April 28, 2019  



This week I’m postulating on why many of us spend so much time chasing after the next shiny new thing, whether that’s a bit of technology or whatever, or feel we have to wait for the planets to come into JUST the right alignment before we can even consider getting out there and doing something that we really want to do. For filmmakers, and I’ve discussed this several times with Ian O’Neill from the How They Did It Filmmaking Podcast, this comes down to the topic of just shooting with what you’ve got. That’s using the locations, contacts, equipment and cameras that you have easy access to, and not forever procrastinating over it.

Before we move into that though - last week I introduced you to 6 productivity extensions for Google Chrome which will make you more efficient and effective. For a topic which - as I approached it - felt somewhat “dry” I must admit that I really got into it. I take these extensions for granted as I use them all the time, but they made a great episode.

The call to action encouraged you to try the extensions and see how they worked for you. I wouldn’t have suggested them if I didn’t use them myself and I do believe that they will really make a difference to your productivity when working online - so listen back if you missed it and let me know how you are getting on and if you are digging them as much as I do.

As always I must say that I do really love the interaction with listeners that comes with this podcast and that the show is on twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @filmproproductivity if you want to send a message. My personal accounts on Instagram and Twitter @fight_director – Alternatively you can communicate via the official website at

Have you ever been in a position where you know you need to do things to move forward but instead you find yourself doing anything but? I talked about it a few weeks back in the procrastination episode, but I want to look at it in a bit more detail here today.

I often find myself stalling rather than doing when it comes to filmmaking and I have a fairly extensive list of excuses that I can call up to ensure that I won’t get out there and just do it.

  • The number one reason for me, and living in Scotland this is a fairly legitimate one, is because of the weather. I’m forever looking out of a window at pouring rain and thinking… I’ll do it tomorrow. It’s not that I don’t have wet weather gear and rain covers for my cameras - I do – It’s that I can vividly imagine how much of a pain it might be and I stop myself before I start.
  • I also very often say to myself - I don’t have time, or more realistically, I don’t have enough energy – Check back to episode 18 for a full breakdown of that one. Lack of mental energy manifests itself as a kind of overwhelming tiredness, which makes staying in and doing administrative work, or frankly nothing productive at all, just that bit more attractive than going out with a camera. It’s an odd one though as it can drop on me like a cloud even when I’m feeling quite keen to do it and it ensures that I often avoid not only going out to shoot something of my own but that I won’t socialise or interact with others
  • The next excuse that I can pull out of the hat, and I have many more in there, is that I don’t have the kit. I’m saving up to buy a specific thing, such as a lens or a filter or an add on like a monitor or other shiny new toy and I say to myself, I’ll just wait till I can get that “thing” and then it will all be easier and better.
  • And oftentimes it’s not the kit that’s the problem it’s my knowledge, or lack thereof, of how to use that kit. I’ll be like, I could take this camera out but I don’t intricately know how this really works and so I find an excuse instead to faff about with it indoors rather than just doing whatever it is I had planned to do.
  • Ultimately I can muster a general feeling of – “I’M NOT READY-NESS”. A feeling that the planets are not yet in alignment - but someday soon, all will be well and the time will be just right. I convince myself that when this happens or that happens or when I get this latest piece of kit – Then and only then, somewhere down the line, will I be ready to do whatever it is I plan to do. What’s the quote though that I’ve used before – “SOMEDAY is not a day of the week”.

Some of you may say to yourselves. I can’t do such and such a thing because I have kids, or because I have a dog or because I have to do something that’s maybe not particularly urgent but that’s on your mind and it’s just kicking at you for attention.

Well, today’s episode is about tackling this form of procrastination and just getting on with things.

I’ll also look at why some of us get caught up in a cycle of “Keeping up with the Jones’s” and why just getting out there and doing it is likely to be far easier than we think it is.

Lastly, I’ll look at why just shooting with what we have at hand or proceeding with plans even when the planets are not perfectly aligned is essential for our productivity.

By researching this topic I’m kind of hoping to get myself out of a bit of a rut too – At the moment I’m putting off on my filmmaking plans as I am determined to record this show – and it’s so important to me that it is shoving all other things into a big pile in the corner of my mind. And you thought I did this podcast to help you? Ahhh you fools, I’m offering up this show up for my own benefit as much as yours - so let’s get into it!


Robert Rodriguez famously said, “Every director has at least 10 bad films in them.” And that’s not just an amusing quote – it’s actually very closely linked to the topic of today and it mirrors the sentiment of my oft-quoted Hemingway one, “the first draft of everything is shit.”

You see if the reason you find yourself stalling rather than getting out there and doing stuff is because you fear that your work will not be perceived as, in inverted commas “good enough” then you need to take courage from the words of those that have gone before you, like  Rodriguez and Hemingway, and accept that what you are about to film, or build or write or make might not be good enough to stand beside the works of Spielberg or indeed Rodriguez or Hemingway - but that you have to get out there do it anyway.

The first quote that I used in this podcast was that the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, and that journey is as true for a film pro, a screenwriter or whatever as it is for anyone else. And if you are a regular listener to this show you will recognise that I am covering old ground but let me digress for a minute or so more on this as its important.

Whether it’s the fear of failure or the fear of success or the drive to achieve an unattainable perfection it all adds up to the same thing. If you can’t just get out there and do it and possibly fail at what you do, you will never succeed, because you will never start.

The American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher Elbert Hubbard once said: “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” And that is as true today as when he said it. Elbert Hubbard died in 1915 by the way so this isn’t new information. In all your excuses, for not doing what you want to do, fear of failure, fear of looking silly or incompetent or of being imperfect or criticised by others is highly likely to be the reason behind it.

Elbert Hubbard also said There is no failure except in no longer trying. C.S. Lewis said Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement. Napoleon Hill said Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure. And I’ll finish up on this point with this quote from Eric Zorn, who said “Fear of failure is a ticket to mediocrity. If you’re not failing from time to time, you’re not pushing yourself. And if you’re not pushing yourself, you’re coasting.”

There are literally hundreds of quotes out there that say the same thing if you ‘re not moving forward, if you’re finding excuses and stopping yourself from trying - if it’s all because you simply fear failure - then GET OVER IT AND SEIZE CONTROL. And before you start hitting me with excuses – It IS that easy.

Now that I’ve tackled that old chestnut, let’s have a look at a very specific issue which I feel stops filmmakers in particular, and certainly some film pros that I know too from getting stuff done. The Canadian novelist W.P. Kinsella said, “Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get.”

What I’m specifically talking about here is the constant need for doing everything with bigger and better equipment. It’s what I call Shiny New Thing Syndrome, and when I made that name up I had no idea that it actually is a thing! There’s an article in that says that at its core, shiny object syndrome (SOS) is a disease of distraction, and it affects entrepreneurs specifically because of the qualities that make them unique. ... It's called shiny object syndrome because it's the entrepreneurial equivalent of a small child chasing after shiny objects. In their context, they crave new technology, or sometimes just new business opportunities, and once they get it, they immediately lose interest and start chasing the next thing.

Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” And I’m firing quotes about happiness at you here as I believe that is in effect what we are seeking when we hunt for that next shiny new thing.

This is one that I find myself struggling with now and again and I know I’m not the only one because I see it come up on forums and social media posts. Many of you listening may have reached for that perfect piece of shiny new equipment because without it you feel you can’t move forward - whether it’s a camera, or a computer or a piece of software or even a new idea or opportunity - whatever - but then when you get it, you realise that it wasn’t that which was holding you back – it was something else.

