Expanding your Brilliant Creativity

Six Creative Tactics for a Using Your Creativity to Thrive and Enjoy a Successful Life

by Carole Dean

In our bi-monthly fiscal sponsorship Film Funding Guidance Class, I share books with our filmmakers that teach the power of our mind.  Currently, we have been studying the number one bestselling book, Mind Power into the 21st Century: Techniques to harness the astonishing powers of thought.


Author John Kehoe says that we all possess creativity and it’s our nature to be creative.  From working with so many talented producers and directors, I know that independent filmmakers are the most creative people on the planet!

John writes that unfortunately many of us were told at an early age that we were not creative.  We need to make sure that we overcome any of this type of programming.

Six Creative Tactics for a Successful Life

It’s important for us to realize that all of us are creative. I think we use creativity to get through the day, through the week and through the month.  With all the changes we are living with we need to believe that no matter what happens, we have our creativity to rely on.

John Kehoe gives us six creative tactics for a successful life:

1-Be an Explorer

It’s one thing to be open to new ideas and it’s another thing to actively seek them out. An explorer is forever trying novel and different ways of doing things. They believe that there are new worlds, new options new product, new services and ideas waiting to be discovered.

An explorer is not afraid of the unknown. They believe that success and happiness come not from following others but in finding their own unique way, so they forge ahead always on the lookout.

2-Ask Questions

Yes, question everything. The word question comes from the Latin word QUARERER to seek. John says the creative life is a continued quest.  Asking questions is indispensable to growth. “Don’t take anything for granted, be naïve, question everything” said Buckminster Fuller.  John says to ask questions like these: Why am I living like this? Why am I doing this job? Why am I not exercising? What have I been neglecting? 

I want you to ask: How can I develop my film today? What actors can I attach? Why can’t I get an A list actor? What would that really cost me?  Remember actors want to work.  They like to take parts in good independent films.  Don’t be afraid to ask for who you want. 

I did an Everything You Want to Know on Film Funding Webinar with Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant Winner Lorenzo De Stephano.  He got 2 well-known actors for his short film.  How? Because he believed he could.  He made the effort and convinced Sean Young and Quinton Aaron to come to Los Angeles to shoot his film.  It can be done.

Author Kehoe says don’t censor yourself no matter how impractical or outrageous the question or the answer sounds. This allows for fresh insights to reveal themselves. We are the creatures of habit and fall easily into routines.

He writes that our future depends directly on how well we question and examine our beliefs, actions, values, goals, and way of living.  I think this has a lot of merit especially for us in the film industry.

Too often people decided they can’t have an A-List actor or can’t have an actor that would get them distribution. Please question this.  Ask yourself, why can’t I get the actor I want for this part? Perhaps you need to raise extra money and are worried about this cost. But this decision would allow you to sell your film faster and definitely make more money. 

Think, how can you get a saleable actor? Begin to question these things and do some research.  Why not spend this next week questioning everything and see what happens Maybe you’ll make a breakthrough and find brilliant new ideas for your project?

3-Get Lots of Ideas

Linus Pauling, the Nobel Prize winning chemist said, “if you only have one idea and one solution to the problem, you’re facing then you only have one course of action.”

In a world where flexibility is a requirement, that is risky and I don’t like that.  That’s when I go to my meditation, and I say, “here’s the problem and here’s some solutions. What do you suggest?”

I leave it with my spirit guides.  I let them think about it.  Then I relax and meditate and usually I get the answer within 24 to 48 hours.  The answers the universe gives me are 10 times better than my ideas.

Edward De Bono wrote in his wonderful book, Lateral Thinking to have group meetings in which no negativity is allowed.  Anyone can say anything as crazy as it seems. Then the next person can build on that craziness and when you get through you may have some incredibly brilliant ideas.

The main point is not to stifle each other’s creativity but to enhance it, to build on it, and to expand each other’s ideas and just be kids again.

