FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY & SUCCESS

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October 27, 2019  

DON’T DO ME A FAVOUR - Episode 39

 This episode is sponsored by Magic Monkey Films
 
Hello and welcome to Film Pro Productivity, the podcast which helps film professionals and other creatives to live a more focused, effective and HAPPY life. My name is Carter Ferguson and this is EPISODE 39 – DON’T… DO ME A FAVOUR
 
PLEASE NOTE THAT THROUGHOUT THIS TRANSCRIPT I AM USING THE UK SPELLING OF THE WORD. THIS IS EXACTLY THE SAME MEANING AS THE US SPELLING "FAVOR".
 
Today I’m going into another in my TELL IT LIKE IT IS series of shows which have proven to be very successful in the past – These are episodes where I talk about a problem which it’s likely we may all have come up against but which out of politeness or awkwardness or some other reason we just don’t discuss. This is one which has bit me in the ass a good few times over the years. Before I get into it though, I am increasingly conscious that I may come across as a moany old git, but I do draw upon my own experiences for these shows, and offer them up in good spirit not in the name of negativity but as signposts of danger, and with the hope that through my failures you will prosper.
Benjamin Franklin said
· Most people RETURN small favours,
· ACKNOWLEDGE medium ones
· and REPAY greater ones
· with INGRATITUDE. - UNQUOTE
For me, this has proven to be one of the greatest TRUTHS of life. Oh yes - today we are talking about FAVOURS.
 
We all know this of course: a favour is a common thing - the dictionary describes it as: an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual. Synonyms include a good turn, service, kind act, good deed, act of kindness, kindness, courtesy, indulgence. And let me add that it something that is given with no expectation of return.
Today though, I need to dig deeper than that.
 
The first thing I want to say is that there’s a MARKETING RULE called the RULE OF RECIPROCITY – which says, “we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided for us.” If someone buys you a birthday gift therefor or invites you to a party, you’d do well to remember to invite them or buy them one in return. This isn’t necessarily because we are inherently good humans, but “by virtue of the reciprocity rule…we feel obligated to the future repayment of favours, gifts, invitations, and the like.” In other words, reciprocity is a deeply-ingrained human behaviour. It would appear in fact, that all people, from all societies, practice this rule.
 
So with a favour these days comes an unspoken, inference for some people of a return of that favour. In fact, we often hear a response of I owe you one when a favour is received. I just want to raise this here, as this is in fact where some of the muddiness in regard to favours is rooted. That muddiness of favours goes both ways btw.
William Hazlitt said “Our friends are generally ready to do everything for us, except the very thing we wish them to do.” unquote
I first realise that I had a problem with people “doing me a favour” when I was directing my first short film, a 3 part mini-series we called The Rage based on the 28 days later films – The film currently has millions of hits on Youtube incidentally, and voted 5th best fan film in the world by dreadcentral.com a few years back – so check it out. That all sounds great I know, but it was just a low budget film we did for fun, which people gave their time for free to complete and which we took very seriously.
 
One day, as a first time director, I was trying to deal with a problem of rain hitting the lens and a moving camera, which looks really bad btw, when an actor friend of mine who was part of a group in front of the camera got rather upset with me – probably for not explaining what the issue was. He pulled me aside and announced to me that he was doing me a FAVOUR in being in the film and he threatened to leave. In order to keep things moving, I apologised but I have been kinda reeling from it ever since.
 
You see that “friend” was doing me NO FAVOURS AT ALL by threatening to abandon the project if I didn’t, in effect, obey him. The whole thing was difficult and even now, 12 years on, I never forgot it.
 
This wasn’t the last time that someone let me down very badly as they were “doing me a favour” though. Another actor on another job didn’t realise, somehow, that he was being paid to act in one of my films. He turned up 2 hours late and put the whole days shooting in jeopardy. In his mind, it just wasn’t important and he was just “helping me out”. It was a big disappointment which nearly resulted in me playing his part as we got that close to the edge there something had to be done.
 
I’ve realised through happenings like this that I needed to introduce rules to protect myself in future. I’m going to share these rules with you today. Do with them as you will.
The FIRST OF THESE RULES was based on the experiences I just described – It is …NEVER LET ANYONE ON BOARD WHO THINKS THAT THEY ARE JUST DOING YOU A FAVOUR, as in my experience they will let you down, and when that happens - they will be doing you no favour at all.
 
