Random thoughts on filmmaking, life and science. Subscribe via email.

6 step perfectionism recovery plan!

Hello, my name is Arvel Chappell III and I am a perfectionist. I'm not quite sure how I got here and quite simply don't care. All I know is that it stops today and here's how:

6 step perfectionism recovery plan:

Step 1: Admitting you have a problem. Perfectionism is nothing more then over compensation for fear of not being good enough which is bullshit because everyone is good. Actually no... most people suck but that's beside the point. The point is to have the opportunity to suck... to attempt... to try. Perfectionism keeps you in a rut or in analysis paralysis. 

Step 2: Acknowledge your desire to complete whatever your goal is. You have this dream and can't shake it. Acknowledge that and double down because the desire (or task) isn't going anywhere.

Step 3: Accountability. Have a friend or a colleague who you can be accountable to. Someone to share your plan, your fears and insecurities with. If you have no one then write a blog (disable comments) and share it with the world. I'm using this blog for this purpose from now on. 

Step 4: Plan. Make a plan but make it plain. You have something to achieve so create the steps but in a way that you can execute.

Step 5: Dates. Your plan is bullshit without dates. Share your plan and your dates so that you can be held accountable to them.

Step 6: Don't take yourself too seriously. Just get out there and do it already. No one really cares what happens so get over yourself. You're alive and able so just do it already! 

Want to read more? Check out this article on perfectionism

dream big… live now

As a youngster, I ran around the house flying this inflatable plane. It was my favorite Christmas toy. I would fly while in the car... I would buzz around the kitchen... Heck I even flew into this photo, hovered for a bit and then flew away.

I look back now and the plane I remember flying is nothing more then a ridiculous pool floaty that never came close to a drop of water (I was afraid of pools until about 8). Children are masters of living in the moment. At our best we piloted pool floaties, and at our worst we ran into the street and were struck by a car… (not me) There was no planning involved. No work had to be done or people to ask or peers to please or bosses to approve. It was just us, our floaties, and blue skies.

It's important to continue to dream big and live in the moment. We can be whomever we want, whenever we want. There are no rules, no permission, and no regrets. You don't have to wait for success to be a success… You have everything you need now. Imagine the person you want to be (in every aspect) and be it… today.

HBFF Project Stargazer Finalist Award

My sci-fi project Mira Bane that I cowrote with Mike J. Martinez has been awarded the HBFF Project Stargazer Finalist Award. This was a contest sponsored by NASA. I am looking forward to working together with our NASA and Hollywood mentors on producing a great film. It was nerve racking pitching but it was a great experience. More to come stay tuned!!!!

by: Arvel Chappell IIII


Why I feared Science Fiction


I am a helpless romantic and most of my films have been romantic comedies or love stories. This fact has always confused people especially if they know of my Aerospace Engineering background. The truth is that I have always steered clear of science based films because I was afraid my films would suck balls because they overemphasized the science.

But then "The Challenger" has gotten a good response despite my fears. Now don't get me wrong there are still major hurdles for me to overcome with trying to boil the science into something that's brief, actionable, non expositional, connected to emotion and palatable. But now instead of being fearful I accept this as a challenge that my engineering background (not to mention the helpless romanticism) makes me uniquely qualified for. On with scifi.

Attention and detail, Nude Model & Art.

Firstly I cannot draw. I especially cannot draw the human form.

So instead of running and hiding I figured I'd attend a class featuring a nude model to practice. My rationale was that anytime I can sharpen my attention to detail and my ability to replicate the human experience is a plus, not to mention the fact that the model was a woman. I didn't know that until I got there but that was also a plus. My rendition turned out to be abstract but it was still motivated by the model.

Attention to detail.

How to write a story!

A friend of mine recently expressed an interest in writing a fictional novel. Over the years I have contemplated writing a novel as well but never really sat down to figure it out until my recent leave from work (more on that later). I fired up my kindle and read a few books on how to write fiction and guess what? It is the same thing as writing a movie. Now I'm not suggesting the documents (a book vs. screenplay) are similar because they are definitely two different animals all together but when it comes to story structure there are no differences. In fact most of the books I read on novel writing referenced movies when talking about structure... Imagine that.

So after this realization I made the following cheat sheet and sent it to my friend. This is how I organize story structure for my screenplays. It is based on two theories that literally changed the way I look at stories. At USC I learned Frank Daniel's sequence method from Ted Braun using David Howards book and amended it with golden nuggets I learned from Blake Synder's "Save the Cat" book. The interesting thing is that this can work for a novel as well. The only difference would be how you divide it up. i.e how many pages/chapters make up a sequence. Exciting! Hope you find this useful.

Legalize Me... moves on to the final round.

My project 'Legalize Me' is a finalist in BVEW's National Film Pitch Competition so our chances are 1 of 4 (there was a tie so accepted an additional entry). Mike and I are polishing the script and budget for submittal by April. I'm excited about the momentum a win could do for this project. They announce the winner in May so I'm going to try and forget about it till then. Fingers and toes crossed. Stay tuned and please vote.