Film and Family

Ep. 25 - Means and Ends

January 08, 2021 Kent & Anna Thalman
Film and Family
Ep. 25 - Means and Ends
Film and Family
Ep. 25 - Means and Ends
Jan 08, 2021
Kent & Anna Thalman

In this episode we delve into the difference between means and  ends, and how they relate to goal setting. Getting attached to the means or the original plan, can ultimately prevent us from reaching the real end goal. Specification, design, focus and planning are all crucial ways to achieve the end, and you’ll learn how to apply this to your goals this new year.

This podcast is owned and sponsored by Invisible Mansion Pictures. For more resources, visit us at:

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode we delve into the difference between means and  ends, and how they relate to goal setting. Getting attached to the means or the original plan, can ultimately prevent us from reaching the real end goal. Specification, design, focus and planning are all crucial ways to achieve the end, and you’ll learn how to apply this to your goals this new year.

This podcast is owned and sponsored by Invisible Mansion Pictures. For more resources, visit us at:

Ep.25 - Means and Ends

Kent Thalman: [00:00:00] [00:00:00]Hi, I'm Kent 

[00:00:08] Anna Thalman: [00:00:08] and I'm Anna. 

[00:00:09] Kent Thalman: [00:00:09] And this is film and family. If you are a filmmaker and you're ready to take your relationship with yourself and your film career to the next level you are in the right place, hit subscribe to never miss an episode. 

[00:00:20] Anna Thalman: [00:00:20] Let's jump right in. 

[00:00:21] Kent Thalman: [00:00:30] Awesome. 

[00:00:30] So this is another topic that we're going to get into that is a little bit more. atheorial maybe not atheorial conceptual, I should say. So we want to talk about two words that are related. those words are means and ends. So you might've heard the ends don't justify the means, or maybe you might hear someone say the opposite. The ends justify the means. Meaning that the end goal is what happens [00:01:00] after the means, which is the process that you take to get to that goal. But in film, anna, and I've been recognizing that in film and in family lives and in life in general, we feel like this applies to anyone, whether you have a family or a film career or neither, or both, these two things get confused a lot. not in sentences, but just in like our decision making paradigms in life. I think our subconscious brains really do confuse what is the end goal and what is a means to that goal. And you can trace this really far into like questions about the meaning and purpose of life, which we obviously have opinions on, but we won't get too, too deep into that. but let's just talk about what some of those are. First of all, Anna, what does the word means? I guess we've, I've kind of defined those. 

[00:01:46] Anna Thalman: [00:01:46] Yeah. You have, I, I guess it's a good time for this because it's a new year. You've probably set some new goals and a lot of times that's the end, you know, by the end of the year, I want to reach this goal, but then [00:02:00] immediately you're going to the, how, how am I going to get there? What is my strategy? What are the milestones? And it's easy to get lost in. In that, for example, let's say you have a goal to lose some weight or improve your health. And your means of reaching that end are exercising every day, drinking more water, getting more sleep. Whatever. So you set that goal and you might get over-focused on the means. And sometimes this is where we run into problems is you start focusing in, on running every single day. Maybe you miss a few days. And you're like, well, there goes that goal. I can't run every day. and then the goal disappears and really, it's not about the running every day, as much as it is about the goal of reaching. A better health situation. 