Regular listeners will know that as a result of many very disappointing experiences in film making such as this, I have currently given up on making films, but for arguments sake: If someone wanted to come on to one of my projects, whether a low to no budget or a commercial endeavour with fees attached, they have to do so because they genuinely want to be involved, because it interests them or because it benefits them in some way. I no longer let anyone on board if they are “doing me a favour”. If you do this, you are introducing a chaotic uncontrollable element to the production which could cause you an immense amount of trouble in the long run.
 
Things like this - as I never did have much of a budget - just made the whole thing even more difficult. Incidentally, I never use the FOR EXPOSURE argument when making films and I always played fair on low budget films. I poured my money, time and energy into them, ensured that cast and crew were treated well and I never walked away with anything more than those that took part. I also assumed the position of the rule of reciprocity and time and time and time again in return, I helped those that had helped me.
 
As an aside, I recently had to drop out of a low to no budget endeavour in which I had committed my time, energy and resources, including significant finance before discovering that the project leader was receiving fees when no one else was. I got absolutely scammed beyond belief on that one and I will be talking about scams in a future show, but please please please be careful out there and never assume that you are being treated fairly. This was yet another boot in the balls which led to my getting out of filmmaking. I honestly tell these stores on the show here and think, people must think me a total idiot, well, maybe I am, but this world that we live in is a damned dangerous place, even for the wary.
 
On the flip side btw I have also learned that when I am “doing someone a favour” a real favour not a fake favour, is not a contract for future return of favour.
As I said before a favour is “something that is given with no expectation of return.“
If I ever do a favour for someone, I’ll first ensure that
  1. I can actually deliver it, and
  2. if not I’ll utilise that powerful productivity technique I detailed in episode 2 - by saying NO - and
  3. I’ll suggest alternatives.
If, however, I do help someone out I’ll do so without expectation of any favour in return.
I suppose I learned this one the hard way too – I noticed that it’s particularly prevalent if I do a film or TV production a FAVOUR by reducing my rates. I can’t recall a time where reducing my rates, or lending equipment or props has ever led to a proper wage somewhere down the line, or a return of that favour later. It’s in this form of kindness that I’ve been kinda burned many times in the past.
 
I once lent swords to the Brunton Theatre for their Christmas pantomime. When the show ended its run though, they didn’t return them to me. I chased them down and they eventually did drop them back, about 6 weeks later - with one of them broken beyond repair. That’s how my favour of lending swords rather than renting them was replaced.
A feature film I was second unit director on in Glasgow did something similar. I lent their art department a cracking blunted butchers knife prop, and a US ARMY ID pass straight from the set of the 28 weeks later feature film with a value of over £200. I never saw them again. That’s how that favour was returned.
 
I lent a prop pistol to the ORAN MOR, a theatre in Glasgow for a show. That was about 6 years ago. They repaid that favour by losing it and never paying me for its loss. I chased down the director and they said I’m sorry it’s gone. Not even an offer of repayment. Like so many losses over the years, usually in padding that I have bought for actors in productions, I wrote the loss off. I in effect bankrolled their unprofessional-ism and they likely went off to fuck up someone else’s good will.
 
If I list any more examples or list the number of freebies I’ve done for companies that later turned out to have budgets etc you will think me an even bigger idiot than before - a kind idiot, but an idiot nonetheless – and you would be 100% correct. For years I was that idiot, but not so now.
 
So to reiterate THE SECOND RULE I now have about all this is an important one that DOING SOMEONE A FAVOUR IS NOT A CONTRACT FOR FUTURE RETURN ON FAVOUR. It’s also not a guarantee of any kind of future re-employment if you give someone a special deal on a freelancer daily rate etc or of return of respect. If you get your head into this space – you are setting yourself up for future disappointment.
 
My THIRD AND FINAL RULE is that if I ever lend someone something, for example, a film production, that an INDIVIDUAL – an actual responsible human being - MUST SIGN FOR IT, ACKNOWLEDGE ITS VALUE AND GUARANTEE TO TAKE CARE OF IT OR PAY FOR IT IF IT GETS BROKEN. More ideally they should RENT IT FROM ME WITH A DAILY OR WEEKLY RATE and an ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF IT’S VALUE THAT THEY WILL REPAY IF THEY LOSE OR BREAK IT, OR PAY EXTRA RENT IF THEY RETURN IT LATE.
 
I think sometimes we can get a little confused in the creative industries and lose sight of the fact that show business is still a business. There are just too many unscrupulous people out there that will take advantage of us if we do not.
 
To sum all this up, you must never do anyone a favour with the expectation of gaining something in return or doing the favour without your true commitment to it in the first place.
 