I’ve been wondering about this phenomenon - I wonder if I have unwittingly built up a “keeping up with the Jones’s” habit that I am unable to kick.

Perhaps not every listener knows that saying - “Keeping up with the Jones’s is an idiom in many parts of the English-speaking world referring to the comparison to your neighbour as a benchmark for social class or the accumulation of material goods. To fail to "keep up with the Jones's" is perceived as demonstrating socio-economic or cultural inferiority.” Wikipedia helped me with that description btw.

I believe that my own shiny new thing syndrome is borne of watching YouTube reviews about tech. No sooner have I watched a review of a new piece of kit, that I want it. I mean not all the time obviously but often enough for me to be aware of it. Then when I get that thing - the lens or the camera or the piece of software I’ve lusted after - a new video I come across says – look over here – this one’s better.

I’m not trying to keep up with fellow filmmakers, who may be the Jones’s in this scenario, I’m trying to keep up with my own microwave mentality (see episode 23) of just wanting the next shiny thing that catches my eye because somewhere at the back of my mind, I convince myself that I need it.

Again when I look at this with my HIGHER LEVEL THINKING HEAD ON, I soon realise that my inner I WANT IT attitude of “lusting after material things that will somehow make everything better” - IS A LOSING BATTLE. Because I know in my heart that using material items to boost my confidence is only ever temporary. 

THINGS will never bring us happiness or contentment in the long run as we know inside that we will have to keep on spending to keep that “high” going and every time we think we are close, the bar gets set even higher.

As soon as you buy the latest gadget or device, a newer, cooler one comes out. We need to make our financial decisions based on what we want and what we can afford, not on what we think we should do to keep up with an ever-developing world of technology. By living within our means we can find contentment with the things we already have rather than chasing what we don’t. We need to cut that behaviour loose and focus on what’s really important in our lives and work —family, friends, etc. If we stick to our own goals, financial ones as well as creative, and the things that bring us joy, we won’t feel the need to keep up with anyone else.

I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist. said Tammy Faye Bakker

This is what others might call RETAIL THERAPY of course and it short-circuits our creative flow.

I’m hoping that this is a topic which makes sense to you out there. I’m going it might seem, a bit off-piste here, but I feel it’s worth taking this just a little further. You see shopping also boosts our dopamine levels, the brain chemical responsible for making us feel pleasure. So this shiny new thing syndrome is not only a huge procrastination excuse, but we get rewarded for it with a "shopping high."

The problem is, of course, that this “HIGH” doesn't last, and then we're left with the original problem, that of avoidance of the tasks at hand, plus we have a bill to pay. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though. If you can afford what you’re buying it’s no big deal. In fact, Psychology Today researchers found that 62% of shoppers have purchased something just to cheer themselves up. They call it “retail therapy” because shopping can make some of us feel a lot better - especially when we’re feeling down or stressed out.

The real problem comes when you're using shopping as a crutch to avoid doing your work or when you're spending more than you can afford and running up debt. I’m grateful to say that I’ve never been that far gone, but I am still aware that I spend when I don’t necessarily have to.

If you do find you have a problem with emotional spending like this, there are ways to beat it.

  • The first key to curbing retail therapy is understanding what drives you to spend. What moods or things will tempt you to make unplanned purchases? If you know your spending triggers, you can find ways to combat and/or avoid those spending temptations entirely.
  • Monitor Your Spending to Find “Emotional” Purchases. The only way to know about all your emotional spending habits is by tracking your daily spending.
  • Use the 48-Hour Rule. One way to reduce emotional spending is by using the 48-hour rule. This is a simple — but effective — way to deal with spending temptations. Instead of dropping a specific “want” into your shopping basket, you write down the item’s name and price on a notepad. Give yourself 48-hours to think about a  specific purchase decision and its impact on your monthly budget.
  • Remove Spending Apps like eBay or Craigslist or Amazon from Your Phone and Unsubscribe to Emails Encouraging You to Spend.
  • Many people have found budgeting to be a proven way to reduce overspending. You should stick to an overall monthly budget that will force you to save (or invest) a certain amount each month — while spending on things you need and paying down debt. Budgeting is the key to avoiding retail therapy.
  • Treat Yourself with Small Purchases (Within Your Budget) – Put aside a “fun” budget that allows you to make purchases with freedom and without regret. There’s nothing wrong with emotional spending if you have it as part of your budget and can keep your overall financial goals on track. You only get in trouble when you put yourself into debt and lose control.

And I’ll leave it at that for now.

I can’t go into a “shoot with what you’ve got” topic, without going back to Robert Rodriguez and his book Rebel Without  Crew. I’ll link to this in the show notes but please be aware that it’s rather dated. Rodriguez made El Mariachi in 1995 and although his story is inspiring and awesome, in technology terms and distribution wise at least, it’s far less relevant now than it once was. The basic message from the book is though is still essentially vital MAKE A FILM WITH THE RESOURCES YOU HAVE TO HAND IN THE PLACE WHERE YOU LIVE. In other words, SHOOT WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT.




He famously said in his 10-minute film school video which I’ll link to in the show notes, but he said “Don’t dream about being a filmmaker, You are a filmmaker. Now let’s get down to business.” And he says “…get experience, you’ll learn more from picking up a camera from your own mistakes than you will learning about it in film school.”, and if that doesn’t short circuit your fear of failure excuses then I don’t know what will.

Robert Rodriguez says “Creativity, not money, is used to solve problems.”

And so once you’ve beaten your fixation on the next shiny new thing and stopped procrastinating with a ton of reasons for why you SHOULDN’T make your first film, or write your first screenplay or compose your first score or whatever your creative drive is, then take a leaf out of Rodriguez book and MOVE FORWARD WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT.

Rodriguez tells aspiring filmmakers to become technical – to learn the tools of the trade. If you don’t he says you might become overly reliant on the techies who may or may not be interested in realizing your vision. He later asks. “Anyone know how to write?” The audience shrug and he says “No? Good. Everyone else writes the same way. Start writing your way. That makes you unique.” And I’ll come back to that uniqueness later on folks as it’s an essential core message in all of this.

In the video, Rodriguez pushes on and says - you want to make a cheap movie, but how do you make a cheap movie?

He says to list the Actors, locations, props, and equipment you can get hold of. What do you have around you?

What talents do your actor friends have? and What roles were they born to play? A Doctor? A scientist? A bong head? A cop? A guitar player? He says - you have a dog? Make a movie about your dog!

What locations can you get access to? A Nightclub? An Office? A Factory? Old folks home? Make a movie about that.

What props can you get hold of? A burger van? A Wheelbarrow? A stepladder?

He says to take that list of things you can get hold of and build your story around that.

He had a guitar case, a turtle and a small Texan town at his disposal when he was starting out, and, with that, he strung together the story of El Mariachi.

On the topic of shiny new things he states “You don’t want anything too fancy. Fancy equipment makes for lifeless, dull films, lacking in that reckless, adventurous spirit of the newbie moviemaker. He talks about equipment and he says shoot with what you have. He used a camera which to my eye now is big and bulky but to him, at that time it was fast and light. He says don’t spend your own money on kit, but find some monkey who owns one and borrow it or rent it for not a lot – again the message is shoot with what you can get your hands on. He goes further than that and says add life to your film by getting rid of the fancy stuff. Get rid of it and shoot fast and light. He goes further still and says DON’T OVER LIGHT and that’s a problem I’ve seen on low budget sets. Their lit within an inch of their life and they take so long setting it all up that they’ve barely any time left to shoot the movie once it’s done. I’m kinda kidding but at the same time – I’m not.

