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EPISODE 1 | What's It All About & High Level Thinking

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

I believe that productivity techniques, consciously applied, can turn our lives around. I this show I present the concept of High Level Thinking: of focusing ON your life and career, at the same time that you find yourself living and working IN it.

I’m best known in the UK as a professional fight director. I’ve directed and choreographed action fight sequences in film and television for23 years on over 700 productions. I’m also a multiple award winning filmmaker producer/ director with a bunch of shorts and a feature film under my belt …and with all that experience I’ve learned a few things along the way that have allowed me to gain more control over the work I choose to do, the people I choose to work with and the life I choose to live.

And what’s all this about? Why am I taking on a productivity and positivity podcast when I’m a busy working film pro myself? Well, I’ve been through some tough times, I’m still standing and I want to give a little back. I want to help you to SAVE YOURSELF from the STRESS and DAMAGE that can come about as a result of the HIGH PRESSURED ENVIRONMENTS and immensely TIME CONSUMING CREATIVE PROJECTS that we find ourselves in. Simply put, I believe that the time and energy I put into this podcast will make a difference. Oh and I am a busy working film pro. Really busy, but I’ve applied these techniques to my life and work and now I’ve got time for personal projects exactly like this. This stuff really works. I believe in it. I wouldn’t be presenting it if I hadn’t already tried it.

James Anthony Froude, the 19th century English historian and writer wrote that “Experience teaches slowly and at the cost of mistakes.”

I’ve made enough mistakes now to know that productivity techniques and concepts are the solution to many of our problems.

Becoming more productive is about becoming more efficient and effective - it’s kinda the whole point in fact - If you can be more effective, manage your time, be better, and be more focussed on what is important and what matters then you will move forward more quickly towards your goals and as you do that, and achieve great things, it will free up more time for family and friends, and for you to think about your health and ultimately improve your spirit.

If you can bring these techniques, which have been working so well in the business and lifestyle worlds, into the work you do they WILL SAVE YOU from whatever TIME SUCKING and FRUSTRATING creative rabbit hole, you may have fallen down and give you back control.

But productivity isn’t just about getting more work done, more quickly; it’s about freeing up your time to do whatever you want to do. The overall aim is to achieve balance in your life and work and through that HAPPINESS.


Of course this podcast isn’t entirely altruistic.

The French essayist Joseph Joubert said: To Teach is to Learn Twice.

With that in mind another reason I’m here is because I want to learn more about the subject of productivity and creating these episodes, researching them and presenting lessons for others to learn from will help me to do just that. I’ve researched much of it already and there’s some life changing stuff coming up if you’re open to it and it’s going to be, as a good friend of mine, who is a king of positivity, likes to say, AWESOME.

Developing, researching and improving Film Pro Productivity will also help to remedy a lack of output which I’ve been suffering from, as the effort involved in a podcast, although I can assure you it is considerable, is so much less than that of filmmaking. In recent months I’ve been prepping the first 10 episodes, and with websites and media hosts and learning about sound it’s been a steep learning curve but creating this will get me back into the habit of creating and that is a very positive move for me.

The format of the show is quite simple. For now it will be solo, educational and I’m aiming at about ten minutes in length. A little more if it deserves it perhaps and a little less if necessary.. The podcast will be released in 12 episodes of 1 per week seasons. Season one will start with a preseason of 3 episodes including this one followed by the 12 season 1 episodes. I’ll take breaks of a few months in between each season to work on other projects and return with new 12 episode seasons whenever I can.

Film Pro Productivity will also encompass Positivity: The practice of being, or tendency to be, positive or optimistic in attitude and Time management: The process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.

Although I work primarily in Scotland I’ve also found myself in Russia, Bahrain, Egypt and more recently mainland China and Hong Kong. I’m aiming this at a worldwide, English language, audience with topics broad enough to be of general interest. It’s called Film Pro Productivity but within the film industry, I expect the listeners backgrounds, job descriptions and struggles to be quite different. What a screenwriter may gain from these episodes will likely be different I expect from a producer, a director, a gaffer, a script supervisor or AD might find useful – but at the same time there are universal problems that we will all face.

At the end of the day I expect that anyone and everyone can gain from the lessons which I will present, whether you work in the film industry or not.

…And applying these skills WILL ALLOW YOU TO GET CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE, in whatever role you have within our industry or beyond. It might take a while, but slowly, and perhaps through a little trial and error, things will get easier, the smoke will start to clear and you will develop an outlook which puts you back in the driver’s seat.

The Outlook I’m talking about is what I call HIGH LEVEL THINKING – which is: developing through conscious thought, an overview of your life and work which will allow you to BE IN CONTROL. When you have achieved this position you can more easily make decisions about which direction you are moving and make positive changes. As I mentioned earlier we will begin to develop a habit of focus ON your life and career, at the same time that you find yourself living and working IN it. I found this basic premise mind bending when I first discovered it as I had sailed through life and fought the battles along the way as they came up very often stepping unthinkingly into them. High level thinking allows you to avoid the skirmishes, stop wasting your time and mental energy on the unimportant and focus on the bigger picture and the bigger win.