A favour is just a favour– it does not legally create a debt of anything owed back to you in some way in return – or that you can later call upon to redeem. It’s just not a contract for future return of favour so don’t put any of your heart into it either as you will all too often be disappointed and that is bad for the soul.
Bryant McGill says that “Giving is the master key to success, in all applications of human life.”
So keep on giving back and helping others. This is not an order to deny kindness, or dismiss compassion, or even to avoid risk - far from it.
“Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin unquote
With that said though, I hope that my 3 rules will be helpful to you as you navigate your life and work. These are just my rules, but you may find them helpful.
  • Never let anyone on board who thinks that they are just doing you a favour.
  • Doing someone a favour is not a contract for future return on favour.
  • If I ever lend something, that an individual – an actual responsible human being - must sign for it, acknowledge its value and guarantee to take care of it or pay for it if it gets broken.
Call To Action
Your call to action today is simply to consider what I’ve been talking about and take it forward into your life. Can you remember a time when one or all of these things have happened to you? Make a deal with yourself not to let it happen again.
________
 
I think as freelancers, creatives or just as human beings we often you do favours for people out of desperation – perhaps to be liked more or to be part of “the in-crowd” or because we are desperate to make the best impression or to feel more wanted or appreciated.
 
I did this episode as I felt this to be an oft-abused kindness which affects us all and I hope it’s been an interesting episode for you. Helping others is good for the soul, and is one of the 5 a day for good mental health that I keep mentioning here. Look back to episode 4 for information about that one.
 

Now big news here for all of your regular listeners. Over the next three weeks I’m releasing a special SERIES WITHIN THE SERIES of 6 connected episodes which will be released at 7pm on two consecutive nights SUNDAY AND MONDAY each week. In these shows I’ll be looking at NAPOLEON HILL’S book THE LAW OF SUCCESS IN 16 LESSONS and I will be giving you some of the most incredible advice on the topic of success that you will ever hear. As always it’s being delivered to you completely free so if you aren’t tuning in and listening then you are going to be missing out big time.

As you know I try to make the shows accessible to all but this mini series in particular will be accessible to anyone from any walk of life so - if there’s a time to tell your friends to listen in IT’S NOW. If you want to know the secret of success, true success, not some made up fake sales programme about success, then the 3 hours of content that I will be releasing in those 6 episodes will lead you right there.

And when that series within the series finishes I will be releasing the mail bag or listeners questions show which I’ve been talking about in four weeks time - so if you want advice with a productivity problem, or would like to get a tell it like it is type response on some relevant topic, please get in touch via the contact pages on the Film Pro Productivity website as soon as you can. Please also try out the speak pipe voice recorder on the websites contact page where if you can ask the question in 45 seconds, you can leave a voice message. It had been so long since I got a message through it that I checked last week that it was still working. It does work, and I’d love to hear from you on it. You can just access it through your phone, it’s dead easy. Surf via your phones browser to the websites contact page which is something like www.filmproproductivity.com/contact and hit Start Recording on the orange speakpipe button and you are off. If you don’t like it you can try again before sending.

Finally thanks again to Ryan at Magic Monkey Films, he’s a magic guy and an awesome filmmaker and the sponsorship is greatly appreciated. There are still two episodes seeking sponsors this season so get in touch if you want to help.

 
For now though 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 filmproproductivity.com
• 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.
 
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Thanks: A Himitsu Music: Adventures by A Himitsu https://www.soundcloud.com/a-himitsuCreative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b... Music released by Argofox https://www.youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE Music provided by Audio Library https://www.youtu.be/MkNeIUgNPQ8 ––– • Contact the artist: x.jonaz@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/ahimitsuhttps://www.twitter.com/ahimitsu1 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgFwu-j5-xNJml2FtTrrB3A
October 20, 2019  

HOW DO YOU EAT AN ELEPHANT? - Episode 38

 
This episode is sponsored by Shannon Sutton
 
In today’s episode, I’m going to be talking once again about HABITS. I’ve gone into them before in episode 13 - HABIT FORMING FOR A BETTER LIFE and I will be coming back to them again. The more you do something, the stronger and more efficient the connection becomes. Habit-forming, you see, is yet another essential part of self-improvement.
 
In episode 13 I used the quote by Aristotle "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
And forming STRONG HABITS - really working to ingrain them into your daily routine allows you to focus the finite amount of will power or shall I call it MENTAL ENERGY you have at your command to make things happen.
 