And by shooting low budget and in the 20 plus years since, Rodriguez has maintained creative control over just about all of his movies because he doesn’t go in too deep. He doesn’t overstretch and lose control.

This is a bit more of a filmmakery episode than I usually do, but I believe there are messages within this for all creatives and hope you’ve found it useful.


I want to end with that core message about uniqueness that Robert Rodriguez talked about earlier on. He also said “All those years I had been making movies because I loved movies, and that's what made all the difference. If you're doing it because you love it you can succeed because you'll work harder than anyone else around you, take on challenges no one else would dare take, and come up with methods no one else would discover, especially when their prime drive is fame and fortune. All that will follow later if you really love what you do. Because your work will speak itself.”

He says your work will speak for itself, and that’s a vital part of what filmmaking is. I’ve been sidetracked for a couple of years, quite happily to some extent, but I’ve been side-tracked away from creating my own work and it left me with a feeling of dissatisfaction in the end. Series one was loosely themed around moving on from burnout to badass or words to that effect, but this series is loosely themed around making sure that you follow your own path and dreams and vision and the secret of success in being a creative I have come to believe is maintaining, protecting and being able to deliver work which has your own uniqueness to it. As creatives, it’s our unique voices that will win us awards, not keeping up with the Jones's, or that shiny new bit of kit. It’s standing up and offering something new and unique. And saying. I made this.

Herman Melville said It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. I say, it is through originality, that you will truly find success and ultimately happiness.


As a call to action this week and if you want to follow Robert Rodriguez example then make that list of your accessible resources, write a brilliant film that exploits them, then plan to shoot and edit with what you’ve got. If you’re not a filmmaker, take from this what lessons you can and use it as inspiration to push you forward in the achievement of your own dreams and creative projects.


I’ll end with one final quote from Robert Rodriguez, he’s got plenty of them and they are all gold. He said

It's easier making a smaller film like El Mariachi. There are no budget worries because there is no budget. There is no crew problem because there is no crew. And if you screw up, no one is around to see you screw up -- so it's no longer a screw up.

…So don't give me any money, don't give me any people, but give freedom, and I'll give you a movie that looks gigantic. unquote

Thanks again for choosing to spend your valuable time here with me. Please - 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
  • Please follow my personal account on Twitter and Instagram @fight_director or follow the show on Twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @Filmproproductivity
  • Thanks for supporting the show by subscribing, spreading the word and leaving an AWESOME review.

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:


April 21, 2019  


As last season’s 5 FREE APPS TO MAKE YOU MORE PRODUCTIVE episode was so incredibly popular I thought that I’d continue with a couple of episodes this season on similar themes. Today I will present 6 awesome FREE extensions for Google Chrome.

But before I get into that though, last week’s show looked at TOXIC PEOPLE and how their negatively charged behaviours can disrupt your life and work and ultimately destroy your productivity and your love for life. These toxic personality types included ENERGY VAMPIRES that suck the life force from you, CONTROL FREAKS that make your life a misery by trying to control what you say, what you do and even what you think. Then there are the manipulators who also try to control you but this time with underhand tactics and techniques like shaming, guilting and gaslighting. I highlighted what to watch out for with these sorts of people and ultimately how to deal with them.

Now please feel free to get in touch and let me know how you are getting on with the calls to action that I suggest at the end of each episode. Also if you have a moment, please go to the contact page and message me to let me know what you are struggling with in your own life and work. I’m very interested in what productivity techniques you are adopting or what matters you are struggling with as if I can get a grip on your real-life problems I can tailor future episodes to tackle them.

Remember that as a solo podcaster I have to come up with all the content that you hear here and your suggestions for futures shows, especially as I near the end of this season and am starting to think about the next would be most welcome.

And if you’ve missed any of the shows please also remember that every episode already released can be accessed directly via or on any number of the free podcasting apps that are out there.


Some people say that they can run their business from their phone, and it’s undeniable that the power we have with cell phones or mobile phones as we call them here in the UK is significant, but as a regular organiser of film productions and as a filmmaker, a podcaster and producer I simply can’t operate without a computer.

I use computers every single day because without them I’d find it near impossible to create, communicate and coordinate.

And I have seen people successfully operate to a degree using Android Tablets or iPads but they take this to such a level with plugin keyboards etc that I will argue that they may as well use a laptop or a desktop machine anyway.

And everything I will be recommending today is a connected to Google Chrome. That browser is available COMPLETELY FREE for both Mac and PC and even has versions which work on Android, IOS and Linux. I recommend it over all the other web browsers for 5 GOOD reasons.


  1. With one click, it loads web pages, multiple tabs, and applications with lightning speed as it is designed to be the fastest web browser available. It allows you to type both searches and web addresses in the address bar which Google calls The Omnibox. This in itself increases speed and efficiency.
  2. It is clean and simple. The omnibox and multi-tabbed browsing make navigating the web very easy. Also when you close chrome, it will remember the tabs you had open so you can pick up right where you left off. Chrome also comes equipped with a built-in PDF viewer which you can use to print, resize, and save PDF’s.
  3. Security and Privacy. Chrome keeps you safe and sound with its built-in malware and phishing protection. It has safe browsing technology and will show you a warning message before you visit a site that is suspicious. Chrome also automatically updates, so you always have the latest and most up-to-date version.
  4. If you are sharing a computer with other people, you can add multiple users to keep your bookmarks, apps, and extensions separate. Anything you update on one device will instantly update everywhere else you sign in to Chrome browser. Once you sign in, you decide what you want to sync. It’s incredibly efficient and as someone that’s used many many browsers over the years, I can assure you that Google Chrome is simply incredible for your productivity.
  5. The final reason - the reason I’m talking about it at all today is that Google Chrome is extremely customizable. Use the Chrome Webstore to add apps, extensions and themes. Apps and extensions give you the latest in productivity, games, education, etc. Themes allow you to bring your browser to life with colours and graphics and you can even create your own themes. 


Google Chrome in itself is, of course, my first recommendation but that’s not what this episode is all about. Once you have chrome you have an option to personalise it with add-ons such as Google Chrome Extensions.


So as you know today I will be making recommendations for extensions to Google Chrome, but first things first:

What exactly are Google Extensions?

Well, EXTENSIONS are small software programs that customize the browsing experience. They enable users to tailor Chrome functionality and behaviour to their individual needs or preferences and as such an extension must fulfil a SINGLE PURPOSE that is narrowly defined and easy to understand. A single extension can include multiple components and a range of functionality, as long as everything contributes towards a common purpose.

All Google Chrome extensions are published to the Chrome Web Store and I will provide links to everything that I talk about here in the show notes. Alternatively, if you are using Chrome, just search for the CHROME WEB STORE and browse in the store itself.

New York Times Bestselling author and teacher of Buddhist meditation practices, Sharon Salzberg said Distraction wastes our energy, concentration restores it. 

And the first extension that I will recommend is one which will kill all those distracting websites but only for 30 minutes and it’s called FOREST, the full name is actually Forest: stay focused, be present. 

There’s a ton of these sort of anti-distraction extensions out there but this is the one I use, and it has never failed me. Like most of the others, it’s based on a time management system called The Pomodoro Technique which was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. That technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.

Forest uses that principle and provides an interesting solution to save you from Internet addiction.

Basically, you set it up by typing in the websites that most often distract you. For reference, my blacklisted sites are youtube, gumtree, ebay, twitter, facebook and reddit. Once you’ve set that up with your own custom list you are all set to go. It sits like all other extensions in your browser bar and when you feel you need to work without distractions you click it.

