top of page

Episode 132 | GATEKEEPERS

This episode is sponsored by Shipyard Shenanigans

Imagination is the gatekeeper of the human soul. Alister E. McGrath

This show is a prerecord from December because I’m neck deep right now in shooting a new short film, The Traveller. I am running a crowdfunding campaign for it on IndieGoGo so if you like this show and want to show your support please do go and check it out – I’ll put links in the show notes and it’ll be all over social media so you can’t miss it.

I’d really appreciate any help you may be willing to give but if you can’t I’d be very grateful too if you could help to spread the word. There are lots of interesting perks there from a simple helping hand to buying into the show as a producer or exec. Thanks for indulging e there with that, but without further ado, let's get into things. In last week's show I talked in detail about BETA clients, basically tests clients, which you can work with in order to trial a new business idea or way of working. If that’s of interest to you please go back and have a listen.

If it's that difficult for a rich man to get into heaven, think how terrible it must be for a poor man to get in. He doesn't even have a bribe for the gatekeeper. Reverend Ike

A gatekeeper is anyone who works to allow, refuse, limit, redirect, support, or hinder you. Proceeding through life with a state of mind that refuses to acknowledge that these people exist will only lead you to failure. Gatekeepers are everywhere, sometimes self-appointed, sometimes toxic, and sometimes helpful and encouraging, but unless you put on your high-level thinking head and acknowledge that they exist you will waste a lot of time in life. These people are usually in a position of power relative to you and they may know people or have the last word when it comes to how you'd like to live your life.

Over the years I’ve come up against gatekeepers in my filmmaking endeavors again and again and again. I’m shooting this short film at the moment with a crowd funder to back it as I long ago gave up on ever being accepted into Scottish film funding. I first hit the brick wall that is a gatekeeper when I went to Scottish Screen in 2011 after my feature film had achieved some success in a Cineworld release. I’ve told this story before but it's relevant. The film officer there told me that not only were they not interested in anything I was hoping to develop but that they will never, then or in the future allow me to access any funding.

There are gatekeepers who make you better and climb higher than you ever thought you could, but there are others who put limitations on you and can stop you from succeeding. So how do you figure out which is which and what to do about them?

If you are trying to change your life and take action toward a certain goal and you’re meeting resistance now is the time to take stock and figure out if you have met a brick wall that is going nowhere. If you discover your gatekeepers are unmoveable brick walls then there are ways to approach the situation that can help you.

Going head-to-head with gatekeepers is not always difficult but it takes legwork and time and effort and developing an awareness of who is out there will help you.

Putting aside more general gatekeepers, like the legal system, the police, security guards, teachers, parents etc etc, and drilling down into the industry or the world you would like to engage with will help you to identify them. Who are the gatekeepers in your life and career? Are they supportive of you and your aspirations? Do they do nothing to help you, or do they actively hinder you?

It’s important once you have identified the gatekeepers in your life and generally how your interactions with them are influencing you that you become more intentional about how you interact with these people. Becoming more intentional is about your gatekeepers knowing what you need from them, this implies that you know what you need from them.

So, what do you want? And how can your gatekeepers help you get there? What can they do to assist you? Do they know what they can do? If not then how can you make them aware of what you need from them? If they know what you want and how to help you then the question becomes are they doing what you need them to do?

Once you have identified the gatekeepers and figured out if they know what you want from them, the next step is determining whether you have made it clear what you need from them, or if you have ever even reached them. Here we will assume you have done your best to let your gatekeepers know what you need from them on several occasions over a period of time.

You need to have done this step and be sure that you have been heard as best you can and given the person ample time to take action. Sometimes, a person who is a gatekeeper in your life may help you without you even knowing it. They may put in a good word with their gatekeepers to get you an opportunity. Or they could be on the lookout for something that will align with their needs as well as yours.

But if you feel like you’ve been clear and given sufficient time and you aren’t seeing anything happening then you might want to begin to question if your gatekeeper has become a brick wall. Unfortunately, the reality is the gatekeepers in our lives aren’t all about accommodating us and our aspirations and dreams. And there are plenty of reasons why the gatekeepers in your life become brick walls for you achieving your dreams.