[00:02:53] Kent Thalman: [00:02:53] Yeah. And so I think that sometimes when we, look at the means and we turn the means in our minds [00:03:00] into an end, or we forget about what the actual end was, then it all falls apart almost inevitably, because it's that thing like, just like you were saying, if you turn your end goal into a daily habit, And if you mess up the daily habit, it just all kind of crumbles. Right. But when you actually remember what the end goal is, that daily habit might fumble, but you're just going to jump back on and keep doing it. Even if you mess up or you have a huge lapse, you're just like, but this is who I am and this is my end goal and I'm just not going to stop until I get it. so for example, if I just know what kind of physical shape I want to be in, I'm not talking about. The potentially vein side of this, whatever. and that's all an opinion as well. I'm just saying whatever that is for you. I want to have this kind of energy. I want to feel these things. I want to be going to the sick doctor, less. I want to be getting off of certain medications and being, you know, just living the lifestyle that I want. Let's say I set these goals. I set [00:04:00] this vision in my mind and that's very strong. Then I might miss a few days going running. Who cares if my goal is run 365 days straight in 2021, and the moment I miss one day, then that if that's my end, right, I've confused the means in the end. So I've failed. But if my end is, I just am going to become this, whatever that picture is, you should specify because specification helps. But, if you know what kind of health you want to have, and you keep setting your sights higher. That's just an example, but I think it applies to film and it applies to frankly, everything. So I want to talk a little bit about it in terms of film, because I think there are some examples of means and ends and almost any end can actually be redefined into a mean, what I mean by that is I might say I have an end goal of making a feature film this year. Our feature film is actually already funded. We're definitely gonna do do [00:05:00] it. But, now that the funding is out of the way we've got to do it right. that's my ends so the means are going to include, we've chosen to invest in a camera rig that we own ourselves as opposed to renting it. we're going to have to. Doctor the script more, we're going to have to assemble the rest of any team members that we need. We're gonna have to get, you know, there's a million things, right. 

[00:05:21] Anna Thalman: [00:05:21] We've created a Strategy and a production schedule. That's our plan. Those are the means by which we plan to make this film. 

[00:05:28] Kent Thalman: [00:05:28] And yet a lot of people measure milestones in their film career. By one day, I'm going to own this piece of gear. And then 

[00:05:36] Anna Thalman: [00:05:36] Or I wrote the script and it's 90 pages long. I did it. 

[00:05:39] Kent Thalman: [00:05:39] Yeah I did. I wrote all 90 pages. That's the end goal 

[00:05:42] Anna Thalman: [00:05:42] check. 

[00:05:43] Kent Thalman: [00:05:43] Check. Yeah. I checked it off. But is that script really the end? because I think screenwriters know this. They say they never wan-, want to sell a script if they don't think the movie is going to get made almost no matter what kind of money they're being offered, unless it's a lot of money, but for them, it's like [00:06:00] the best thing you can do for your career ever. Is to sell the script to the person that's actually gonna make it because that's what we're in the business of doing right, is finishing movies and having people watch them. so the script is not the end, a, camera, likewise, not the end. and. I am totally guilty of this. I was so proud of the camera we just bought. Even. I found myself staring at it, being like, man, that's awesome. I did. And I got that camera. And then I looked down and I was like, that thing is completely useless. Just sitting here on the shelf, like literally it's totally useless. In fact, it's useless without a really wonderful script or a great documentary treatment or idea or something, but without any vision, that thing really is totally useless. And I've seen people shoot terrible footage out of the same camera and any camera on the market. The camera is not the end. It is a means. but then to push that farther, what is the purpose of this film that we're making 

[00:06:56] Anna Thalman: [00:06:56] well, and that could even extend to what is the purpose of [00:07:00] your life that you're focused on? What is the purpose of filmmaking in general? I think the farther you can go with, 

[00:07:07] Kent Thalman: [00:07:07] yes

[00:07:08] Anna Thalman: [00:07:08] like just asking yourself. Why, why, why? Like, I want to make a film this year. 

[00:07:13] Kent Thalman: [00:07:13] Be the obnoxious toddler to yourself

[00:07:15] Anna Thalman: [00:07:15] Just take it like as a few levels until you get to something that feels very core. Why do I want to make this film? Because I've never made a film before. Why do you want to make a film that you've never made before? Like, because. I want to communicate with people. Why do you want to communicate with people? Because I have something to say, why do you have something to say, 

[00:07:34] Kent Thalman: [00:07:34] What do you have to say?