When that happens a pop up appears to indicate you have planted a virtual seed in the Forest app and over the next 30 minutes, that seed will gradually grow into a tree. During the next 30 minutes you will be blocked from visiting those sites and if you decide to override it, the little tree will start to wither away and die. With this interesting mechanism, your own sense of achievement and responsibility will drive you to stay away from the distractions with no pain.

It’s a self-motivated and interesting method to help you beat Internet addiction. It helps you to cultivate (literally) your personal pattern of time management by making good use of 30-minute chunks of time to fully concentrate on your work and finish it effectively. I’ve never actually done it but you can also share your trees with friends or colleague which I can see the benefits of.

Hans Hofmann said “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”

Next on my list is an extension called JUST READ. This is an incredibly useful extension which does one thing and does it well. It simplifies web pages. It removes ads pictures and other distractions from whatever website you are on and just shows you the text, in an easy to read and well laid out format. 

When you give it a click you remove distractions like the page's styling, ads, popups and comments and can read the article in a customizable, simplified format - like a read mode but better! No login required and it’s completely free!

Another thing that it does, which they don’t advertise though, is that it makes locked text on a website available to copy. As someone who likes to chuck in the occasional quotes and that means that I can copy and paste that text into my podcast notes.

“Simplicity is the soul of efficiency.” Said Austin Freeman and can easily repeat that here as I used JUST READ to simplify the page I stole it from.

It’s a really useful extension and that’s why its number 2 on my list here. This list btw is in no particular order.

Number 3 on my list, and I also rated it highly in my useful apps episode is the POCKET extension. I love Pocket in all its forms. It’s basically a way of bookmarking orsaving yourr favourite articles, videos etc, for later reference.

It beats, hands down the other competitors for ease of use and it syncs across all devices – iPhone, iPad, Android and more. Basically when you find something in Chrome that you want to view later, put it in Pocket. That involves just clicking the pocket button on your browser bar. It then automatically syncs to your phone, tablet or other computers so you can view it at any time, even without an internet connection. You can add tags to it and pocket will even suggest recommended related content which if you are researching a podcast, for example, is really kinda useful! It’s completely free but you can upgrade anytime to Premium for a more powerful Pocket experience.

If you use pocket regularly you’ll likely need to put aside a bit of time each week to catch up on what you’ve stuffed in there along the way but don’t worry, unless you delete it you will be able to access your pocket saves indefinitely. One last thing is that when you click to view your pocket list, it gives you previews of everything you’ve saved, so unlike in a bookmarks folder, you can find what you are looking for very quickly. It’s a fast, efficient and totally awesome Google Chrome Extension.

NEXT UP is an extension called ONE TAB. Albert Einstein “Out of clutter, find simplicity.” and that’s EXACTLY what this extension will do for your browser.

If you’ve ever found yourself with too many open tabs, you just click the OneTab icon to convert all of your tabs into a list. When you need to access the tabs again, you can either restore them individually or all at once. It's really useful if you are midway through researching something and want to ensure that it’s all there the next time in the same format.

Also when your tabs are in the OneTab list, you will save up to 95% of memory because you will have reduced the number of tabs open in Google Chrome.

The information about your tabs is never transmitted or disclosed to the OneTab developers, but the exception to this is if you intentionally click on the 'share as a web page' feature that allows you to upload your list of tabs into a web page in order to share them with others. Tabs are never shared unless you specifically use the 'share as a web page' button.

ONE TAB is one of those really functional, yet simple, add-ons that you never knew you needed. I love it.

Fifth on my list of recommended productivity extensions is MOMENT. 

Following along with the theme of simplicity all this really does is give a clean and modern look to your default Chrome homepage. When you call up a new tab it comes up not as the default Google search page but as a simpler and more appealing page which you have customized.

With this app you can either turn an image of your own into a background for the new tabs or choose from a selection of hi-res photos and videos from its recommendations – This will become your default Google background image. It’s basically like a desktop background for your browser. I use a stream running through a forest video, which is nice and calming.

In the top right corner, it has a HUB icon that when pressed offers you the choice of reopening recent pages or bookmarks or sessions. You can also access via another tab any number of apps that you have chosen from a full list when you set it up. Finally, it offers a todo list which I don’t use as I already use another todo list app called to-doist, which is also one of my very regularly used Chrome Extensions. Lastly, it gives an option to use an onscreen note taking app which occasionally comes in handy.

The main reason I have this though is just for the calming image and simple customizable tabs which it offers. It might not make you that much more productive, in all honesty, but it will make you a little happier and a little bit calmer along the way - as the Dalai Lama says “Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence - that's very important for good health.”

The 6th and final extension that I want to talk about m here – I have more but let’s not get carried away. The Sixth extension is, and if you’ve not been using it you should do, is Grammarly. 

Grammarly offers a host of features that are incredibly helpful in editing any writing, whether it’s a social media post, a call sheet, a script or a novel and it’s FREE. It’s freeeeee!

Incidentally, it can be installed in any browsers, obviously Google Chrome, but also in Firefox, Safari, and Edge, and it will automatically check any writing. For example, it can mark mistakes on emails and forms as users write in the browser.

It scans the whole document for any mistake, including grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors.

Anyone can use it anywhere, but it does require users to be connected to the internet so that it can properly identify mistakes. It then informs the writer of the document what steps can be taken to improve the writing, and it's up to the user whether to heed the advice akin to a professional's.

Grammarly will make sure your messages, documents, and social media posts are clear, mistake-free, and impactful. Adding Grammarly to Chrome means that your spelling and grammar will be vetted on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, and nearly everywhere else you write on the web. Once you register your new account, you will start to receive weekly emails with personalized insights and performance stats which is useful too, and if it annoys you, you can just ask it to stop.

  • It’s a contextual spelling checker which detects correctly spelt words used in the wrong context.
  • It can fix hundreds of complex grammatical errors, including subject-verb agreement, article use, and modifier placement, to name just a few.
  • Grammarly adapts to your needs and writing style, giving you the confidence of mistake-free communication every time you write.

Forbes magazine says “Grammarly quickly and easily makes your writing better and makes you sound like a pro, or at least helps you avoid looking like a fool.”


The Harvard Business Review: “...good grammar is instrumental in conveying ideas with clarity professionalism, and precision...Good grammar is simply good business.”


Douglas Adams said, “We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.”

Well, the technology that I list here today does just work and I encourage you to try it. I could list another 5 or 6 Google Extensions off the top of my head, but that will have to do for now. If you find yourself very often working online like I do or working through a web browser where you access your working email etc then these extensions will make life easier and far more productive for you.


A link to every chrome extension that I’ve talked about here and a full transcript of this episode is available at and may appear on your podcasting apps too. Please be aware though that some podcasting apps will remove links from the RSS feed. If you want to guarantee that they will be there go to the official website which I have full control of.

What I’d say for a call to action is load the extensions, one at a time, and them out and see how they work for you. They’re all free but some have some in-app purchases which can be used to expand their capabilities. I however only use the free versions. As with all technology you’ll have to spend a few minutes getting to know what it offers, so I’d strongly suggest that you try them one at a time – If they work for you then great but if they are not your cup of tea, it’s as easy as right-clicking them on your Chrome browser and tapping remove from chrome.


Next week’s episode, will be talking about why filmmakers should shoot with what they’ve got and why keeping up with the Jones’s or lusting after the next big thing, is a really bad habit to get into.

I’ll end today’s show with the words of Pablo Picasso who said  - “Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.”

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

  • The podcast 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 support this podcast by subscribing, leaving an AWESOME review and spreading the word. If you can get just one new person to tune in I’d really appreciate it.