Habitually doing things that create or maintain a positive aspect to your life and work means that you can focus your daily time and energy into new things. Habit-forming, if you want to get ahead in whatever you are trying to do, just cannot be dismissed.
Aristotle also wrote that “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
and a long time ago I realised the power of this premise would allow me to make enormously complex endeavours, simple.
 
Before I was successful in the world of film and TV I used to direct and design dramatic action which took place at large scale outdoor fire festivals. The stories were told visually using large, like 10-foot tall backpack puppets which were lit up from the inside, made by groups of people from the community and artists who had been brought in to oversee. Performances took place as part of a parade of lanterns held by thousands of people who passed repeating scenes of action as they headed for a destination surrounding a bonfire etc.
 
As the processions reached the end of their journey they watched as the elements of the dramatic story they had passed en route now came together to form a full and connected story – which was a great spectacle.
 
These events had literally thousands of people involved, and a bunch of professionals like myself coordinating them. I found them very engaging and really quite easy to put together though, as I simply treated each part of the complex beast as a separate piece which in turn had many subsections to it. I remember very well being in meetings where others who tried to imagine the whole escapade as a single thing would be blowing a gasket, and me calming them as in my eye it was really all very easy. It had its difficulties don’t get me wrong, but the solutions were often simple.
 
As I think back now I realise that it was my first foray into the world of productivity techniques and I’ve taken the principle, that complex things can be broken down into a series of smaller working parts, into my life and work.
 
Lesson
“Habits are formed by the repetition of particular acts. They are strengthened by an increase in the number of repeated acts. Habits are also weakened or broken, and contrary habits are formed by the repetition of contrary acts.” ~ Mortimer J. Adler unquote
I first heard the term ELEPHANT HABITS in an OPTIMIZE video by Brian Johnson, where he referred to the Book HABIT STACKING by Steven (SJ) Scott.
 
HABIT STACKING is a big subject but I’ll go into it a little here – It’s a simple way to get stuff done by GROUPING TOGETHER SMALL TASKS INTO PATTERN CHAINS and 'HABIT CHAINING'. Of grouping together small activities into a routine which you link to a habit already set in your day. This makes the routine memorable and anchors your new habits to an existing trigger, therefore making them easier to form.
 
My morning habit chain might go like this:
 
Wake up, Go to the loo, a minute of stretching, Brew a pot of coffee, Brush teeth, Floss, Shower, Make breakfast & drink coffee, Take vitamins, Mouth wash, Put washing and or/ dishwasher on, refer to my whiteboard list of things to do, pack my bag, Grab my swim stuff, head to the car.
 
Incidentally, I make packing my swimming stuff part of my morning habit of getting ready to leave the house as it keeps my habit of daily swimming in check. I hang my wet swimming gear up in the bathroom at night, so that in the morning as brush my teeth and head out I pick it up from where it has dried overnight, and I take it out into the car, ready for my later habit of going swimming that I talked about in the last episode. Then when I go for a swim, everything is there and I am ready.
A very simple example of HABIT STACKING given by an Esquire magazine article on the topics is this: “Never remember to floss? Work it into your existing habits by flossing right before brushing your teeth. Assuming you're remembering to do that one that is...”
In the HABIT STACKING book, Scott explains that not all habits are equal though and that the mistake people make is - they don’t take the time to UNDERSTAND WHAT IT TAKES TO BUILD THEM - and that it’s important to create a distinction between the different habits that you’re trying to form.
 
He says there are three types of habits that you should add to a routine:
 
1. Keystone habits
2. Support habits
3. And Elephant habits
 
KEYSTONE HABITS can have a positive impact on multiple areas of your life—even if you’re not intentionally trying to improve them.
 
SUPPORT HABITS. Scott explains that not every habit can be a priority. In fact, you can only focus on a handful of keystone habits before you’ll feel overwhelmed, which is why it’s important to form “support habits.” These habits support the achievement of an important keystone habit.
 
And finally, ELEPHANT HABITS which is what I want to focus on today
 
– There’s a joke that kids tell or dad’s and uncles who are trying to be cool. It goes along the lines of How do you eat an elephant? With the response - One bite at a time. It’s not particularly funny but it’s exactly what is meant by the term ELEPHANT HABITS. The idea is that whenever you’re faced with a large complex goal, all you need to do is chip away at it in small chunks.
 
Many people don’t apply this mindset to their lives. When they’re forced to tackle large projects, they procrastinate or avoid them completely because the tasks seem insurmountable. This is exactly the mindset that I fought against during the fire festivals.
Scott goes on to say that Elephant habits are designed to overcome the natural resistance that we all feel whenever we’re forced to do a potentially UNPLEASANT TASK too. And this is a something I still struggle with a little.
 
