rejection and I go back to England with my tail between my legs having had an amazing time working to make my dream come true.

For this risk I think the worst that happens is that I fail and get an amazing story to tell people about when I went to LA to become a screen writer!

Where are we staying?

We have rented ourselves a tiny Airbnb next to Santa Monica Pier, right on the beach.  For an Englishman from Basingstoke this is quite a contrast from his normal slightly grey and rainy existence. 

Picture

Santa Monica Pier
I am so excited to be able to walk up and down the beach dreaming up script ideas and the  sitting in the cafes writing by the ocean. It is yet to be seen if this environment is going to focus me or distract me but I am so excited about it!

What will I be measuring?

One of the keys to success is measuring what you are doing so you know if you are moving in the right direction or not.   What gets measured gets improved!

So for this trip I am going to be measuring different things and reporting them back to you.  I am going to write a blog article once a week about my progress, challenges I have faced, and opportunities that have come up.  This is going to keep me accountable.

Please will you help keep me accountable?  If I am not performing, give me internet abuse?  If I am making progress then give me internet praise?  Can you help me stay accountable please?

So what I am actually going to measure?

  • Words written – A movie script is somewhere between 7,500 and 20,000 words in length depending on how much action and how much dialogue.  So I am going to be measuring how many words I write each week and will update you on that.
  • Meetings – one of the things I want to do whilst I am in town is to meet people in the industry; writers who can share tips, agents who can give advice, anyone in the industry that knows more than I do (not hard) and that can give me ideas.  I am starting from scratch so this one is going to be interesting!
  • Scripts read – I am not sure about this one as there is something amazing about the beginner’s mind that hasn’t been polluted by what is already there, but I know if I am going to write a successful script there are amazing things I can model from other scripts.  I think I am going to read at least read one script a fortnight to learn from those who have gone before me.  I have downloaded the script for Thor: Ragnarok as my first inspiration. 
  • Script pages developed – your average script is somewhere between 85-125+ pages long.  This is actually used to judge the script more than the word count and it also helps me to understand how I am getting along.  Apparently there is a measurement tool in Final Draft, which is a screenwriting piece of software, that measures all of this as you type.  I am going to be getting this piece of software so will report back to you once I have got it and what it can tell us!

The key metrics for me will be words written and pages developed, and that is what I will report to you on a weekly basis so that we can see if I am making progress or not!  

Come along for the journey

So this is it!  I am off to Hollywood to try and make my dreams come true, as so many have done before me!  What makes me different from those that have gone before?

I am probably not quite as good looking as most of the people that have gone to Hollywood before me and slightly less talented!  I am just going to go and have a go.

This is going to be an adventure

I have no idea if I can do this or not.  I have no idea if I am going to be any good as a writer or not!  All I really know is that if I don’t give it a go then I am going to regret it, so I am stepping outside my comfort zone of helping people start businesses and I am off to make my own dream come true for 7 weeks. 

I hope you join me on this journey and us it as inspiration to work on your own dreams, your own company, and your own ideas at the same time.  If you want to be held accountable then put what you are working on in the comments below and I will follow up and ask you how you are getting on after I get back from LA!

​No regrets: let’s make it happen. 

Thanks for reading and YOU ROCK!

​Alan

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