[00:07:35] Anna Thalman: [00:07:35] Yeah  Whatever

[00:07:35] Kent Thalman: [00:07:35] And Why do you have to say it? that obnoxious amount of digging. I have found is the difference between a shallow and a deep filmmaker, right? these filmmakers that are out there making history, making stuff that's blowing people's minds are the ones that are not just asking, how am I going to make money on the next film that I make? And how am I going to get this next step in my career? I really do believe that they are saying, why do we make films, well to tell [00:08:00] stories. Why do we tell stories? Oh, to move people emotionally, or to preserve history or to. Have cautionary tales and teach morals. I don't know. It might be different, but then why do we teach morals? Why do we preserve history? Why do we want to move people emotionally? Why do we communicate? Why do we persuade? And keep pushing that, keep pushing that. And you'll start to figure out who you are and what matters to you. And you might change those answers as you grow up and mature, but your films will keep getting better and your motivations will be stronger. So you'll actually be doing the things. And the less far you push those questions of why figuring out what is this end's actually a means to, so the end of running a screenplays to make a movie, but what is making a movie an end to, you know, once you keep pushing that, I really believe that, it will keep you from stasus. And staying stagnant in your film career, you're going to [00:09:00] keep having breakthroughs on these basic simple core questions about the purpose of storytelling.

[00:09:05] Anna Thalman: [00:09:05] Yeah. I, think of an example of like you're in a car and you have your GPS and you have to put in where you are actually GPS can position and know where you are, but you have to put in where you want to go. And. The GPS, his job is basically to always keep that end goal in sight and adjust everything. It tells you in accordance to keep you aligned with that end goal. And if you can do that with your goals and just say, this is the end goal, this is my why. This is the end that I'm seeking. Then the means don't matter as much. If you take a wrong turn, it's fine. If there's some traffic, it's fine. We can work around that. We can get another way. You could get a different vehicle. If you need to, you might have to get on an airplane. You might have to get on a boat. You might have to walk, your car might break down. You might do something else. It doesn't matter. Because that's just means to an end. And what matters is, [00:10:00] do you get where you're trying to go or not? And so I think sometimes we get so caught up in like, Oh, but what, car should I take? I'm really fixed on wanting a Ferrari to get there. That's the way I'm going to get there. It's going to be so cool. And then it becomes all about the Ferrari and when the Ferrari doesn't work out, you're like, 

[00:10:18] Kent Thalman: [00:10:18] I can't, I can't do it yet. I Can't get there without the Ferrari. And if you think that sounds like a ridiculous example, ask yourself, have you said. Well, I really want to make a movie, but I can't make this movie without X number of dollars. It's the same thing, right? I mean, you could buy a car for like a hundredth of the price of new Ferrari. and it would get you from a to B, maybe not as stylishly, but it will do it. And same thing. I'd like to make some films, but I can't tie it by this exact camera. well, people have shot feature films on the five D Mark too, which is almost within anyone's price range, especially today. Cause it's old. And, uh, that person [00:11:00] who made a film all by himself, well, not all by himself, but he made it DP'd it and directed it himself on the five D he went on a direct Godzilla star Wars, rogue one, things didn't totally turn out. For him long run, but that's pretty high upper echelon sort of, you know, lots of budget there. So you've got to show that you can do what you can do with your resources, with the means that you have now get to the ends that matter as opposed to fixate on the means themselves. So set your sights higher, I guess. 

[00:11:37] Anna Thalman: [00:11:37] Well, and you may have to practice this practice. somehow reminding yourself of the end and that daily focus on that belief of why this matters and why you're doing what you're doing, because. A lot of times that end is what will bring lasting joy. And the means will bring maybe some. Temporary feelings of pride or [00:12:00] excitement, but they don't last. So if it's like, if we go back to the running example, you might feel really good when you run, like, Hey, I did it. I ran today and then you do it again. Oh gosh. I did two days in a row. That was awesome. But then after a while you might be like, why am I doing this? I don't actually enjoy it. It's hard. I don't want to wake up today. Yeah. But if you remember, Oh yeah, I want to have energy and long-term health. I want to invest in my body so that it will serve me longer as I age or whatever your reasons are, then that can keep you going when the little joy of the pride of accomplishing the goal for the first few days.

