• Category Archives Filmmakers
  • Who is your mentor?

    October 21, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    Who helps you keep focus on your goals, dreams and aspirations? I hope you actually have a person who helps you in these areas because that focus is so vital to your success and the ability to maintain this focus can falter over time – sometimes in such small increments you don’t even notice until you have done some damage to your momentum.

    Now you can recover from this loss of focus but it is so much better to simply have someone help you maintain your focus. The person you choose to help needs to be someone who you trust to be honest with you and won’t just let you slide because you have a good excuse for losing your focus. For some of us the choice of a parent to fill this role is good except that we tend to argue with our parents and consider them too controlling. So maybe that person you choose needs to be someone who you have a trusting relationship with and is someone you respect. Maybe that person could be a mentor?

    Have you ever thought about developing a relationship with a mentor, someone who you respect and is successful in ways that you would like to emulate? I can’t seriously think of a better way to help ensure your own success than to have a good mentor. I know that living in the Black Hills can have an impact on this as there are fewer people in our choice of professions to serve in this capacity, but that should never be a reason to not have a mentor. Maybe you can look beyond the obvious and as an aspiring producer you could choose a person who is a successful business person. Maybe as an aspiring screen actor you can choose from one of the many great stage actors we have in the area. There are many options available, and for me the only one you should stay clear of is not having a mentor.

    Let me know how I can help you find a mentor for you. Contact me at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or email me at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Please remember to share this post. Thank you.


  • Getting your rest IS important

    October 20, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    Here it is Monday evening and I am very tired and amazingly I find it harder to sit here and write coherently while I’m this tired than it is for me to muscle ahead and drag trees down a hill after clearing them from last year’s blizzard or loading equipment on and off a grip truck after an 18 hour day. I’m trying to write a blog post – come on – is it really this hard?

    Unfortunately it really is that hard to concentrate on being creative and reach deep for the words to tell a story (fiction or otherwise) to your target audience. It’s the same reason that an actor who is not well rested can fail miserably on-stage, or a DP can miss ‘the’ shot or even not light properly in setting a shot when they are that tired. In the professions that most of us are dreaming about succeeding in, being tired can be crushing to our chances of success. So while I am not willing to take a nap before allowing my fingers to hunt and peck on this keyboard tonight, if I was advising you right now on achieving the dream you aspire to I would definitely tell you that you need to be getting proper rest before continuing on your efforts.

    Is rest really that important? Yes it is. It helps you maintain the optimum level of creativity and accurate thought process as you delve into your creative endeavors. Listen, I’ve stepped out on stage for Improv rehearsal and performances after spending at least 12 hours on location or on set for production and I can honestly say that my efforts suffered and my creativity was greatly affected – and creativity is the lifeblood of Improv. So listen as you get ready to take the opportunity for an audition, or a performance, or you’re getting ready to produce a project be sure and plan ample time to get the rest you need to be on top of your creativity and skills. Trust me you won’t regret it.

    If you have any questions contact me at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or email me at sitch.jack@gmail.com – after my nap :-). Then please remember to share this post. Thank you.


  • How to identify the ‘right’ choice …for you

    October 16, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    One of the easiest things for me, and for other people who care about you, to do is tell you what is right – for you. Let’s be honest, everyone has an opinion and we all want what is best for you so we show our caring by telling you what is right for you. Now the question you should keep asking yourself is “…but is this right for me?”

    That is the ultimate question that only you can answer. Now I’m not trying to cut my own throat as a person who works with and trains screen actors and producers and help them identify what they should consider as their dreams. I just have to be upfront with you and reinforce the truth that you are the only one who will know if something is right for you. So how do you know? How do you identify the ‘right’ choice for you?

    I would say it’s what you have a passion about – that one thing that makes you happy and feel fulfilled in your life. So that’s what I will tell you – however you still have so much more to consider in your decision. Let’s say that your passion is to move to Hollywood and become a screen actor – a cool dream and aspiration. But let’s also say you have a young family, or maybe you’re a single parent – with those facts in mind would this choice be right for you? Let’s say you aspire to be a film producer and have earned your four-year degree at a decent college – but you are afraid of moving to New Mexico or Atlanta, maybe even New Orleans by yourself and you can’t get noticed producing in South Dakota. So is this the right choice for you? I know that there’s a lot more that goes into these types if decisions and if achieving your dreams was easy we would all have done that by now. It still comes down to you, as you are the only person who can know what is right for you.

    Contact me at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or email me at sitch.jack@gmail.com with any questions you might have. Then please remember to share this post. Thank you.


  • Making the right choice

    October 14, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    As we go through the steps of pursuing dreams and goals there will always be times when I need to talk about the hard choice opportunities. What I mean is that there are times that we find ourselves with an opportunity that fits almost every aspects of achieving our dreams, or fitting our plans in pursuit of our dreams and either extending the depth of some skills or knowledge we have or introducing us to a whole new experience – but – and there’s almost always a but the pay makes you hesitate.