You may have read my blog on the “mastermind class” where people get together and brainstorm ways to improve situations.  This is what Napoleon Hill teaches in his brilliant book, Think and Grow Rich

This is exactly what the U.S. President does. He has his mastermind group of advisers from the corporate world who come to him monthly. The richest people in the world have their mastermind groups. That is how millionaire Andrew Carnegie made all this money in the steel world. That’s how Henry Ford made all his money, through mastermind groups.

Try creating a mastermind situation with your film crew or your associates. Even if there’s only two of you then you have the beginning for this mastermind meeting on a bi-monthly basis where you can get together and brainstorm. Be creative. Think outside the box just let yourself go. Creativity knows no boundaries and the greatest creativity in our industry comes from those who do something different.

I remember reading an article about John Ford our great director. He told a young cinematographer that when you’re able to put the camera where the horizon is and not in the center of the film you just took your first step to becoming a good director. If you look at Ford’s work, it’s stupendous. He chose some of the most unusual places to put cameras and that is the highlight of his work for me.

I saw a western where he put a camera in the middle of a river because he wanted a master shot of his two stars sitting on the bank of the river talking to each other and the only way to get that scene was to stand in water and shoot it and that’s exactly what he did. It was an incredible scene and it was all one take of about 4 minutes of dialogue.

4-Break Rules

This is what I love about the brilliant filmmaker Werner Herzog.  In the description of one of the classes he taught on documentary filmmaking, he includes lessons on lock picking!  Yes, lock picking is one of the items he teaches

Also, I remember seeing something like faking bureaucratic paperwork.  I’m sure he teaches how to steal shots without getting permits.  He teaches breaking the rules.  

John says sometimes you should consider breaking rules. Because being creative means breaking out of old patterns to create new ones.  Sometimes by experiencing new ways you totally break into a whole new creative place.  

Think about changing things in your daily routine.  Consider, what habits or rules can you break? I know I’ve set a lot of rules for myself.  I must be up at a certain time and I have to do things by the clock.

Perhaps breaking personal rules can get you into a more creative place.  Try breaking some of your rules this week and see how you feel, does it free you?  It’s all for the sake of expanding your creativity!

5-Use Your Imagination!

All of us have brilliant imaginations. Please use this like you did when you were a kid. When you were a kid, anything was possible, you could be anyone and do anything. Don’t let the collective unconscious tell you that you can’t do what you want to do!  Who cares if no one has done this before?  What is it that you want to try?  We need to believe that anything we can conceive, we can achieve.  How is that for a great mantra?  Anything I can conceive, I can achieve!  This is using our mind to create our future.

Here is another idea. Imagine how other people would do it. Think about your favorite director and imagine how he/she would set up that shot.  This could be a lot of fun for you. Also think about the qualities you admire in people. Who do you respect for creative achievement? 

Pick a role model, someone you would like to emulate.  Perhaps Jane Campion, Baz Luhrmann, Orson Wells, Fellini, Spielberg, Kathryn Bigelow, or Sophia Coppola.                                                                         

Once you pick a role model, imagine this person is in your position faced with your problem or challenge. Imagine this person in your body because your imagination is not bound by real world constraints.  Let this person be in your body and take over your situation. 

He or she is now able to live your life, what would they do? Let’s say if Orson Welles took over your body and you said “Orson how do I solve this problem?” Just listen for the answer. This is a fun thing to do.

You might want to ask some of our greatest producer’s, actors, writers, directors, important questions. Think about it, they would not be bound by a lot of things that you consider important. They might jump immediately into something unique and unheard of. This process can be valuable to move out of self-imposed restrictions.  

John Kehoe quotes the book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and says that Napoleon would choose nine men whose lives and life work had been most important to him like Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, just before going to sleep at night. 

He would close his eyes and see in his imagination this group of men seated with him around his counsel table.  In these meetings Hill said, “here I had not only an opportunity to sit among those who I consider to be great, but I actually dominated the group by serving as chairman.”