April 14, 2019  


Today I’m tackling a subject which I think every one of us faces at least every now and again. It’s one of a series of episodes where I TELL IT LIKE IT IS. The SERIES 1 TIMEWASTERS episode was in the same vein and hugely popular and generated a lot of activity on social media and I suspect that my episode of a few weeks ago – COLLABO-HATERS will go down just as well. Today I will be talking about all different forms of TOXIC people, advising you how to SPOT them, how to AVOID them and how to get rid of them.
Last week’s episode was called KILLING THE MICROWAVE MENTALITY and talked about exchanging the fast food, Netflix on demand, Amazon drop shipping, EVERYTHING NOW mindset in regard to achieving your goals and exchanging it for a LONGER TERM, MORE DELIBERATE and DRIVEN ONE utilizing lessons from the productivity topics of COMPOUNDING, FRONT LOADING and THE LEAN STARTUP principle. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Hammering away at a problem with short bursts of energy and then giving up because your proverbial AXE isn’t sharp is a fast route to failure in achieving your goals.
For those that caught the episode - how did you get on with the call to action? Have you applied the solutions to a goal and if so, how’s that working out for you? You can get in touch via social networking on twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @filmproproductivity. If you’d rather message me privately go to the contact page on the official website and drop me a line. The more adventurous amongst you might even want to use the speak pipe service to leave a voicemail. It’s dead easy to use so why don’t you just give it a try.
Ultimately the lessons of last week can be summed up with the words DON’T GIVE UP WHAT YOU WANT MOST, FOR WHAT YOU WANT NOW. Check out the episode if you missed it.
But this week we are talking about TOXIC PEOPLE and later on, I’ll be identifying 6 archetypes of TOXIC PERSONALITY to watch out for.
Daniell KoepkeI founder of the Internal Acceptance Movement says on this subject that “You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It’s one thing if a person owns up to their behaviour and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and continues to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go.”
And for the record folks – I agree with her.
I tried something a bit different this season and delegated some of the research to my friend Julia. On this episode, in particular, she had an absolute field day and really got into it. I find the topic quite fascinating myself and I had wanted to do an episode about it in season 1. As it was though, I just couldn’t fit it all in. I really hope that it provides a few tools and tricks to help you identify and get rid of TOXIC PEOPLE.
I also believe that it’s necessary to tackle these, I don’t know the right word for it, but these TELL IT HOW IT IS EPISODES as over the years I’ve found that my politeness and my seemingly casual way of working has sometimes drawn toxic people towards me.
I have found on occasion that some people see my casual working style as a green light to be impolite or to try and take over and hijack my voice or my authority, but those people don’t know what I know. That I can present as laid back because I’m all over it. I’ve prepped and I’m ready and I know exactly what I’m doing and whether they realize it or not, I’m in charge - and I will crush them like a bug if they --- Okay that’s a bit over the top - I’ll just put them in their place and move on and likely never recommend or work with them again.
Toxic people are lying about in wait for us, de-friended and shunned by the previously burned, and they WILL pop up and draw the life essence from your soul if you are not too careful.
Oh, and TOXIC people don’t appear out of the shadows wearing a dark cloak and baring a malevolent grin of mischievousness by the way. They sneak in under your radar and turn on you when you least expect it, and they can be difficult to spot as within themselves - even THEY sometimes, only sometimes mind, even they don’t know that they are toxic at all.
Like arsenic though, TOXIC PEOPLE will slowly kill you. They will take away your positive spirit and play with your mind and emotions.
When you spend a few years on this earth you begin to realize that there are some people out there that are just DIFFICULT. They are drawn to the reasonable amongst us and they make our lives, in one way or another, miserable by their actions.
“Toxic people attach themselves like cinder blocks tied to your ankles, and then invite you for a swim in their poisoned waters.” I found that quote on Tumblr and it’s by John Mark Green.
There are many different types of people in the world and from a short Google search, you’ll see that there are many that can be easily classified as “toxic”. The only thing these people seem to do is spread negativity, create problems and stress, manipulate others and worse. I’ve found articles listing up to 25 different types of TOXIC ARCHETYPE. Most articles offer up 7-10 toxic archetypes. From the naysayer and the gossiper to the manipulator and the victim and if you are in a hurry the short version of this podcast is btw, if you recognise them here – GET RID OF THEM.
The toxic personality’s power lies in their subtlety and makes them sometimes difficult to spot but if you’re the one who’s continually hurt or the one who is constantly adjusting your own behaviour to avoid their angst or whatever then chances are that it’s not you - it’s them.
Being able to spot their harmful behaviour is the first step to minimizing their impact. There are plenty of things toxic people do to manipulate people and situations to their advantage so let's just jump in and start identifying their character types. I’ll put aside the subtypes that I identified in Episode 12 - TIME WASTERS and Episode 20 BAD COLLABORATORS for now, although to some extent they are also unavoidable here. If you want to know more about those topics just check out the episodes.
The first Toxic personality type I’ll delve into here is the ENERGY VAMPIRE. These emotional and mental energy leeches tend to suck the positivity out of you and bleed you emotionally dry. These are the kind of people who always have something sad, negative or pessimistic to say. ENERGY VAMPIRES were the very first of the Toxic personality types that I ever recognized because I was researching a vampire project and I stumbled across the term online. I suddenly realized that vampires exist – that they are around us even now, and sadly YES even in daylight. No Garlic will save you from these creatures, and they lurk just as much on the internet as they do in real life so can bring you down with a DM as easily as in person.
The Emotional Vampire will often present as a VICTIM which I think of as a subtype of this archetype. They will always choose to suffer rather than trying to deal with their problems.
At first, you may feel for them and their plight because they but you’ll soon realise that every interaction with them is needy and negatively charged and you will have to limit your contact, or maybe even cut ties. When that happens you can also expect a blow up as they rage at your denial of their dietary needs.
“An energy vampire can never “steal” energy from us unless we consciously or unconsciously permit them to.” ― Mateo Sol, unquote.
Just remember that Your TIME AND ENERGY are essential for your own life. Don’t be overly willing to give them away.
The second personality type is the DRAMA MAGNET. With a Drama magnet, Something always is wrong. Always. And, of course, once a problem is solved, another one appears on the horizon. THEY THRIVE IN A CRISIS BECAUSE IT MAKES THEM FEEL IMPORTANT.
And like the ENERGY VAMPIRE, they want something of you – They want your empathy, sympathy and support– and if you offer help and solutions, they never seem to take it. Watch out for these Ambulance Chasers - They’ll drag you into their drama, mess with your head and steal away your time.
These should not be mixed up with DRAMA QUEENS btw. Drama queens are equally draining as they don’t just seek out drama, they create it! I mentioned this in Episode 18 Protecting Your Mental Energy. If you have someone in your life that seems to forever be creating unnecessary drama everywhere they go, they are at the same time stealing your energy in having to deal with it just as much as the emotional misery guts vampire that I mentioned a minute ago.
Personal coach Cheryl Richardson talks about this – she says “Just because some people are fueled by drama doesn't mean you have to attend the performance.” Remember that.
Next up is THE CONTROL FREAK. These people want to control everything and everyone around them. They attempt to control everything you do, everything you say, and even everything you think and when they discover you’ve done something that they haven’t approved of, they go chicken oriental on your ass. That means MENTAL or for those of you who don’t speak Scottish rhyming slang. They just FREAK OUT when you disagree with them and will AGGRESSIVELY TRY TO CONVINCE YOU THAT THEY ARE RIGHT AND YOU ARE WRONG. They are so enthralled by their own reality, that they can’t comprehend how anyone can think differently from them. Thinking differently to them is like a betrayal, and you become in their mind, an enemy. By not agreeing with their every, sometimes deranged, opinion they paint you as a villain in the story of their life. The story in which they are the hero of course.
In a business or creative relationship they will tie you down further and further into their systems and their way of doing things, and take from you only what they deem to be useful. They will micromanage you to the point where creativity is dead, for no matter what you suggest, no matter how much time you spend on developing solutions, they will only ever want to do it their way. This, in turn, means that you are less and less likely to suggest any for fear of evoking their wrath.
In a relationship, this person will give you no breathing room and nag you until you agree with them. Be careful, these people will go after your emotional, conversational and mental freedom until you have nothing left to give. Get out while you can!
These character types often manifest themselves as Egotists, narcissists, or egomaniacs. They think the world revolves around them, and so they act accordingly. They are not interested in anybody and anything except themselves and often present as arrogant. Some people mistake arrogance for confidence, but there is a big difference between them; confident people inspire others, while arrogant people make others feel inferior.