    That’s happens and it means you need to evaluate and weigh the value and benefits of the experience and chance against the low pay and long hours. So, it is a hard choice opportunity. For some of us the philosophy is no matter what the pay, the experience and opportunity is definitely worth saying ‘yes’. However, if you’re either the sole provider for your family or part of a team that doesn’t have much room to take a low paying gig this can be a tough choice. I ran across that situation last week. An opportunity came along to work location audio on an ultra low-budget SAG movie. This type of production pays very low wages for everyone on the cast and crew, but the experience can be valuable and the credits for this type of production benefit your resume or CV. It means working for a wage that can almost be considered a loss – so what should I do?

    I stepped up and worked the short gig – and I’m glad I did. I connected with a dynamic writer-producer-director, a few incredible actors (one of whom was playing his first lead role in a SAG production) and having the chance to build my own personal value. I’m grateful I took this opportunity and I sincerely hope that when each of you come across an opportunity to make the tough choice – choose wisely. Ask yourself if this type of opportunity may ever happen again? What if you say no – is that the best way to grow your value?

    If you have questions please contact me at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or email me at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Then please remember to share this post. Thank you.


  • Supporting ourselves while acting or producing

    October 10, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    While Friday is a great day to be happy (it is the last traditional work day of the week) it can also be a day that brings introspection to our lives. For those of us in the creative fields that introspection comes from the fact that we work in jobs that are not related to our creative dreams but in fact are jobs that support us while we continue to delve into our creative dreams. It’s not fun to have to work these jobs but it’s great that we have the chance to support our dreams with some type of income.

    Now I’ve never worked in the casinos in Deadwood and put up with the players who I am sure can be annoying, and I’ve never supported myself by producing wedding videos (although I have done other event videos) and I haven’t spent time as wait staff or hosted in a restaurant – but I do understand working jobs to support my dreams. For some of us, we face this introspection with the belief that we will only do this until we move to a larger market and can make a living in our chosen field. Doesn’t that sound good? What we may not take into consideration is that many of us will travel to larger markets like LA and Hollywood only to find ourselves working in non-related jobs so we can support the pursuit of our dreams – same situation but in a different location. It’s that ‘grass is always greener’ phenomenon.

    One good way to get beyond the ‘working other jobs to support our dreams’ is to build our knowledge base at the business of acting and producing. What I mean is gaining the knowledge and skills to actually support ourselves doing the work we love. It’s basic business education that has been targeted to surviving as an actor or producer. It’s the knowledge of how to target your income and energies into areas that support your work choices and not wasting monies and efforts in areas that don’t help your success.

    If this type of training makes sense to you then contact me at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or email me at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Then please remember to share this post. Thank you.


  • How much work are you doing being creative?

    October 9, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    I read an interesting observation today – it stated that 23% of creative professionals spend less than two hours per day doing creative work. That was a surprising figure to me and it got me thinking about the issue – after all most of us have heard the experts say that to become an expert at any activity we need to spend ten thousand hours doing that activity. Now I’m not a math major but if a person is spending only two hours per day doing creative work than it would take that person five thousand days to become an expert – that basically equals thirteen and three-quarters years. Almost the same amount of time it took me to graduate college – just kidding – really.

    With all this in mind I took a long look at my creative activities each day. On the average work day I will spend probably two hours on my camera, three hours editing and maybe another 90 minutes writing this blog. I also spend another five hours per week practicing or performing Improv. So I spend about 37.5 hours of creative work during my work week. Now a more in-depth observation would see that a pretty good portion of that shooting and editing work is almost more repetitive as opposed to creative – so maybe I would be more accurate saying that it’s closer to let’s say 25 hours of creative work. That makes me feel good. Now if I took that same look at when I am producing a commercial or long form video or film, or even teaching class to producers and actors I would find even less time of creative activity since a lot of effort goes in to the mundane paper work, tracking monies, meetings, finding the resources needed and guiding others in their roles in the process. And if you work in an ad agency or marketing firm then you would have to include the agency centered meetings and other day-to-day non-creative activities. I guess I can start to see how they arrive at these minimal hours actually being creative.

    So how much time are you spending being creative? Contact me at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or by email at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Please remember to share this post. Thank you.


  • Learn to trust yourself and others

    October 8, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    Working with others as they are in the midst of planning their journey towards achieving their dreams or maybe while they’re already on the journey helps to give me a somewhat unique perspective into the process. And this perspective is seriously much more in-depth than when I am looking only at my own journey. It’s been while I’m in this position that I see how important ‘trust’ is when you’re taking this journey – and it’s not just having ‘trust’ in others that‘s important – you also need to have ‘trust’ in you.

    That’s where I want to begin today’s thoughts – ‘trusting’ you to make this journey – it kind of goes along with the thought that you shouldn’t even start the journey if you can’t guarantee the outcome. The thought of not even starting the process for lack of a guarantee is the number one ‘trust’ issue a person encounters. Let’s be honest, there is no guarantee that you will achieve your dreams but there IS a guarantee that you won’t if you don’t try. So before taking the first step, or at least starting now if you have already begun the journey, make the conscious effort to ‘trust’ you. ‘Trust’ that you are going to follow through on your plans. ‘Trust’ that you will give it your best effort. ‘Trust’ that you can do this. Bottom line – you have to ‘trust’ you.