Napoleon Hill did say this was all his imagination and the ideas generated through this process were very real and “they led him into glorious paths of adventure and wealth.” This process helped Hill to become a very wealthy man.

And the last creative tactic for a successful life is:

6-Fill the Well

Nurture yourselves. Please take good care of yourself.  Think of how you can treat yourself better.  Are you eating the best food?  Are you taking walks and exercising daily? 

Please realize that fun and diversity are great stimulators for the Muse within.   Give yourself gifts, like flowers, facials, massages, lunch at a new restaurant.   Or even give yourself time to read a great book. Just getting away from filmmaking for a few hours a day can make you more creative.


Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits

Why Creativity Thrives on Relaxation and Meditation

How meditation removes barriers, fears, and can take you on the trip of your lifetime

by Carole Dean

I have been meditating daily since the ‘70s. This was the only way that I could run and manage my film company offices in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.  I found quiet places in each office to meditate. In New York, it was our air conditioner room.  In Los Angeles it was the office supply room.


A good meditation is amazing. It’s like being in this magic library full of ideas and thoughts.

I used to say I was taking inventory, but they knew I was meditating.  So, I just put a sign on the door saying “meditating” and they were as quiet as church mice.  They knew I needed peaceful time alone.  They knew this was good for me because I always came out of those rooms much happier than I went into them.

Connecting to the Quantum Field

Sages have been telling us for centuries that it’s in the quiet that we connect to our higher self. I think it’s more than that.  I think we’re connecting to the quantum field, that incredible field physics tells us is invisible and yet it surrounds us and fills the air with heightened energy from here throughout our entire universe.

This quantum field is said to be the record keeper of all time.  It remembers everything, it hears everything, it sees everything. It’s an archival storage unit for all of us to tap into.

It’s like finding your favorite radio station. When you find it you normally remember how to tune back into it.  Once your body finds this magic spot it will remember, your body remembers and creates a pathway back to the field so you can go there again and again.

Becoming Part of the Conscious Universe

When you get into a completely relaxed state, magic happens! Your whole body seems to dissolve into nothingness.  You are just this little particle; your true self, and you realize you are part of a vast supporting and caring universe.  You realize this is a conscious universe we live in. There is so much knowledge and information available to you in this place that you need to find your way in and experience for yourself what I’m talking about.

A good meditation is amazing. It’s like being in this magic library full of ideas and thoughts.  All you have to do is tune in to this place where you’re totally relaxed.  You’ll forget you have a body and the next thing you know 20 minutes is gone and you’re sitting there thinking, “Gee that was easy.”  

You now have an answer for what seemed like a perplexing problem in the beginning.  If you don’t have an answer or any ideas immediately, you will get them soon. 

Releasing Your Creativity

You will notice daily how your creativity is improving.  Somehow you have less blocks. Your creativity soars and grows more confident daily.  It is directly tied to meditation.  The more you meditate the more creative you become.  Somehow this removes any barriers or fears and opens you to your normal creative self.

In meetings you can better express yourself.  You become a much better problem solver and are the first one to focus on the problem and a solution.  You seem to be very clear on identifying problems and finding solutions and you use your creativity in doing these things.

Sometimes I go into a meditation presenting a problem and then offering a solution or two.  Normally another option pops into my head that is much better than anything I offered. I thank the quantum field; I thank our Conscious universe and I give gratitude for the incredible support they give me.  All of this is available for you too.

The Benefits of Slowing Everything Down

So, what’s so important about relaxation and meditation Carole? We’re living in a world that is fueled by caffeine. We love our daily espressos and lattes and cold flats and anything to get us revved up. So why slow down?

It’s in the stillness that you heard the little voice.

Getting quiet allows you to relax your entire body and the benefits to the organs of your body are incredible. A 20-minute meditation for the body can be the same as almost two hours of rest according to the Transcendental Meditation people have done a lot of research on meditation.  Many of our actors and filmmakers us TM to relax and learn to meditate.  This is a great option for you.