  • They have their own agenda

  • Politics (it’s better for them to do nothing or actively work against you)

  • They feel threatened by you

  • They themselves are insecure about their position

  • Conflicting interests – They want what you want

  • They aren’t willing to help you

  • Personality clashes – They don’t like you

  • They just don’t have time or the energy

  • You and your goals aren’t even on their radar as something they should be interested in

  • There isn’t anything in it for them

  • They are consciously or unconsciously biased against you

  • They can’t see how their actions/inactions are affecting you negatively

Sometimes, it isn’t possible to get the other person to help you in a way that meets your needs. It is at this point that you need to decide whether you need this person or if there is another gatekeeper somewhere else who could help you.

Your current gatekeeper may be one who puts limitations on you, who doesn’t meet your needs, and who isn’t on your side. They don’t see your potential and push you toward that end. And they have the power to make you feel worthless. So, who is someone that does the opposite? Do you know that person yet or do you have to go out and find that person?

Here is an example of how I continued my dialogue, fruitless though it was with Scottish Screen, after realising that the first film officer I had been talking to was against me. I went to another film officer. I didn’t approach Scottish Screen as an entity and have them redirect me back to the same officer who shut me down, I researched and went directly to another officer, and without seeking any funding I started to create links and build a relationship with him instead. He was considerably more open to my existence than the previous one.

Gatekeepers who put limitations on you and block you from getting access to what you need may lead to you feeling bad about yourself and undervaluing who you are and what you bring to the table. The value of your own self-worth can decrease if you continually ignore your needs and allow others to do the same.

This is a hard thing to realize but in life, difficult gatekeepers teach us the value of who we are and the importance of being valued. If you don’t feel like you are valued or getting what you need then it is so much easier to get discouraged, lack motivation, and ultimately this kind of negative association isn’t healthy. It can change your mindset and make you stressed, anxious, and depressed. None of these states of mind help you reach your goals and really hurt your quality of life.

So, if you have identified a gatekeeper in your life that has become a brick wall ask yourself if staying is affecting your health and well-being. If it is then you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. Is what you are doing trying to fight and push up against an immovable object? And if they aren’t going to be moved and they are resisting your attempts to find a compromise then what is the point? Is it worth you being miserable?

If it’s not then look to other paths to get what you want. If your aspirations, your goals, and your health are being affected by a gatekeeper and you know that what you need from them you are never going to get then take action and make a change. Find some new gatekeepers who see you for your strengths and potential.

Perhaps on another path, you will find new gatekeepers who are supportive of you and your aspirations.

Allow for many paths to your goal. Do not fixate on one path, because then you are likely to give up when that path is blocked. Po Bronson

In next week’s show, I will be taking on a kind of similar high-level topic, but I’ll wait for you to join me to find out more.

Please remember the crowd funder folks, you can catch all the updates via social media.

I’ll end today with some words from Maya Angelou who said If you are going down a road and don't like what's in front of you, and look behind you and don't like what you see, get off the road. Create a new path!

Now take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY AND SUCCESS!

• The music you can hear right now is Adventures by A Himitsu and the exec producer this season is Christopher McPhillips from Artos Digital

• You can view the show notes for this episode on the official website

• You can follow my personal account on Twitter and Instagram @fight_director or follow the show on Twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @Filmproproductivity

• Please support the show by subscribing, spreading the word and leaving an AWESOME review.


Thanks: A Himitsu Music: Adventures by A Himitsu


— Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0

Music released by Argofox

Music provided by Audio Library –––

The IndieGoGo link for my current film is: Show links: OFFICIAL WEBSITE: TWITTER: FACEBOOK: CONTACT: INDIE FILM HUSTLE: QUOTES: Unfortunately, the client that exists today is still pretty much the prototype design. Shawn Fanning References: I lost my fully researched episode notes so this show leans heavily on Thanks: A Himitsu Music By: Music by A Himitsu Track: Adventures by A Himitsu Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 Music released by Argofox Music provided by Audio Library Contact the artist: SERIES 10 EXEC PRODUCER: Christopher McPhillips from Artos Digital 2-time winners of 'Social Media Agency of the Year' at the Prestige Awards; Artos Digital specialise in marketing communications, coaching and personal branding. Owner Christopher McPhillips launched the business from his home in Bathgate and now works alongside his wife, Electra, for specialised event-management and fundraising. Enjoying a broad portfolio of clients over the years, ranging from established enterprises to start-up's - a good fit for Artos Digital given their adaptable and agile approach. Christopher and Electra have combined their talents for three significant clients this past year: Reconnect, a SCIO who run the Regal Theatre in Bathgate; Pro2 Wrestling in Ayr; and Puppet Animation Scotland in Edinburgh. Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Linkedin - Web - Thanks: A Himitsu Music: Adventures by A Himitsu


bottom of page