The Importance of SHOWING UP!

Empty ChairWoody Allen once said that 80% of success is showing up.

The famous director was correct: Showing up means COMMITMENT. Saying you will show up, but not appearing, is just TALK and EXCUSES. We remember those who FINISH the race, not those who start it.

Why am writing about this? Because over the past year I have witnessed in too many countries young people who RSVP they will attend one of our digital media workshops, but when the first day arrives, they are nowhere to be found.

The empty chair.

They forgot. Or ran out of money. Had a flat tire. Were too busy. Went to the Mall. Lost interest. Didn’t feel like it. Overslept.

In one SOUTH AMERICAN country, we expected 50. Just 7 showed up. Even though 10 spots were FREE for the church media team. One person did show up…for 15 minutes out of 4 days. Perhaps it was a token appearance to tell their bosses they had “attended.”

On a CARIBBEAN island, 203 people clicked the Facebook event page to say they were coming. Only 31 showed up…for a GREAT 2 days of film, tv, video and documentary training & teaching. Their loss.

In one CENTRAL AMERICAN nation, 80-90 people indicated in our October seminar they’d sign up for a deeper, longer workshop the following February. 23 showed up. Another 60 said, “please come to our capital city.” Yet, when they were contacted about a workshop recently, no one in the capital city responded to our email blast announcing the local filmmaker event…which was cancelled. Not enough people.

In a large ASIAN country, the coordinators received over 1000 enquiries by phone & email requesting more information about our major workshops. Massive publicity, interviews, press conferences. But when people learned there was a nominal cost to attend, only 61 showed up…in 2 cities. The workshops were a financial failure.

(To attend, people wanted and demanded FREE registration – to learn the inside knowledge of successful film & television production skills. Teach me to become a famous film director, for free, please.)

What am I saying here? That if you are going to be truly successful in most any type of career or business in your life, YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP!

It’s not all negative. There are some wonderful SUCCESSES too.

In BOLIVIA we had a great 3 day workshop with 34 talented people. This wonderful group showed enormous enthusiasm with strong attendance.

In the CONGO, every year we see 75-85 attending our 3-4 day media workshops. Some people travel many days & miles to attend in Kinshasa. The Africans are really committed to learning media skills.

In INDONESIA we had 261 attend, mostly young people but many pastors too, on 3 islands in 3 cities. Our workshops were a roaring success and a big surprise…and we’ll do it again next year.

During my life, I have repeatedly tried very hard to show up.

Fresh out of college I jumped on an airplane and flew cross country to Charlotte, North Carolina, where I arrived as an invited intern. Just one day later I was offered a full time job in television with the INSP Network. Why? I showed up. It was my start in television. An important beginning that i would have missed if I just sat in California “talking” about how badly I wanted to have a future career in TV. It took INITIATIVE!

Over the course of 30+ years in television, documentary & video production I have faithfully shown up for over 200 overseas assignments in 107 countries and on 6 continents. My professional reputation? We can count on Craig that he will get to the country, shoot the story, and come back with compelling footage.

So…what have you decided to do with your LIFE and CAREER? Just TALK about it…or DO IT? Are you a person of words, excuses and I’ll do it tomorrow…or ACTIONS?

It’s your choice. Not to be based on emotion…but determination, mindset, goals and purpose.

80% of success is showing up.


4 thoughts on “The Importance of SHOWING UP!

  1. This is a very good write up. I have experienced so many people talking the talk but not walking the walk. It got to the point were I just plan my production projects (small or large) around me being a one man band. I have been burned way to many time counting on people showing up and then having to do it all alone. So now I just plan on doing it alone. This makes it easer to plan because I know I will show up. But to plan having help and then not having that help and scrambling at the last minute is so hard and nerve racking.

    • Aron, well said. I have a cameraman friend & colleague that exhibited a serious drinking problem over many years. He is based here in So Cal…and is a really good guy. Years back he was booked for a major TV event in Dallas, but failed to show up (even though he had a plane ticket to the shoot, hotel, etc.). Phone calls, messages were sent by the producers. No answer. Couldn’t find him. (He was drunk.) His professional reputation took a serious hit. Fewer if no bookings. Unreliable. More important…he needed to get his life fixed. Eventually, he did. Slowly – here’s the good news – both his life and career were restored. It took a long time. But it often takes a serious look in the mirror before change happens for many people.

  2. I’ve been reviewing your work as a Christian filmmaker sir, and you are one amazing guy! One day, I aspire to make a difference in the Christian media world like you have, but at the moment it’s all I can do to stomach the rest of this military enlistment. The harsh rules against military members sharing their testimony are… a troublesome trend.

    I’m learning that this “syndrome” is not limited to your program. It seems that the attitude is prevalent in higher ed as well. I’m applying for various various MA Communication programs, and it’s astounding how many of them say it’ll be easy to get in. While I like to think that momma made a special one, it seems like most grad communications programs are begging for students. Plenty say they want to go, but it’s rare that they hit their limit of students that are willing to put up the money.

    Any experience with the crew at American University in DC? They seem to have the most reputable program in that area, but there are rumors about the program treating conservatives harshly. Anything to ad to that?

    Whether you have time for the question or not, my wife and I will pray for you and yours. Keep fighting the good fight, Sir!


    • Hi Ken. American University has a very good reputation from what I hear in media, film, tv etc. If you can swing it cost & time wise, go for the MFA as it will give you more teaching options later in your career. It’s a “terminal” degree, so you can teach sooner or later. And THANKS for the kind words. As for consiervative values in a liberal higher ed environment, that’s how the cookie crumbles these days. I tolerated it while getting MA @ Chapman U. Just the way it is.

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