You don’t get into the quantum field driving a Ferrari.  You get there by totally relaxing, chilling out and getting into your true self, which is that tiny bit of you that came into this body and that will leave this body, that eternal you.

Taking The Trip of a Lifetime

Finding that true self and going on journeys with it into the quantum field are the greatest treat in life. If you’ve not tried this, I guarantee you there’s nothing more exciting and more fulfilling then to sit in a quiet place totally relax and then through your meditation, have the trip of a lifetime.

You come back from your meditation totally relaxed and with knowledge, confidence and realizing that you are supported. Your mind is lazar focused.  You know what your priority is and how to do it.  You’ll feel very confident.  Believe me, it’s empowering to meditate and get centered and focused.

You will know there is a place for you to go to tap into the akashic records.  This place where all information is stored, it’s a library of thoughts and knowledge.  There are solutions to problems with abundant knowledge; it is all there to empower you.  It has been accumulating information for you since the beginning of time.

Scheduling Your Meditations

Relaxation and meditation are things that the more you do them the better they get.  In the beginning you need to put meditation in your calendar but before long, your body and your mind will remind you because they love it.  Your body has 20 minutes to rest and regroup.  Your mind gets to clear out the “stuff” and then can help you clearly focus on what you need to do.

Giving this time to yourself is a wonderful gift.  It will return you many beneficial rewards.  Getting started is the hard part.  You need to have consistency with meditation.

Meditation advances with each sitting and soon it makes what Chopra calls “quantum leaps.”  That’s when you really know you are hitting the motherload.  The more you do it the better it gets.

Getting Help Winding Down and Relaxing

I want to recommend a person who has relaxation and meditation videos that you pay for once and they are yours forever.

For years I have worked weekly with Sevina Altanova.  Sevina helps me relax and gives me Reiki sessions on a weekly basis. I use her yoga exercise video in the morning to keep my body in shape and, sometimes I use her meditation tapes in the daytime to take me on a wonderful guided tour.   

Sevina is an actress who immigrated from Bulgaria with her director/writer husband and two lovely boys.  Please check out her website. https://stressmanagementresources.com/    Look under “Meditation” for her 11 Science-based reasons for meditation.  Check out her “Relaxation” information and be sure to take advantage of the free meditation.


Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionHer new class “How to Fund Your Film” is available on Vimeo on Demand.  She is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.


How to Use Relaxation to Unlock Your Creativity

“They call creative people ‘daydreamers’ because we are much more creative when we relax.”

by Carole Dean

About three years ago, I found Reiki master Sevina Altanova and have been receiving highly beneficial Reiki treatments weekly.  Her relaxation techniques have made a huge difference in my work.  Since I’ve been getting treatments, I’ve stepped up writing more blogs for filmmakers, I’m creating a new online film funding course, and designing a new eBook for filmmakers who join our mailing list. 


“We are over-scheduled, overstimulated, overworked, overburdened and we need a practical way to overcome the bad health effects of our high-pressure lifestyle.” Sevina Altanova


She recently founded her own company, Stress Management Resources.  “People who are constantly engaging their minds may not realize that this hampers their creative impulses. For filmmakers, it is very important for you to relax in order to boost your creativity.”

As a guest on my The Art of Film Funding Podcast, Sevina offered tips on how to improve your relaxation and discussed the life changing relaxation techniques I’d learned over the years.

Daydreaming Can Create your Future

 According to research in neuroscience, creativity occurs in the moments of rest rather than while we’re working on or thinking. So, do yourself a favor, schedule time to daydream. Perhaps in your daydream, you see your finished film on the screen in your favorite screening room and feel your success as you jump out of your seat and bow to your standing ovation.

Physicist Fred Alan Wolf, author The Dreaming Universe, told me in an interview, “when you are daydreaming you are really creating your future. It’s like a handshake across time.”  Later in your life when you experience this event, you feel like it has happened before.  That is because you truly experienced it in your dreaming time, which can create your future.