Fourth on my list is THE CRITIC. Have you ever felt judged and criticized no matter what you do? Negative Criticism is different than advice, and that has to be recognized and having that sort of critic in your life will introduce a lot of unnecessary toxicity to it. They might never overtly attack you but they will insult your beliefs, appearance, and thoughts, often because they have low self-esteem and they may even manifest as a control freak or other toxic archetype at the same time. It’s bad enough, as you’ll know from episode 6, to deal with the inner critic, but when you have an actual critic in the room it makes being productive in your life and work, just that much harder!
Very often critics talk down to you, not from any real experience they have but from their own often skewed opinions of how things should be done. As creatives, the last thing we need is someone negatively criticizing our work, our ethics or our abilities, who hasn’t been asked for their opinion, and who cannot balance that criticism with goodwill and positivity.
The critic becomes the HATER when they actively try to destroy your reputation. These critics go further than just saying negative things about your work - one on one. They want to ensure that what they say is heard on social networks and in the comments section of your postings. Don’t give the haters the air to fan the flames of their hate and disrespect. Starve them of the oxygen of your responses and let their petty critical fires fizzle out instead.
One of the most common Toxic personality types is that of the MANIPULATOR. Sarah Nielsen whose book Manipulation: How to Recognize and Outwit Emotional Manipulation and Mind Control in Your Relationships says
“Manipulators use diversion tactics such as, not giving a straight answer or steering the conversation to another topic.”
All too often I’ve been misled by a manipulator. They have a way of sending out the vibe that you owe them something. THEY ALSO HAVE A WAY OF TAKING FROM YOU or DOING SOMETHING THAT HURTS YOU, then they turn around and tell you that they were doing it all FOR YOU. Remember again that you don’t owe anybody anything and if in your heart, it doesn’t feel like a favour, IT’S NOT.”
Author and poet C. JoyBell C. said “There are those whose primary ability is to spin wheels of manipulation. It is their second skin and without these spinning wheels, they simply do not know how to function.”
PSYCHOLOGICAL MANIPULATION is the exercise of undue influence through mental distortion and emotional exploitation, with the intention to seize power, control, benefits, and privileges at the victim’s expense. explains that most manipulative individuals have four common characteristics:
1. They know how to detect your weaknesses.
2. Once found, they use your weaknesses against you.
3. Through their shrewd machinations, they convince you to give up something of yourself in order to serve their self-centred interests.
4. In work, social, and family situations, once a manipulator succeeds in taking advantage of you, he or she will likely repeat the violation until you put a stop to the exploitation.
And this article, by the way, is fan-bleedin-tastic. It’s got some really powerful stuff in it. I’ll link to it in the show notes of course so check it out. In all honesty, I could do an episode just on this topic but for now here are a few of the signs to look out for.
1. PROJECTION. This is a manipulative technique when the manipulator “projects” i.e. attributes their behaviours, thoughts, and feelings onto other people. For instance, a person who is highly jealous may accuse others of acting jealous.
2. SHAMING. This is a common manipulation technique, but it is also one of the most harmful. The victim is often unaware of the abuse. It usually comes from the person whom they adore and trust.
3. TRIANGULATION. Toxic people will often bring another person into the mix. They will say something along the lines of “Well James agrees with me. In fact, he thinks that you are the one who shouldn’t be trusted because…” and so on.
4. DIVERSION. This is an extremely frustrating tactic. The toxic person will often change the subject as a means to divert your attention from the conversation and avoid taking the blame for their actions.
5. GASLIGHTING. Toxic people want to make you so unsure of yourself to the point of doubting your own perception and sanity. They want you to be so dependent on them because that is what makes them powerful. You can face this down with provable facts, but you must expect them to change to tactic 4, DIVERSION tactics when you do this.
And though there are many other types of TOXIC personality out there, I’m going to end this list with GOSSIP MONGERS.
"Watch out for those types who deliberately tear other people down. One day, they will tear you down too," cautions writer Nurjean Chaneco.
Gossipers are highly interested in other people’s personal misfortunes and failures, and they love to spread this kind of “news” everywhere - even if it’s got no basis in fact. They see having a deep conversation about someone, as an exchange of information. They do it to elevate themselves above their insecurity, but there's no distinction between speculation and fact. Few things are more destructive than gossip and no matter how you look at it, spreading malicious rumours will not only hurt the subject of the gossip, it makes the gossiper look bad too. The only good thing about the gossip archetype though is that they are easy to spot, so be vigilant that you don’t get sucked in by them.
And remember the old adage: Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.
So that’s just 6 examples of toxic personality but I could go on. How’s about CHRONIC LIARS who will lie to you about others, and lie to others about you. Or the NAYSAYER who is always negative and pessimistic. The slacker who avoids real work and will demotivate you no matter what you do. The ENVIOUS, who measures their success only against others and is never happy for their own accomplishments. The NEEDY who only comes TO YOU when they want something FROM YOU. The BULLY who tries to intimidate you to do what they want or the UNRELIABLE, the TEMPERAMENTAL, the COWARD the TOUCHY and the CYNIC. The list goes on.
So how do you deal with them?
“Don’t ask why people keep hurting you. Ask yourself why are you allowing it to happen.” ― Robert Tew, unquote.
There are no two ways about it, toxic people are one of life’s greatest challenges. Interacting with them will leave you emotionally wiped out and feeling frustrated, unfulfilled and possibly angry. Don’t allow yourself to become worn down as a result of giving and giving and getting nothing in return.
Remember that you don’t have to respond to toxic people or negative energy, because it will only affect you in a negative way.
If you recognize these personality traits and you have someone in your life who you dread seeing, who doesn’t respect your opinions, or makes you feel bad about yourself in any way, then you need to just say NO. It can hardly be a surprise to you that this is the advice that I offer. I mentioned it right at the top of the show, but no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel to say it, it’s most likely the best way to break away from the toxic personality who has infiltrated your life.
Singer Huey Morgan says that “You learn a lot about a person when they don’t get what they want!” so very often you’ll find that your jailbreak will have an adverse effect on them and they will likely become angered and accusatory. You’ll get over it though, and so will they.
The removal of that toxic personality from your life no matter what pot-shots they take at you as you go, will lift your spirits and grant you a freedom in your heart and soul that will be more valuable than whatever you have perceived to have lost. And of course I know that it is not always possible to walk away from family members, but you can at least hold them at arm’s length and not breath in their toxicity and the damage that they do by limiting contact.
I will sum up with a quote again from Daniell Koepke. She points out that "Not all toxic people are cruel and uncaring. Some of them love us dearly. Many of them have good intentions. Most are toxic to our being simply because they aren’t inherently bad people, but they aren’t the right people for us. And as hard as it is, we have to let them go. Life is hard enough without being around people who bring you down, and as much as you care, you can’t destroy yourself for the sake of someone else. You have to make your well being a priority. Whether that means breaking up with someone you care about, loving a family member from a distance, letting go of a friend, or removing yourself from a situation that feels painful — you have every right to leave and create a safer space for yourself."
And remember that the archetypes that I list here are the extreme versions of toxic personality types. You may find that even you the listener might occasionally find yourself gossiping, or whatever. I think you can forgive yourself that. Just be careful that one day you don’t wake up and discover that you have become that which I warn against here.
Your call to action this week is to strengthen your resolve and once and for all cut out the toxic person that’s come to mind as you listened to this show. You don’t need to create a drama around it, just close them off and shut them out. If they made you miserable in the last 12 months and you’ve taken it, then why give them permission to do so in the next. Take action and take control.
And If you don’t have a toxic personality in your life, have a drink, relax and thank the stars that your life is so good without any of the archetypes that I have talked about here today.
Remember folks, stay vigilant. Toxic people can be found everywhere. They crawl into our lives unnoticed and the negative impact they have can be very destructive. Use this episode to tune your toxicity detectors and Beware!
I’ll end with the words of Robert Tew “It’s amazing how quickly things can turn around when you remove toxic people from your life.”
Thanks again for choosing to spend your valuable time here with me. Please - 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
  • Please follow my personal account on Twitter and Instagram @fight_director or follow the show on Twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @Filmproproductivity
  • Thanks for supporting the show by subscribing, spreading the word and leaving an AWESOME review.
April 7, 2019  



