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Updated: Nov 5, 2021

In this episode, I talk about the productivity and life struggles of freelancers in 2020 and offer solutions and actions that you can take to increase your chances of success. I also list the upcoming episodes of season 5 which will be released on the 6th September.

No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. Maya Angelou UNQUOTE

I launched season 4 just as the COVID 19 crisis was beginning to peak for the first time, and I can announce now that season 5 will launch on Sunday the 6th of September and every Sunday after that at 7 pm for 12 weeks. Today I’ll talk a little about that and I’ll be offering a little advice on how to keep going if you are struggling.

It’s fair to say that the creative industries have been devastated by this pandemic. For myself, I haven’t had any paid work in 17 weeks. Well, that’s not entirely true as I made £75 co-hosting a beginners podcasting webinar with my friend and guest of last season Gillian Dick of the GOTO agency in Glasgow. Those episodes 65 & 66, TALKING SOCIAL MEDIA, PERSONAL BRANDING AND MORE WITH GILLIAN DICK, have been extremely popular btw. If you haven’t listened to them yet I strongly urge you to do so.

I was also very relieved to receive some government money from the self-employed income support scheme here in the UK. I earn my living choreographing fight scenes for film, tv and theatre and although I can stage some non-contact fights, the 2-meter distancing rules mean that finding employment in the role of fight director in the foreseeable future, is extremely unlikely. Don’t worry though folks this isn’t a “poor me” episode; I’ve been freelancing for 25 years, and I am very well aware that just as quickly as work arrives it can completely disappear. I’m also aware that I could be injured or have some other form of bad luck so I have made some preparations for rough times such as this.

But I have to admit that things are looking grim right across the creative industries and with each day I feel the progressive erosion of in particular the theatre industry in the UK but also in film and television and I sense it will take a serious toll on all of them. I have some thoughts on what we can be doing here to keep producing content in the short term, but no one in power is consulting me on this and I know I can’t control it.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. Dale Carnegie UNQUOTE

What I can do however is control the things that are within my power, attempt to get ahead of the curve and plan new things. The first episode of season 5 is all about Learning to Adapt, and I’ll be adapting by looking at avenues of business that are not in the creative industries. I’ve long wanted to do an episode about Starting a business that’s not in THE BUSINESS and this is my opportunity. I am considering two different business ventures, and I’ve already signed up for a course which will help me with one of them, and earmarked September through till December for its study.

“Opportunity” is how I have been looking at these 17 weeks of unemployment and believe you me; I have used that time wisely. I urged you all to seize that opportunity at the start of season 4 in an episode called WHY SELF ISOLATION IS A PRODUCTIVITY GIFT. I hope that you have taken my advice to heart and spent your time wisely. In the past 17 weeks, I’ve produced 27 new episodes of this show, completed an editing course on Davinci Resolve, and I’ve invested in an initial business venture that should see income coming back to me as early as this month. I’ve also sat a short Search Engine Optimisation course and started working on refurbishing and curating new content for both my websites.

Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back. Harvey Mackay UNQUOTE

Let’s have a wee talk about what’s coming up. Season 5 will consist of 12 brand new shows in a slightly shorter format, for the most part, than they have been recently. This formatting change was made as I was stretched to near breaking point with the longer 20-30 minutes, shows. Creating well-researched solo content like that was killing me. Now the standard episodes will be nearer the original season 1 length of episodes at 10-15 minutes with the very occasional interview show. There are no interviews in season 5 however, but solo shows will go out as follows

Episode 70 is all about being flexible and adapting to circumstance. 71 is Called Mission creep and talks about how things can get out of hand if you aren’t careful. 72 is nice and simple. It’s about SMART goal setting. I’ve been through this subject before but it keeps coming back up so I’m dedicating an episode to it. 73 is another subject you may have heard of but what is it and how can we use it? It’s all about SWOT analysis.

Episode 74 talks about why we must become comfortable being uncomfortable if we are to succeed. Shows 75 and 76 are part one and part two of 10 lessons from HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, by Dale Carnegie. It’s one of the most famous self-help books there is, but what can we learn from it? Tune in to find out! Episode 77 was actually written for season 4 but got dropped as I felt had to adapt to respond to the crisis. It’s a longer episode as it was prepared for that season and it’s called Pride and Arrogance. Episode 78 is all about the Labor Illusion. I really LOVE to bring business skills to this podcast as too many creative people out there forget that we are in a business at all. This abstract concept is really cool and I think you’ll find it very beneficial. Episodes 79 and 80 are another two-parter. This came from a suggested topic on twitter and they are called 10 ways to motivate and inspire others. My final episode is all about stoicism. The stoics believed that the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions. I believe more and more in this day and age, that if you want to get ahead, stay on top of difficult situations and in turn find the success that you have to embrace the teachings of the stoic philosophers.

Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. Ralph Waldo Emerson UNQUOTE

I feel that I should issue a warning about trying not to get drawn in by the hysteria that’s building across the world right now and encourage you, always, to think for yourself: To utilise high-level thinking to navigate your life and work. Some of the scenes that are appearing on our television screens and on YouTube and social media lately have been frightening. This pandemic is bringing out the worst in some people and the press are stirring the pot. I want to give you a piece of stoic philosophy to bear in mind as this continues. It’s from Marcus Aurelius who said You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can't control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to care but try and use your high-level state to get you through this. Listen to the episode on manipulators or the one on outrage porn if you want to know more. You must not allow yourself to become the victim. Nobody with a victim mentality will get anywhere. Ever. They will never succeed. Never be bullied into silence and never allow yourself to be made a victim.

William Shatner said You and I and everybody in show business and the entertainment industry fly by the seat of our pants. We don't know quite what is going to happen.

Well, ain’t that the truth? If you are an out of work freelancer like I am there are a few things you can do to increase the likelihood of getting back to work more swiftly. If you’ve been struggling over this then here are some recommendations. 1/ Communicate with your regular employers. Don’t bore them to death, but touch base and let them know you are ready to work. You may find that the contact sparks a conversation about your return. 2/ If you’ve not been looking at some of the rules and regulations relating to filming during the pandemic, then you should do so. I’ll post a number of links in the show notes with information on this.

LINKS for above reference:

3/ Prepare a back to work kit. I’ve done this. Bought various supplies that I may need, facemasks, gloves, hand sanitizer etc so that if I had to return to work tomorrow I am fully prepared. 4/ There are fee online courses on COVID 19 protocols. Find one and sit it. When that call comes with potential work, you can say you’ve done it. This will increase your likelihood of getting reemployed. Finally, take some time to write out how your job might change and come up with some solutions to problems that only you may be aware of. Share this information with potential employers in a separate communication so that they know not only that you are thinking about all this but that you are ready and willing to get going.

Summing up.

Ronald Reagan said We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone and that’s what I try to do here with the show. If you want to help this podcast grow and reach more people it would really really help me in return if you would please go to whatever app you listen on and leave a review. Of all the things that you can do, leaving a review is possibly the most helpful. There have been 68 episodes released so far and they are full of useful information. Often someone will reach out on social media and I try to help when I can, but the reality is that some people just don’t want to be helped there. They are perhaps just seeking attention, or venting frustration with life and 9 times out of ten I find that they really don’t want to receive advice. If people that are in trouble however and they go out of their way to listen to this show, then I believe that they genuinely want help. This podcast is what I do to give back to the people in the creative communities that I love so please spread the word.

The next episode will arrive at 7 pm GMT on the 6th of September and that’s the first show of season 5. Incidentally, I have reduced the price of sponsorship this season as I know times are hard and I have been able to reduce the costs. I was actually able to pay for two years of the website hosting from the money raised last time, AND I’ve cancelled my buffer subscription so episodes this season are just 15 pounds, paid via PayPal, to sponsor. If you want to back a show, please get in touch via the contact link on the website BTW if you don’t want to sponsor but love this show, I would really love to hear any words of feedback so leave me a review or hit me up on one of the social networks. Anything you can do in the time that you’ve got is hugely appreciated.

I want to finish up now by urging you not to give up on 2020 just yet. Today I’ve talked about the business repercussions and about productivity because that’s the point of the show, but I am well aware of the human costs of this pandemic too, so don’t think that I am dismissive of the pain and human loss that this horrible virus has done to the world. I’ve seen so much negativity on social media and elsewhere about what’s going on however that I worry that if you allow yourself to freeze in the headlights as it were, of this situation, that you are missing out on this incredible opportunity to learn new things, organise your life and prepare for success. We have several months left of 2020. Don’t write it off. All is not lost. Seize the day, every day.

And let me end with the words of Maya Angelou

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.

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

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

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