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A few weeks ago, Heath and I had to sit down to talk about our future. I mean our real future, not just him asking which state we will visit next week. (Since I created out route, he always gets excited when I tell him our next destination. This week: Niagara Falls).
We needed to create a plan for our documentary. Not for filming it, but for actually showing it to the world instead of tucking it away safely on our hard drive.
We didn’t plan on creating a documentary. In fact, when we started, I had no clue how to film! But we’ve invested hours, months, and our honeymoon into creating this documentary. It’s a huge part of our lives. Of course, we want it to be successful!
So, we wondered, what will a successful documentary look like?
Will 100 people like it? 1,000? 1,000,000?
If the only people who ever watch our documentary are the hourly workers in the film, I will call our film good. After all, we are putting hard-working, deserving people up on a big screen and sharing their stories. It warms my heart. When we leave jobs hugging new friends and exchanging emails to stay in touch, I know that our work will at least affect these chosen few.
But is that enough? Are we dreaming big enough?
For the first few months of our trip, the answer is no. We weren’t dreaming big enough. We filmed, made friends, made memories, and fell in love with adventure. We were so caught up in the whirlwind that we forgot to dream big for our project. We forgot to aim high.
Now, we’re getting serious about our documentary and learning how to make it a success.
“We can submit it to festivals,” Heath said to me during a discussion last month. “I don’t know anything about film festivals, but I imagine that’s what you do for documentaries. Or just put it on Netflix? What do you think?”
I knew my answer to Heath’s question, but even in my head, it felt foolish. I blushed just thinking about it. A dream conjured in my head, perhaps the biggest dream I’ve ever dreamed. I couldn’t shake it off. It is impossible. But what’s the point of dreaming if you’re not dreaming for impossible things?
My goal for our documentary is to win an Academy Award.
Yes, I said it (and I’m still blushing over admitting this secret to you). When I tried to imagine the highest honor for a documentary, I pictured the Oscars. Nothing looked more elegant, more prestigious.
Why not us?
Lack of experience, no one knows who we are, we have no connections–thoughts like this ran through my head.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about dreaming, it’s that I am my own worst enemy. No one will critique my dreams quite like I can. No one knows my silent fears and doubts and can attack them quite like I can. No one slams into me quite like my own subconscious telling me that I will never be great enough. No one can convince me not to hit publish quite like I can.
I hope you know what I mean, so I don’t sound like a masochistic, tortured writer with a trigger finger for the backspace key.
They say that most of our fears, our worries, our stresses, never actually happen. We waste that energy and emotion on possible negative outcomes. So we aim lower. We dream the dreams that are safe from fear, the dreams we know we can achieve without the taunt of fear.
The overwhelming odds of winning an Academy Award are against us, but it’s far better to work toward big dreams than get by dreaming small.