Today’s show is all about KILLING THE MICROWAVE MINDSET and replacing it with something much more realistic. If you can understand the concepts I will be raising here and apply them to your life and work, and particularly to your skillset and long term goals then somewhere down the line, they will deliver massive and impactful results.

I’ll get into that a bit more in a minute but if your head has ever been filled with one single thought, or a string of thoughts or even a memory of something you just can’t change that just keeps repeating… and repeating… and repeating itself, then you have suffered from RUMINATION. In the last episode, I tackled this damaging affliction which kills creativity and sucks away your energy and I offered up solutions to help you beat it. For those of you that took on the call to action, I hope that it’s made a difference. Don’t forget that you can always update me with how you are getting on or even offer up new topics for future episodes via the official website contact page or catch me on Twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @filmproproductivity. I do like hearing from you on this sort of thing and of course, if you missed last weeks episode please do check it out.

This might be one of those slightly mind-bending episodes btw but hang on in there. The solutions are simple and very powerful.


Let me set this up a bit by giving defining a term you may have never heard before. It’s detailed at and it is MICROWAVE MENTALITY – It means “having the attitude that if something can't be done in 5 minutes or less, it's not worth doing.”

It’s a kind of a blight on the modern world and it’s a mindset that’s becoming quite prolific. James Randi once said that the New Age, that’s now if you are wondering, is “just the old age stuck in a microwave for fifteen seconds.” And I think I see his point…

I really don’t want to sound like I’m dissing the people, but if you want an analogy to represent this problem then here it is. It’s an analogy I’ve used before - but once or twice a month – not a YEAR, a MONTH - I get a message from someone, usually a Karate Champion, saying they want to be a fight director and that they will “help me” in inverted commas – I don’t ask for or need any help - for free if I can give them work and get them on set as a fight director or an assistant. And I’m like, what do you know about drama? Almost always, the answer is NOTHING - but that they are willing to learn. In my experience – that’s not quite true.

Now I used to try and help people like this but now I don’t.

  • First reason, Helping create a competitor when there’s so little work about would be utterly stupid.
  • Secondly, because most people want to be a fight director as it sounds cool and doesn’t care enough about what it entails to ever be any good at it. I remember being stuck next to someone on a train that was chatting up a girl. He said to her that he did film and tv fights and I was looking at him – Scotland does not have a big pool of fight pros – anyway I was looking at him and thinking. NO YOU DON’T – That conversation went downhill from then as by the end of it he was telling her he could get her wacky backy if she needed any…
  • and thirdly because in my experience, most of these people are willing to give it maybe a few hours, up to perhaps – and I’ll push the boat out here – as much as a day - then they want the same rates, the same respect and the same profile that I have with 800 credits and 24 years of blood sweat and tears behind me.

If I did try to help them, you’re almost guaranteed that within a week of working with me, the words FIGHT DIRECTOR will appear on their social networks. Some of these people might even make it and I wish them well, but this sort of microwave mentality is not based in reality.

I spent 7 years learning dramatic combat techniques under the tutelage of a fencing master, founder member of the Society of British Fight Directors and Olympic Fencing Coach Prof Bert Bracewell BAF – over the course of a few months we learned hand to hand combat, then we learned fencing skills in foil then sabre (which is the best skill for actors to learn in my opinion) then I personally went on to epee and coaching skills in those weapons with the British Academy of Fencing and beyond that I moved onto a variety of new weapons with Professor Bracewell like rifle and bayonet, sword and shield, rapier and dagger, trident and net. You name it I covered it but at the same time during all of that, I was learning about drama, with a 3-year acting course and years of commitment to learning at Scottish Youth Theatre. Frankly, I am still learning about it now, through my own experiences negative and positive.

Getting good at something, anything – takes time. But we all wish and maybe even try to go for the fast and furious route to the top rather than the slow and steady. Today's episode could even have been called SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE GAME – but let’s face it - it’s not as DRAMATIC as KILLING THE MICROWAVE MINDSET.

We must break the microwave mindset with reality - in the words of Darren Hardy, “small choices + consistency + time = significant results.”


The life coaching demigod Tony Robbins says "Don’t live in 'No Man’s Land,' that place where you’re not really happy, but you’re not unhappy enough to do anything about it. Don’t passively accept what comes your way; drive your life toward what you really want." Taking potshots at the life you want to gain, or the goals you are trying to achieve just won’t cut it – You need to be consistent.

When you suffer from a microwave mindset, all you can think of is instant gratification. We need to accept that this just isn’t a reality - Think of ourselves kinda like LIFE CHEFS putting together the ingredients and letting them cook in their own good time so that we can achieve the longer term goals for which we aim. I’m maybe pushing it a bit with my poetic analogy there, but the point I hope is clear.

I’m not just talking about the Millenial Mindset to which this accusation is often levelled. In this age of microwave meals, fast food, social networking, internet answers to any question, Netflix movies on demand and Amazon dropshipping the mindset of MUST HAVE IT NOW is spreading far and wide. If you don’t recognise the microwave mentality in yourself, whatever your age, then you will certainly recognise it in other people – and that’s a big step towards fixing it. It means you can take the High-Level thinking approach to dealing with it.

The first step toward change is awareness. The best way to become aware is to measure. Writing it all down is key. - Darren Hardy

There are two theories I want to introduce here that may help to disrupt the microwave mentality. I’ll talk about Frontloading in a few minutes but first off lets discuss compounding - The Compound Effect is a book by Darren Hardy which breaks down the power of compounding for use in day to day life and explains how the term can be attached not only to monetary gain but to that of skill learning and achieving your goals. The compound effect is the strategy of reaping huge rewards from small, seemingly insignificant actions.


Mark Twain said, “Progressive improvement beats delayed perfection.” Moving forward toward your vision in progressively improving increments will take you much further than waiting for the perfect moment to start or indeed cramming in a load of effort in one day then giving up.