It created my future.  During boring school classes I put on a bright smile and took off to be on the set with my favorite movie stars and watch films getting made.  I was flying over the Great Serengeti and watching the wilder beast migrate, I was gliding down the Nile on a slow boat and riding elephants in India. 

All these things I experienced almost exactly as I had day-dreamed them.  I remember flying low over the wildebeest and in fact when I went to Kenya, I saw the same vision I had in meditation while I was ballooning over the wilder beast. It felt just like I had imagined, before I even knew what ballooning was.  These experiences all felt like they were deja vous, like I had done it before and in fact I had.



Meditation Manifests Miracles

Sevina highly recommends meditation. “Did you know that meditation is over 5,000 years old? People do meditation to maintain health, heal their bodies, calm their minds and reconnect with their spirit. The most important things in meditation is that you are connecting with your higher self.  Meditation lets the mind relax.” 

As a 40-year meditator, I fully agree. While I was running three offices, NY, Chicago and LA I meditated twice daily.  That was a time you could not talk about meditation or they thought you were a “kook.”  Especially when you were in the business of film and talking to engineers. 

So, I learned quickly to find a quiet place, tell no one, and just disappear for 20 minutes.  In NYC, that was the air conditioner room and in L.A., the office supply room. I would put a note on the door, “taking inventory,” but they knew I was meditating as it soon became very quiet in that place.

This was the most beneficial thing I could have done to help me run three offices at once.  At some point, I read about TM, transcendental meditation, and decided to try it.  Little did I know that Seinfeld and Paul McCartney and David Lynch were all hiding in closets like me.  All of us were experiencing reduced stress and anxiety, better sleep, greater clarity, calmness and a great memory.

I still do this twice a day and now I have a pathway to heaven.  I created a super-highway in the circuits of my brain, so I go to a quiet state quickly and 20 minutes evaporates.  It is the way to live your life with less stress. 

Sevina says, “Any type of meditation that works for you is what you should do.  A walking meditation works for some people, a driving meditation works for some.”  (I always end up in some strange location so I can’t do this!) 

Find what works for you and be good to yourself, put this in your google calendar MEDITATTE MY FUTURE INTO BEING

Music Does Sooth the Beast in Us

“You can relax by listening to soothing music” says Sevina. An article by John Stuart Reid, cymascope.com, says experimentation has found viable red blood cells remained higher in number when exposed to music vs silence, indicating promising results for healing. He says that music therapy, a concept first espoused by Pythagoras of Samos 2,500 years ago, is gaining popularity for depression and relieving anxiety.

“There are millions of studies that show that meditation decreases stress. It will decrease your blood pressure and you have quality sleep. Your entire health will improve, and you will get a stronger immune system.

“When you practice meditation or relaxation, you connect with your partner much better.  You can even resolve problems easily.  Because you are coming from the perspective of love and understanding, you have this ability because now you are relaxed.”

Breathing Exercises are Perfect Before Meetings

Relaxation can decrease stress and tension in a matter of minutes.  Learn to control your nervous system through relaxation practices such as meditation, Reiki, breathing exercises and yoga.  It’s very, very easy.  Anything that brings you joy and calms you down is relaxing.

I want to share a breathing exercise that is incredibly super simple, quick, and beneficial.

You take a deep breath, hold it for three seconds and you slowly exhale. If you repeat this three-to five times, taking deep breaths and holding them for three to six seconds then slowly exhale, you will find after the fifth time your body starts relaxing.

This is something you can do anywhere, before a meeting or a at rehearsal or before you pitch your film.

Please check out Sevina’s website at www.stressmanagementresources.com.  She has meditations, deep relaxations, she does Hypnotherapy and relaxations on SKYPE.  Sevina.altanova@gmail.com.  She is dedicated to helping filmmakers improve their health and create their art.  She is also doing some mindful eating workshops soon that all of us can benefit from.


Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.