[00:12:37] Kent Thalman: [00:12:37] Yeah. And whatever your reasons are that you identify. Once again, push those reasons farther and say, why is that my reason? And what's what does that matter to me? I want to reference a movie and a book, a movie to watch and a book to read. One movie is the one we just watched it's actually the most recent film we have watched in our life, soul, the new one from Pixar, really good film. And it [00:13:00] actually did some really cool things. Thematically that I, I haven't seen. Addressed in a movie before, and I'm not talking about the really high concept stuff about his soul and whatever. They actually keep that pretty, pretty light, I would say, you know, nothing that's going to blow anyone's mind spiritually or metaphysically or theoretically, but what they do explore is this idea of purpose and this idea of feeling like we have this life calling and. This guy in the movie, there might be some spoilers here, so go watch it. And I don't know, mute me right now, if you are scared of that, but I'll just jump ahead 15 seconds or something. I'll be really quick. but he kind of has this whole paradigm that his whole life is built around playing the piano. And there's this one goal that he could play in a big jazz combo. Get his shot, you know, at that, that, that will be the biggest deal ever. And the he'll finally fulfill his purpose for living, and that will lead to endless happiness. [00:14:00] And I mean, I'm exaggerating it a little bit, but that, you know, you watch it and you realize this character really does believe this and you love his passion and you want him to get what he wants to do and why not? We should all try and proceed do those things. I'm not saying that they're not meaningful. And I don't think the movie is saying that either, but once he does accomplish that, he realizes. Well, what do we do now? And it's like, while you're hired on, you're like the best piano player ever. And we're just going to do this every day and we're going to do that the next night and the next night and the next night. And then pretty soon his ends have become a means, but he doesn't know what they've become a means to. And he says, well, what. is now my goal, what is now my purpose? You know, and so it's a good film to explore those thoughts. The second thing is the book I would recommend reading. How will you measure your life by Clay Christiansen? I'm pretty sure we've mentioned that book on this podcast before, but he talks about how to make your family. An enduring source of joy and how to make your career an enduring source of joy. Two really important [00:15:00] topics for this particular podcast, titled film and family, which is a film career and family. How do you make those sources of joy? Not just, how do you make them exist? How do you have babies and find someone that will do that with you and, get people to pay you to make videos or films, or what have you, those two things, frankly, aren't that hard. They might seem impossible to you. Now, if you're in that position in life, several of you listening might be in that position already. We are, we have babies. We have people paying us to make films. We actually just funded our first feature film. So that's not the end goal. That's not the end purpose of our lives. And I would answer what that goal or purpose is, but who cares? You're right. You figure out, I'm saying you're gonna have to figure that out for yourself.

[00:15:45] Anna Thalman: [00:15:45] Yeah. Yeah. I think it's kind of ironic that, you know, it's, the word means and end, which sounds like an end. It sounds like you can get there and you can measure it. But really, I think when you find the end, it's an [00:16:00] ongoing thing. It's a purpose that you can start right away. And so for example, this is kind of. A random example, but I realized that the reason I'm always tempted to spend money, which is something I like to do, is because I feel like it allows me to be creative when I realized that I realized, Oh, I'm actually just wanting to be creative. And this is one way that I'm wanting to be creative is by buying things and setting them up in my house or whatever. But when I realized that the end is to be creative, then I don't need the money to do that. I can be creative no matter what, with nothing, I can always be creative. And so when you find your end, it's something that's ongoing that you can always do no matter what your circumstances are. I think, 

[00:16:49] Kent Thalman: [00:16:49] and that will fulfill the emotional need that you have attached to that end without having to. Like you said, have whatever these sort of limiting beliefs are about [00:17:00] money or resources. 

[00:17:01] Anna Thalman: [00:17:01] Yeah. But the means actually do end, 

[00:17:03] Kent Thalman: [00:17:03] yeah, 

[00:17:04] Anna Thalman: [00:17:04] they end. They're not ongoing. 

[00:17:06] Kent Thalman: [00:17:06] Yep. 

[00:17:06] Anna Thalman: [00:17:06] So it's kind of ironic, but that's one way you can know that you've found a good end is that it's this enduring source of joy or fulfillment for you.

