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Updated: Nov 4, 2021

Hello and welcome to Film Pro Productivity the podcast which helps film professionals and other creatives to live a more focused, effective and HAPPY life. My name is Carter Ferguson and this is EPISODE 29 – TEN MINUTE MOTIVATION AND THE MVP

I often hear that subscribers are going to listen to the show again, “to take it all in” so this special “in-between-isode” is trialing a shorter more on point format to the show, between 5 and 10 minutes, but I’ll be making up for it by releasing twice the number of shows when season 3 launches in September.

I’ve not abandoned the regular format of the show though. You can expect episodes in season 4 and beyond to be a mix of both short and long formats and even include some interviews.


The Lean Startup by Eric Ries says that “If you cannot fail, you cannot learn.”

and it’s not entirely clear to me yet if I can really get this to work, so I’m testing new formats between season 2 and 3 so that I can iron out any issues that are not yet apparent before I go ahead and record the 24 new season 3 shows. Testing your PRODUCT or in my case FORMAT before diving headlong into things is what I’d like to go into here today.


A few years ago I got one of the first prosumer 360 cameras in UK. I realised that the technology was amazing and that there weren’t many people doing it and I immediately made moves to offer it professionally. I bought the website name of 360 Film Scotland, had logos designed, had t shirts and fleeces made up all branded and put it out there that I was available for work. I trained down in London at no small cost, shot loads of freebies to put on the site and push out there that I was available and the work was really cool and what happened? Nothing. No one was interested. Or to put that more directly, no one was interested in paying for it. It was a real battle as people just didn’t know what it was. There were other problems too. YouTube hosted 360 videos but they weren’t available yet on Facebook or Vimeo, and another thing, 360 videos were a nightmare to make. They were hugely time consuming and the earlier software packages didn’t work too well with each other. I wasted more money on the full latest version of premiere and bought special plugins to add logos etc and at the end of it all, after a huge amount of effort, I threw in the towel.

Here’s the thing - If I’d taken a few weeks to test of the concept BEFORE I jumped all in, I would have discovered many of the problems which in the end caused me to abandon the project and move back to regular film making. Which between you and I, I far prefer.

I quoted from The Lean Startup earlier as author Eric Ries details the concept of the MVP within it. Like the other productivity techniques from the business and lifestyle worlds, I believe that the principles behind developing a MVP or Minimum Viable Product can be applied directly to the creative and film worlds.

“A minimum viable product or MVP, is one with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development.”
Niamh Isobel Reed in “The Startup” points out that “minimum” and “viable” are not substitutes for ‘lazy’ or ‘settled for’. It means the simplest that your product can be.

Creating a MVP forces you to boil down your concept to the core functions it needs to have, in - to solve a problem simply, elegantly and effectively. It allows you to get feedback from your customer base or in my case here my listener base or audience and adapt it to improve.

Now a screenwriter will usually sketch out their story line or plot before diving into a full blown 1st draft and we could consider this outline to be the MVP of their script. A designer will make sketches of various elements of a production before they commit to a presentation of their concepts to a producer or director so this isn’t entirely new information.

Summing up

I learned a few things from my experience with 360 Film Scotland. I found the limitations of 360 video and realised that really – I wasn’t that fussed with it. It’s amazing technology and it has it’s place for sure - but in the end, it really wasn’t for me. The thing is of course, I could have found all that out before I committed quite as much time, mental energy and money into it if I’d first trialed it in principle as a MVP.

Call To Action

Your call to action today is - If you are planning something new - why not build yourself an minimum viable version of it first - and find out if it will actually work, if it will have an audience or if it will even hold your interest. You can add the bells and whistles later.


In the next episode I’ll be talking about the benefits of TAKING A BREAK FROM SOCIAL MEDIA.

I’ll end todays show with the words of children’s author and designer Eric Carle “Simplify, slow down, be kind. And don't forget to have art in your life - music, paintings, theater, dance, and sunsets.”

Now - take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’, and join me next time on Film Pro Productivity.

• The music you can hear right now is Adventures by A Himitsu

• 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

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Thanks: A Himitsu Music: Adventures by A Himitsu 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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