For a long time, I kept the list of projects at the forefront of my mind, thinking I would get to all of them eventually. Sadly, that has not been the case. It just isn't physically possible nor is it the best use of anyone's time to spread themselves over too many projects. In the time that I have been a producer, I have learned that it takes a really long time and a huge amount of energy to make even one film. Forty is a lifetime of projects.
I still have that list of 40 projects and I go back and look over them periodically; I may even add to it from time to time. But instead of thinking of them as my current projects, I consider them my wish list. My current projects consist of about five films at any given time.
I am only one person and there is only so much time in a day. I must prioritize my efforts and be very focused about what I need to accomplish. In order to get films made in a timely manner, I need to have the time to devote to each project every day. It's just not possible to work on 40 projects every day and push them successfully. I have found five to ten to be the max.
What does this mean for my career? It means that I don't have much room on my slate for new projects. I may add one or two per year. But, I may read hundreds, even thousands of scripts a year. The odds are very low that I will strongly consider any unsolicited work. In fact, I tend to develop ideas in-house and find writers willing to work on spec and move forward as a team on an idea. This process allows me to get exactly what I want and feel I can get behind, without feeling compelled to find that needle in a haystack amongst the thousands of specs out there.
As you build your slate, try to focus on quality, not quantity. Weed out those 40 projects and focus on just a handful at any given time. I know a number of indie producers who only focus on one at a time. Find a system that works for you and realize that being overwhelmed by too many is not a system that works.