    It is only after you learn to ‘trust’ you that you will be able to ‘trust’ those who you are working with to achieve your dream. Honestly, if you have no ‘trust’ in you there is no way you can ‘trust’ me to help you. After all the only way I can help you achieve your dreams is to work with you the person you might not ‘trust’. So whether you are choosing to work with me or any other number of great teachers, trainers and mentors, the only way that you can ‘trust’ them and they will ‘trust’ you is if you have already learned to ‘trust’ yourself.

    Let’s begin establishing your ‘trust’ today. Contact me at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or by email at sitch.jack@gmail.com. The please remember to share this post. Thank you.


  • Never hesitate to take your first step

    October 7, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    I found today that sometimes the plan you have for yourself isn’t the problem – sometimes the problem is one’s own expectations. This knowledge was revealed to me in a conversation I had with a friend that I respect very much. In the conversation it became apparent to me that this friend had a wonderful set of goals and knew what he really wanted to achieve in his life but when I asked him if he had made some positive steps towards achieving his goals he simply gave me a sly smile and made reference to the fact that he didn’t want to move forward on something that he might not be able to accomplish.

    Smack – that two-by-four hit me right in the forehead – he was letting perfection get in the way of good or even good enough. This is unfortunately more common than expected. People have great goals and dreams for their lives but never take the first step in achieving those goals because they might not be able to accomplish them. It’s just like when I was a young man in high school and always shied away from asking that ‘really special’ girl out on a date because she might say ‘no’ – really? Reality was that by my not asking the answer was indeed ‘no’.

    So how about you and your expectations? Do you have a really good plan and hesitate on taking the first or at least the next step because you might not accomplish your goal? Don’t let perfection get in your way. I have more than once in my life found that I did not accomplish the goal as I planned and usually what I did accomplish was even better than I ever anticipated. I would never enjoy those accomplishments if I stopped the journey before it was finished or even started. My hopes and wishes for you are that you WILL bet on you and take a chance on your dreams. Because it is only then that you will find what you can really achieve.

    Don’t hesitate on your journey and feel free to contact me with any questions you may have at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or by email at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Please remember to share this post. Thank you.


  • The next step is your plan

    October 6, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    Knowing who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and working consistently towards achieving success in your dreams are all areas that you have ultimate control of. So for argument’s sake let’s say you’ve done your homework and are ready to take the next step in achieving your dream – so what is that next step? That’s where your plan for success comes in – have you made one?

    This is a place where many of us fail in our dreams and derail our success. We forget to have an actual plan in place to follow so we can achieve success. If you’re like I was as a younger man – a younger dreamer – you’ve probably left this part of your work undone and instead trusted that you knew what to do each step of the way and didn’t worry about solidifying a plan. Okay …sometimes that works. I mean when you make plans to head to Denver you pretty much know the way there and if all else fails you have highway signs to fall back on. Unfortunately life causes some unforeseen detours as we make our way towards our success and if you don’t have a plan in place (your GPS) you might find yourself on some really crappy dirt road where the only directions available are from some backwoods intellectual who knows that everyone knows which big red barn he’s referring to. In other words you are now on the wrong path and aren’t really sure how to get back on track.

    That’s why making a well thought out and researched plan is so vital. Don’t wing it when it comes to achieving your dream(s) – your success really is completely up to you. And let’s be honest, living in the Black Hills does not make becoming a film producer or screen actor easy. You have to assess what skills, experience and training you need to help insure your success and then you have to find a way to gain those skills and experiences and find the training that you need. That’s where I come in – maybe I can help you get there from here.

    Contact me with questions at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or email me at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Then please share this post. Thank you.


  • Consistent effort can improve your chances of success

    October 3, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    As the weekend approaches one thought that keeps moving to the forefront of my thought process and since I can’t get rid of it I am going to offer it to you. How hard are you willing to consistently work at improving your chances of success in your dream? Over the years I’ve watched some of my contemporaries work very hard at improving their abilities and knowledge, even spending great amounts of money on their education and training and sometimes traveling far from home to do so. While others, some of whom were much more talented to begin with, rested on their laurels and acted as if the world owed them when they weren’t willing to work hard on a consistent basis. I’m pretty sure you know which of these two categories became the most successful.

    So which of these categories would you put yourself in – or at least identify with more? For me, I have to admit I’ve been in both categories at different times in my life. As I’ve matured I’ve fallen in the first category more often and really don’t land in the second category at all. So maybe it’s a young person’s disease that allows the second category to thrive, but I kind of doubt that. Rather I believe that often it happens as a result of either a person’s ego or fear. If you think you are that good that you don’t need to work at it your effort level will diminish. If you don’t believe in yourself, are afraid of success or afraid of admitting you need more help you’ll find your effort level diminishes as well.

    So how hard should a person consistently work at their success? I honestly believe that you have to spend at least an hour every day working at improving your skills or knowledge to have any chance at all. I know life can get in the way of your success at times but if you take charge and make sure that your effort levels stay at a consistently high level your chance of success is greater.

    It all rests on your efforts. Contact me with questions at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or email me at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Then please share this post. Thank you.