High Level Thinking is the application of the techniques I will present. The advice I find myself giving out again and again to friends and colleagues is simply that YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR OWN DESTINY and HIGH LEVEL THINKING will give you that.


Before I end my friend Stephen Rowan who has advised me on this episode suggested I give a taste of what is to come.

So I’ll leave you with a basic intro to one simple anti-procrastination hack. THE 2 MINUTE RULE

This rule helps you to overcome PROCRASTINATION or as it’s sometimes known LAZINESS by making it SO EASY for you to start taking action that you can’t say no. It’s surprising how many things we put off that we could get done in two minutes or less.


You got an email to respond to? Do it now. You got an online payment to make? Do it now. Need to pack the dishwasher. Do it now. Need to send an invoice, or send a thank you text, or make the bed or whatever you have to do, just do it now and it’s done, and its behind you. If you don’t then these small easily doable jobs build up and suddenly you’re looking at 10 or twenty of them and they’re on your mind and they’re a mountain of work.

If you shoot them down as you go, then they are gone and you’ll be able to focus on the stuff that matters. Of course doing these small tasks as you go also has the fringe benefit of giving you an on-going feeling of accomplishment and this buoys your spirit and brings confidence and positivity into your life. Why don’t you just give it a go and see how it changes things for you. It’s the tip of the iceberg in productivity terms.

But what else do I have in store?


The first 10 episodes will offer general advice for all but are also elements of an escape plan that will allow those suffering from burnout or overwhelm to get back on top.

· In episode 2 I’ll be talking about HOW TO SAY NO TO things you don’t want to do and in as much as that, stopping yourself from saying yes to things that don’t further your own life, vision and happiness.

· In episode 3 I’ll go into how to PRIORITISE YOUR LIFE and work and not get distracted by things that just don’t matter.

· In episode 4 Which is the first official episode of season 1 and will launch simultaneously with 1,2, and 3 we will look at the 5 A DAY SYSTEM FOR GOOD MENTAL HEALTH, and my acronym for remembering it, ALIVE.

· Episode 5 will cover PERFECTIONISM (which is not a good thing btw), and give you solutions to help to counter it and get things done.

· Episode 6 will look at THE INNER CRITIC. That voice inside your head that who trolls your at every opportunity. I saw a great quote about that and tweeted it earlier - it was by—John Cleese— who said that Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake. That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about.

· Episode 7 is about applying THE PERETO PRINCIPLE, the principle that 80 percent of consequences come from 20 percent of the causes. It’s a common and powerful productivity subject which I have been applying this year to great effect.

· Epsidoe 8 investigates and discusses the application of Mel Robbin’s 5 SECOND RULE, an unbelievably simple technique for hacking your brain.

· Episode 9 follows up from that with 4 AWESOME HACKS to kick the ass of PROCRASTINATION.

· And by episode 10 I’ll be explaining why MULTITASKING IS NOT A GOOD THING.

Season 1 will continue with another 5 episodes covering 12 WEEK YEARS, DEALING WITH TIME WASTERS, HABIT FORMING, AWESOME PRODUCTIVITY APPS and finally with an episode on SETTING GOALS.

Summing Up.

It seems appropriate that I end this 1st podcast with a quote by Bruce Lee

“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own.”

If you Google the word PRODUCTIVE you’ll see the words fertile, fruitful, prolific, abundant, effective, prolific, useful, rewarding, valuable, profitable, worthwhile, beneficial, constructive, gratifying, advantageous, win-win, gainful, creative, dynamic, vigorous, energetic, inventive, rich…

It’s a positive and powerful word but it’s not just some hippy dippy idea. Embracing the lessons that I present here will involve you tackling things that you don’t want to deal with, or have always avoided, changing habits in which you have become comfortable, and waking you up with the occasional reality slap.

All I will add is that you will be all the better for it. I urge you to get enthused, get driven and just try things out.

Joining me here right now is the beginning. If you keep listening and apply what you learn you will find success or at the very least, life will get easier...

· The famous Chinese proverb says that every journey starts with a single step.

· This podcast is mine.

· And it’s my gift to you.

So Thanks for listening - in the next episode I’m talking about how to say NO. That episode is available right now as I launch so buckle up, take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on Film Pro Productivity.

· This episode was produced by Stephen Rowan and the music is Adventures by A Himitsu.

· You can view the show notes for this episode at

· If you’re struggling with something you think I can help with or would like to tell me how you are getting on then please get in touch via the contact page on the website. Alternately you can get me on Twitter @fight_director or follow the show @filmproprodpod

· Please subscribe on the podcast app of your choice and if you are in the caring/ sharing mood then I’d really appreciate it if you would leave an AWESOME review.

Sources: None

Thanks: A Himitsu, Stephen Rowan, Dave Bullis Podcast, Podcraft.

Main Photographs taken on the Giordano UK shoot by Bryan Larkin.

Music: 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:


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