What’s most interesting about this process is that, even though the results are massive, the steps, in the moment, don’t feel significant. Whether you’re using this strategy for improving your health, relationships, finances, or anything else, the changes are so subtle, they’re almost imperceptible. These small changes offer little or no immediate result

Most people get tripped up by the simplicity of the Compound Effect.

  • For instance, they quit after the eighth day of running because they’re still overweight.
  • Or, they stop practising the piano after six months because they haven’t mastered anything other than “Chopsticks.”
  • Or, they stop making contributions to their ISA after a few years because they could use the cash–and it doesn’t seem to be adding up to much anyway.

What they don’t realize is that these small, seemingly insignificant steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference.

Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time will deliver a RADICAL DIFFERENCE to the results that you seek. The book THE COMPOUND EFFECT goes far beyond this in its scope and I’ll likely have to tackle it in another episode, but for now, I’ll leave it there. If you do want to read it through I’ll put links to it in the show notes.


  • A very simple example is the saying 'you can't run before you can walk'; the procedural memory built while learning to walk is necessary before one can start to learn to run.
  • Pronouncing words is impossible without first learning to pronounce the vowels and consonants that make them up (hence babies' babbling).

Abraham Lincoln’s possibly greatest ever quote, and he has a few, is “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

And that nicely sets up the second concept for dealing with the microwave mentality - Front-Loading – That of focusing your efforts at the beginning of a task. The connection for me is very apparent - the earlier you start making changes the more the compound effect works in your favour.

Front loading is simply a productivity tactic for accomplishing more tasks at the beginning of a goals life. I apply the term specifically to that of learning skills, in combination with the compound effect I talked about a minute ago.

Despite our very best efforts, we all know that It’s way too easy to get off track given the very busy lives we all lead so FRONTLOADING encourages us to schedule our most important tasks at the beginning of the process.


“Spend less time worrying about planning exactly how long every activity will take you to do and more time front-loading your calendar by putting your most important activities with deadlines early in the day and early in the week. For example, something due on Friday should start appearing in your schedule by Tuesday afternoon. And your amount of planned to-do items should decrease from Monday to Friday with ideally little-to-no new to-do items on Friday.”

Tied in with this is something called THE 50% SOLUTION - a productivity technique which I think applies particularly well to those of us in the creative world and it goes along with the idea of frontloading very well. The 50% solution is the act of getting the whole of a goal done to a 50% standard, or quality of work, and then perfecting it at a time when it will give you a measurable result. Perfecting it with a series of revisions at your leisure. You quite quickly get over the hurdle and the stress of having an incomplete task on your todo list and then you polish it up.

I applied for a writing residency place in January of this year and I used this system to get me going. The deadline was the 25th. I scheduled in my diary to submit it by the 23rd, but I front-loaded the vital parts of the application and accompanying materials to be completed a week before that. By doing this, I not only submitted on time, I submitted with my 2nd, 3rd and even 4th drafts of parts of the application form rather than the 1st and least strong of them. The fact that they then extended the deadline by another 6 weeks made my heart fall I have to be honest, but I knew I’d given it my best shot.

There’s another productivity technique in play here which is one of my favourites. It’s based on something called THE LEAN STARTUP. It’s a business principle that says, if you want to start say - a bakery – that you don’t start on day one selling say cookies, bread, rolls and I dunno - donuts. You start on day one by selling just donuts. You sell donuts for a few weeks, and talk to customers and see if they want something new. What might that be? During the few weeks of business you’ve learned how to make donuts even better, even cheaper and even quicker, and you’ve learned that your customers mostly want cookies. So you start making cookies, and you sell them next to the donuts and you see how it goes, and because you’re not worrying about donuts since you’ve mastered that skill and that business model, you can put all your new efforts into perfecting your cookies – If you get where I am going with this, you work hard to perfect one skill or research one area before you start the next. What you don’t do is try to do it all at once - mess the whole thing up - overstretch your resources - and learns new skills that you just don’t need.

You could use front loading for daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals as well.

You can plan for the week on Sunday and get out of the blocks strong on Monday, accomplishing as many of your weekly tasks as possible in the first few days of the week.

You can start out the first week of every month very strong and for your greater life goals try to make the first month of the quarter a big one as well.

This approach takes a lot of discipline but does wonders for stress reduction and productivity.

I’ve frontloaded my schedule of production for this podcast too btw. I’m launching 12 new episodes with the 1st being released on the 24th February but I’m aiming to have 10 episodes already batch recorded by the 11th. This allows me to go back and refine them before launch and after launch if I feel like it. It also leaves plenty of time for me to create the marketing resources that are required for the social networking. When I launch on the 24th I’ll have them all recorded. I won’t have to worry that I can’t meet my schedule.

If you want to try frontloading your own tasks and goals here are a few tips to help you along the way.

  1. Start with the end in mind. Start with your long term goal and then work backwards. Write down your quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals as well as the tasks necessary to get you there. These process goals are landmarks you can tick off so that you feel you are moving forwards. When I finish this episode I will tick off Season 2 Episode 7 on my whiteboard and I’ll know I only have 5 to go. It’s really great for drive.
  2. Determine what is truly important. Prioritize the activities that will allow you to progress towards achieving your goals and do them first. The other stuff can wait. That’s episode 3 of this podcast. Go back and have a listen.
  3. Get an early start. If you get up an hour earlier than your competition every day and do something productive, you will have a 300 hour advantage over the course of a year. Think about how much can be accomplished with 300 extra hours!
  4. Don’t multi-task. It drives down performance and wastes time. Look back at episode 10 for a full episode on that topic.
  5. Just getting started often results in completing an important task. Look back to Episode 9 for advice on that one.


Summing up here I’d say that killing the microwave mindset involves waking up and realizing that time is slipping through your fingers and following the advice of American author H Jackson Brown Jr, who says

“You must take action now that will move you towards your goals. Develop a sense of urgency in your life.”

One of the known traits of highly productive and successful people, companies, and countries and a trait that makes the difference between the average and the superior performers is commonly known to be that they have developed “A SENSE OF URGENCY”. If you want to move forward from the microwave mentality and take on the challenge that compounding your energy and reap huge rewards from small, seemingly insignificant actions, then you need to start now and strategize your way ahead.

It’s advice that flows from the productivity world from everywhere I look. Bob Proctor says “Everyone should have a sense of urgency – it is getting a lot done in a short period of time in a calm and confident manner.” Les Brown says  “We have to live life with a sense of urgency so not a minute is wasted.” And Ralph Marston says “Success requires both urgency and patience. Be urgent about making the effort, and patient about seeing the results.”


Your call to action this week is to look at a goal, perhaps a skill that you want to learn, and schedule a period, a realistic period of learning for it. If you want to learn new editing software, for example, It could be an exercise regime or cooking or something else, but schedule a couple of frontloading sessions perhaps over a weekend for it, maybe 3 hours each day, or more if you can handle it, but keep it realistic. - Then schedule a month of 20-minute sessions each day for you to master it. Take the techniques I have discussed today and make them yours.


I hope this has been an interesting topic for you. I find it all quite fascinating and I present it here as I hope you will do too.

Izey Victoria Odiase “Our need for instant gratification is the reason we’re drawn to liars and hot air blowers.” Beware of the instant fix or shortcut to your long term goals. It’s rarely a reality.


Thanks yet again for choosing to spend your valuable time here with me and as always - 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
  • Please follow my personal account on Twitter and Instagram @fight_director or follow the show on Twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @Filmproproductivity
  • Thanks for supporting the show by subscribing, spreading the word and leaving an AWESOME review.


Thanks: A Himitsu
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: