How To Be Prolific: Guidelines For Getting It Done From Joss Whedon

This article by Ari Karpel originally appeared on FastCo Create in June of 2013.

The writer-producer-director who made Much Ado About Nothing while editing The Avengers, and who’ll return to TV this fall with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., knows a bit about “getting things done.” In fact, he cites David Allen’s book of that title as an important guide–even if he never finished reading it.

Note: This article is also included in our year-end creative wisdom round-up.

Few people get things done in as consistent and impressive a fashion as Joss Whedon. His Avengers was the rare superhero movie to break box office records as it garnered critical acclaim. And while he was editing that Marvel-Disney monster, he secretly shot a version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing at his own house with friends from many of his previous movie and TV projects, including Clark Gregg (The Avengers), Nathan Fillion (Firefly), Amy Acker (Dollhouse), Fran Kranz (A Cabin in the Woods), and Alexis Denisof (Buffy). Meanwhile, he’s the man behind the much-anticipated Marvel TV series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., also starring Gregg.

As Much Ado hit theaters and kicked indie-film ass, Whedon sat down with Co.Create to lay out how he manages to juggle so many projects. His secret? Identifying concrete steps, friends, and tough love.

In other words, get specific. When I asked Whedon to share some tips for being prolific, he had one question: “So do you want to go macro or micro?” I chose micro. Here’s what he said:


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