How a Hawaiian Prayer Can Help Fund Your Film

Hoʻoponopono, the Hawaiian prayer of forgiveness and reconciliation, can release your creativity

by Carole Dean


Forgiveness is a higher vibration than love

“My enemy has come to ask me for forgiveness.” 

I was in the hospital with my father who had just had a stroke.  We did not know if he would live.  Dad was staring at the door to his room when he said those words.

I said Dad, you have to forgive him and let him go.  “Darling”, he said, “I forgave him long ago.  He must forgive himself.” 

That was one of the most important moments in my life.  Since then, I have learned that forgiveness is a higher vibration than love.  It is the vibration that we all want to reach while we are on this planet. 

Then, I found a wonderful Hawaiian prayer.  It has been an important tool for healing myself and forgiving others.  It brought balance in my life and I owe much of my success to its lessons.

I teach it to filmmakers in my Intentional Filmmaking Class.  It has helped them move past the frustrations and anger artists encounter. 

It’s allowed them to be heard, be creative, and get funded.


‘I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you’.

Those are the few and powerful words of the Ho’oponopono prayer.  The literal translation of the prayer from Hawaiian is ‘to put to right; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, make orderly or neat.”

Many people believe Hoʻoponopono to be a mantra of mental and spiritual cleaning that could be compared to Buddhist techniques for clearing karma.  According to the Hawaiian worldview, “errors of thought” are the origin of problems in the physical world.  The prayer begins the process of cleansing them.

When we forgive others, we are really forgiving ourselves.

Money Has Ears

Ok, how can this help you fund your film?  If you feel like you have a strained relationship with money, you can use this powerful meditation to break through personal blocks.  Creative differences, funding falling through, or family issues distracting you from reaching your goals?   This prayer can help get all of that behind you. 

With Hoʻoponopono, you take total responsibility for your own actions and everybody else’s too.   You must let go of your ego when using this prayer.  Connection, clearing, and forgiveness are much more important than ego concerns about who is right and who is wrong.

This will move you out of any feeling that you have been victimized.  It will release anger that is blocking you from moving forward.

Rejection is a Daily Occurrence for Filmmakers

Each of you has to deal with rejection on a daily basis.  Healing and forgiving are partners in this Hawaiian prayer.  When you have been rejected by a donor or a grant, this can help you accept it and move on. 

There is power in release of trauma, power in release of anger, power in the release of frustration.   All of this power you have is now being used to handle, to keep in place, all of these emotions. 

You can heal yourself and remove any unpleasant situations, rejections or loss, with Hoʻoponopono.  This is asking a lot from a prayer and I believe it works. 

Bring up a rejection of a donation to your film or bring up a confrontation with someone.  Then, say this prayer daily for a week or until you feel you are in balance with this person or issue. 

You will begin to heal that hurt and soon you can say their name without any hurt feelings.  That is when you know you’ve forgiven them.

Give it a Two Month Try Out

Those of you who want to try this, please join me and let’s do it for the months of August and September.  This would give us lots of prayers to forgive people including ourselves. 

You might use a memory trick to tie new things to some habit.  For example, like when you brush your teeth, remember your Ho’oponopono prayer! 

Give yourself time to start saying it before the day comes on you or when you go to bed.  Pick someone, some event, that you want to heal and begin your forgiveness prayer. Say it at least 5 times for one person. 

I will do it with you.  This opens up our creative forces.

Look Online for a Guided Ho’oponopono Meditation

There are prayers on line from 7 minutes to over an hour that you can use.  I suggest you find one that works for you.

I am a long-time meditator.  I put myself into a quiet place or I do this when I go to bed.  In my mind, I bring up the person or event.  Then I say Ho’oponopono, their name, and then I slowly and sincerely repeat these words:

I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, I thank you. 

I suggest you do this 3 to 5 times for each person.  I send them forgiveness with each prayer, even when I think I am the wronged person! It does not matter, I know I must forgive them and I must forgive myself.

Forgiveness is the highest vibration on the planet and that’s where creatives want to live, where we are vibrating with the resonance higher than love.


Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.