[00:17:15]Kent Thalman: [00:17:15] you just blew my mind

[00:17:16] Anna Thalman: [00:17:16] Why?

[00:17:17]Kent Thalman: [00:17:17] The means end, and the ends never end.

[00:17:20]Anna Thalman: [00:17:20] It's funny. Huh? 

[00:17:21] Kent Thalman: [00:17:21] Wow. We're getting deep. That's really, that's why we mix them up so much. And that's why I felt like I really wanted to do this podcast episode in the first place is because we're all mixing up the means and the ends. And that's why, because they're mislabeled. I was like, it's, it's true. Yeah. And, and that's something, you know, in our church, it's all volunteer and. Unfortunately, I think sometimes we're all tempted to look seek status and no matter what we're doing, whether that's being the one person in your school who gets to direct the senior capstone or whether that's how much money people make or whether that's what [00:18:00] position you hold in your church, and there's no campaigning or job interviewing in our church, it's just people volunteer and, are asked by other leadership. People to serve in specific positions and it's not paid. And yet we have to be reminded that all of these callings will end all of them. No one keeps it calling forever and you might serve and teach Sunday school, or you might lead the congregation or you might do something else. And ultimately there are only a few callings that never end, and those are. Disciple father, mother, son, daughter. Those are titles that never end. Those are relationships that we believe are eternal. And so what are those things for you? What are the things that you believe will extend forever? And I just maybe conclude a little bit with something that. [00:19:00] I, don't want to call it a quote because it was said by someone I know, but it is I'm quoting someone. it wasn't Gandhi, is Kathy, 

[00:19:09] Anna Thalman: [00:19:09] my aunt 

[00:19:10] Kent Thalman: [00:19:10] anna's aunt Kathy Anna made, a little documentary about this woman when she was in high school called the marble lady, because that's what Kathy's sort of title is. And she has created this life passion out of marbles. Now for those of us who are going into the high art of expensive cinema, something like a life legacy of marbles sounds silly. But she has the world's largest marble collection. She's traveled the world. She sent marbles literally in a rocket to the moon. This woman has built her entire legacy around marbles, which is the most odd, obscure, simple thing you could possibly imagine. 

[00:19:48] Anna Thalman: [00:19:48] She's amazing. 

[00:19:49] Kent Thalman: [00:19:49] She's the, one of the most amazing human beings on the planet.

[00:19:52] And you wonder how on earth did she do that? It's like Fred Rogers doing something like a really cheap, simple television program that he just did for [00:20:00] 40 years. And he changed the world. she chose marbles. Why are people able to do that through the most obscure? Small means it's because they understand this one thing that Kathy said and she's, I don't think she said it to sound profound. She said it because she believed it. And with deep emotion in this little dock, that Anna made, she said something to the effect of. "If you want to leave a legacy, if we want to leave a legacy, then we have to focus on people." And whether you believe this, literally I do or not. People are eternal people in relationships never end. And so what we do to serve and lift and help other people. That's the legacy. And she has used marbles as a mechanism, a means

[00:20:45] Anna Thalman: [00:20:45] right

[00:20:45]Kent Thalman: [00:20:45] to that end. And that really is why we're making films. And that's really why we're having babies and why we're marrying people and why we're having families, 

[00:20:54] Anna Thalman: [00:20:54] marrying people? 

[00:20:56] Kent Thalman: [00:20:56] You know, we collectively marry more than one person, not [00:21:00] we individually marry more than one person, is because we. Recognize that that is the end that we are trying to forge eternal relationships with people, leave eternal lasting legacies for generations to come. And if we don't learn to prioritize other people that way, I don't think that we can't leave a legacy or truly understand the meaning of the word ends.

[00:21:21]Anna Thalman: [00:21:21] So yeah, that's really. A great example. I'm glad you thought of that one. 

[00:21:25] Kent Thalman: [00:21:25] yeah, we should end on that. 

[00:21:27] Anna Thalman: [00:21:27] I'd like to sum it up with one

[00:21:28] Kent Thalman: [00:21:28] It was a joke

[00:21:29]Anna Thalman: [00:21:29] last thing.

[00:21:30] Kent Thalman: [00:21:30] I was tryin' to be punny

[00:21:32]Anna Thalman: [00:21:32] as far as

[00:21:32] Kent Thalman: [00:21:32] Podcast never ends

[00:21:35] Anna Thalman: [00:21:35] keeps going on and on Marshall wrote a song,

[00:21:38] Kent Thalman: [00:21:38] the eternal one

[00:21:39]Anna Thalman: [00:21:39] it goes on and on and on. Anyway. check out Instagram for that song. If you dig back a little bit anyway, what was I going to say? Oh I just thought, you know, this is. Different for every person, but I think it's really good to know your life purpose and what you've kind of dedicated to as your end and your why that you can achieve at any [00:22:00] time. as an example, I'll share mine. I think that my purpose as I've decided is to help other people reach their potential and see their potential. I think it's something that I'm kind of naturally good at and inclined towards is loving people and seeing. How great they are and what they can do. But the beautiful thing about that purpose is that I can do that in my family, with my kids. I can do that with strangers that I meet. I can do that. in myself, I can do that

[00:22:31] Kent Thalman: [00:22:31] for yourself yeah

[00:22:31] Anna Thalman: [00:22:31] by being an example of what's possible myself. I can do that for my clients. I can do with film. There are so many ways that I can fulfill that purpose, that I could do that with marbles. If I wanted to join Aunt Kathy and do marbles, it really doesn't matter what the vehicle is. It can get me to my destination. So that is an end and it's eternal. It's ongoing. It brings me joy in whatever form that I choose to do it. And those means [00:23:00] change as my circumstances change. So bringing it kind of back to your goal setting. First of all know your life, why your life purpose, but then you can set a goal and you can know your why for that goal. And you can still create a plan and a strategy I recommend that you do, but then just be a little loose with that. Don't get so attached to the how, and if it means to the means, because they could change. Obstacles could arise. You might have to take a little detour doesn't matter, as long as you know where you're going and you don't stop moving, you will absolutely get there.

[00:23:38] Kent Thalman: [00:23:38] Yeah. Amen. The end. 

[00:23:43] Anna Thalman: [00:23:43] All right. 

[00:23:45] Kent Thalman: [00:23:45] Well, I hope that this has been a valuable conversation and hopefully not too abstract. If it is, let us know so we can know, but I don't think it was, I actually felt like it was, it was valuable. These are all conversations that we usually formulate [00:24:00] while we're going on long runs in the morning, in the cold with our children pushing strollers and, Hopefully they come out well in the podcast too. So, join us on the next episode and check out films. Sorry. Check out. Invisible or email to, find more learning resources, blog, and check out our program, film and family. That's just what it's called, right? 

[00:24:24]Anna Thalman: [00:24:24] Yeah, I think I just call it. The program. I should probably come up with a, a good name, film and family program, coaching program. Whatever you want to call it. it's a lifetime membership. One time payment. It's kind of where we're pouring all of our best content. Honestly, we put a lot of our best information here on the podcast for you for free. So you always have that resource, but if you really want some help implementing that information, that's what we do in the program. We're going to really go one-on-one and helping you apply this to your unique circumstances in life. 

[00:24:58] Kent Thalman: [00:24:58] And all the courses [00:25:00] that we make, are going to be available to members only. Podcasts are free. The courses will be available to members only forever for no extra cost. It's a one-time membership payment.

[00:25:11] Anna Thalman: [00:25:11] Yeah. So if you want to go more in depth, you can join us there. We'd love to see you. our clients are really seeing a lot of success, which is really fun. 

[00:25:19] Kent Thalman: [00:25:19] absolutely

[00:25:20] Anna Thalman: [00:25:20] I'm sure we'll have some on the podcast at some point 

[00:25:22] Kent Thalman: [00:25:22] we need to, 

[00:25:23]Anna Thalman: [00:25:23] otherwise we'll see you next time. 

[00:25:26] Kent Thalman: [00:25:26] Bye. 

[00:25:26] Anna Thalman: [00:25:26] Bye.