Allow me to borrow a quote from Kumail Najanji – “This year was a personal triumph and a global disaster.” Only after the year I’ve had could I truly appreciate what he meant. Look I was not nominated for an Oscar, but career-wise 2018 was pretty phenomenal. Ignoring the whole global disaster part, I wonder if 2018 is going to be topped anytime soon. I mean let’s take a quick peek at the tape:
-Moved into my 1st LA apt.
-Became a full-time employee at my dream job. I’m paid to watch movies! How crazy is that?
-Ya girl was on The Today Show and a host of other programs!
-I was featured in a global AD campaign. Did y’all see me on a theater screen?
-A feature I wrote was a top Google hit at an international film festival.
-Watched, wrote, ranted, and raved about hundreds of films from all over the world.
-Interviewed and met some folks I have admired for years. Like true icons.
-I was paid to attend the Cannes, Telluride, Sundance, and Toronto film festival - like with actual money they paid me!
-I fell in love...with my dog.
And this is just a quick rundown of my highlights. My friends and teammates equally saw heaps of success and triumph this year. Cheering them on was just – if not more - fun than anything I achieved on my own.
So where do we go from here?
Every year I write down my professional goals. Shout out to Alicia Malone who suggested I do this in 2015. Truly life-altering advice. Look I’ve always been goal-oriented, but the act of writing it down gives the whole process added power and having something you can refer back to makes you personally accountable to get it done. I have been publishing these goals for the past couple of years, and I will do so this year, but I’m keeping my personal goals separate and to myself. For my professional goals, however, I want to add a bit more context, specifically my reasoning behind them. Again, it just makes a list more effective. This is not a wish-list or some random thought for the vision board; this is an actionable list of things I hope to achieve in 2019 and why I’m doing it. So here are my professional goals of 2019.
Speak Thoughtfully. Find where my voice/perspective is missing and don’t be afraid to speak to it. Thoughtfully. So this is about social media and some other things, but this year I am gonna ask myself a question before I tweet/post/write/speak on matters in future. Is my voice needed? If not. Silence is free.
Time to make my entrance. Even typing this feels pretentious as hell but this is my career. So I’m gonna do it to the fullest. I wanna write more, be on more screens and continue to hone my craft. This is a unique job with a huge runway. But if it’s gonna happen - I gotta make it happen. What is “it,” you ask? Well, that’s 2020 Jacqueline’s problem.
No more celebrity selfies. So this is a hard one. I know y’all saw the Lin-Manuel post – a real highlight of my 2018 - but that was because Lin offered and is the greatest human on the planet. I see first-hand how celebs are hounded for photos. It is taxing AF. I applaud them for how much they give to the fans. And I’m a fan, too. But this is my job. When I meet X celebrity, it’s cause they and I are working. We are not friends, and I am not about making friends with them. Asking or a selfie is about me not them. I’m at a point in my career where I will see them again, and I’d like it more if they know who I am and that I will do a good job. That’s all. Now a selfie may pop up from me (if I interview Obama or Michelle the secret service couldn’t keep me away) But that will be the exception I’m talking maybe one for the whole year.
Writing challenges. Three months a year, one a week. This one will for sure make my boss happy. I am a moody, slow, mediocre writer most days. I have periodic flashes of brilliance, but I need to make them more consistent. I need to be quicker, and more efficient. I gotta get on my deadlines better. So one thing (outside of work) a week. And for three months I will do a 30-day challenge. Let’s see how that goes.
Give exceptional - “In Conversation.” This seems simple, but it’s hard. I want to make my mark as a master conversation facilitator. I do a bit now, but I gotta take it into overdrive. I am talking an “in conversation” at Cannes with Joe Wright. (speaking this into existence)
Social Smarter - Diminish Twitter, Facebook – Increase IG, Letterbox. Okay, I have seen this a lot from folks, and I’m no different. Twitter is my home, addiction, and my obsession but it does little to help me with the things I’m listing here, so I need to take a step back. Decreasing Facebook is more for political reasons, and I have already done a bit. There is no way around it, social media is a part of my job, but I can do it smarter. Using IG or Letterbox for reviews and to champion films is much more productive than complaining about the depressing things I see on my timeline. In general, I want to make my feeds about positivity. In the world we live in, isn’t it needed?
Two classes for professional development – God this has been on the list for three years straight. Here’s hoping I finally get it done.
Work on all aspects of my craft and professional development. This is elsewhere, but it needs a its own bullet because it is all-encompassing. I will seek out others I admire and learn everything I can from them in person or from afar. This is everything from reading more accomplished writers to talking with people who work in creative spaces. I swear meeting Alicia Malone was a cheat code. So much of her advice has helped me. I got maybe one more year of this, and then I am going to start paying it forward in earnest. To do for others what she did for me. As Ava said if your dream includes only you, it is too small. Finally, I have a fantastic mentor, and I am about to start using him to the fullest.
Manage and cultivate my professional reputation, work ethic, and performance. This is kind of included in some things from above, but it needs its point. And it is a simple task that’s extremely difficult to stick to if you don’t make it an everyday focus. Just do your job, show up on time, and be kind. That’s it, and that’s kind of my whole vibe for 2019 – Be Kind.
And that’s it. That’s my list for 2019. As I close out, I want to share two personal goals. I know I said I wouldn’t but I think these are excellent advice in general and I would hope others will adopt it.
Don’t read your press. This is more a mentality than a thing. I don’t have much press to speak of, but I'm saying don’t lose perspective. Keep people around who tell you the truth and don’t start thinking your ass is Teflon. I don’t see this happening to me, but no one ever does.
You’ve never sat at the cool kid's table you aren’t going to start now. Do you want to know what the weirdest thing about this industry is - mainly if you’re living in LA? It’s a city filled with performers, artists, creatives, and nerds who likely got bullied for loving the things they love, so they packed their bags, moved to Los Angeles to make the things they love. Then as soon as they get here, they employ the same gatekeeping, bullying, cliquish behavior that others inflicted on them when they were younger. What the actual fuck. And I have had twinges of that since I moved out. “Why didn’t they invite me to that?” “Why is she standoffish with me?” “I thought we were friends” “Why is X constantly making me feel less than” Well in 2019 I’m leaving that mood far behind. I made a list of people I care about, and care about me, and I will cultivate and continue those relationships. More importantly, I will keep everyone else at a distance. We are not friends. We are acquaintances who work in the same industry, and I will treat it as such. Sounds harsh but this is not a regular place. In the long run, this will make me happier and healthier. Keeping six close true adult friendships is hella harder than trying to be cool and kick it with everybody. I will everyone a happy an healthy 2019.
Peace and love!