I know something must be done, but I avoid starting because dedicating a few days to it is a very unpleasant idea. An elephant habit, however, will allow you to tackle it in smaller increments.
Steven Scott says that “The goal here is to chip away at a simple but time-consuming project in five to fifteen-minute daily increments.”
He gives examples including De-cluttering your home, Organizing paperwork and Studying for an exam.
 
I use elephant habits literally every day. My increments for this podcast are much longer chunks but these chunks of times literally allow me to tackle each one of the 18 current episodes one chunk at a time. I do the same for learning on UDEMY courses. The issue I have had with them though is staying the course, literally, so I’ve begun to set long term deadlines for learning new things. At the moment though everything is put to the side as I prioritise this show and the many many fight jobs that I have on right now. The fight jobs are good work with great companies, but each time they come up they slow my inertia of podcast work, so beware of that.
 
Back to the HABIT STACKING book though and it says that “When you tell yourself that a task “only” takes five minutes of your time, it’s easier to convince yourself to get started. And what usually happens is, once you get started, you’ll find yourself doing more of that activity than you originally planned.” I certainly find this to be the case.
 
Huge tasks that I have used ELEPHANT HABITS to complete include, working at my parents house after they passed away to get it ready for sale, again though that took more than 15 minutes each visit, but a pattern of habit helped me achieve it, tackling risk assessments for involved and complex fight scenes and learning new things - it’s here that I do try and limit my time to shorter smaller bites as my ageing brain sometimes finds processing new content to be hard going.
 
Summing Up
Jim Rohn says that “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
Most creatives have a far-reaching vision which is limited only by the time and finances we have available. Both these resources can be extended however and larger and more complex tasks and projects can be completed if we approach them as a sum of their parts. Research shows it only takes between 21 and 40 days to develop a habit and building an elephant habit of chipping away at the tasks involved in creating your larger greater and more complex vision, is well worth the effort.
 
Call To Action
 
Your call to action today is to take a large or unpleasant task that you have to complete and look at how you can build an elephant habit, perhaps by attaching your habit to something you do already, to achieve it.
 
Ending
 
Next week’s episode is another in my TELL IT HOW IT LIKE style shows, and it’s called DON’T DO ME A FAVOUR.
 
Please bear in mind too that I’m still looking for your help with an upcoming MAILBAG OR LISTENERS QUESTIONS show so if you want advice on a productivity topic or to tell me about a problem you’re having then please get in touch via the contact pages on the Film Pro Productivity website. There’s a speak pipe option on there so if you’d like to leave a voice message please do use that option.
Let me end today’s show with the words of Elbert Hubbard who reminds us that we should “Cultivate only the habits that you are willing should master you.”
So don’t let bad habits take control of your life, limit your vision or steal your energy and it should be noted that
Elbert Hubbard also said “Happiness is a habit – cultivate it.”
Now - take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’, 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 filmproproductivity.com
• 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.
 
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Thanks: A Himitsu Music: Adventures by A Himitsu https://www.soundcloud.com/a-himitsuCreative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b... Music released by Argofox https://www.youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE Music provided by Audio Library https://www.youtu.be/MkNeIUgNPQ8 ––– • Contact the artist: x.jonaz@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/ahimitsuhttps://www.twitter.com/ahimitsu1 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgFwu-j5-xNJml2FtTrrB3A
October 20, 2019  

SWIM FOR YOUR LIFE - Episode 37

Last week, in a longer than usual episode, I spoke about the lessons I’ve learned from several successful crowdfunding campaigns. If that’s a topic that interests you then please go back and have a listen and if you are on a podcasting app right now then please remember to hit subscribe so that you won’t miss any of the new shows I have coming up.
 
Today I’m releasing release two shorter more on point episodes. This episode SWIM FOR YOUR LIFE is the first show where I’ve talked about fitness… it’s a very limited immersion (pun very much intended) in a topic that I feel may make a big difference to your life if you can go with it. There’s plenty of other stuff in here too if you are a non-swimmer so stay tuned! Now not only is STAYING ACTIVE one of the ESSENTIAL 5 A DAY FOR GOOD MENTAL HEALTH elements, but it’s also vital if you are to be as productive as you possibly can be.
Maya Angelou says If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
Before I’ll be talking about why going for a swim is something you may want to consider every now and again – but if you’re already thinking that you can’t fit anything new into your schedule then stop right there. I’m not saying it’s gonna be easy for everyone but it’s possible and I absolutely know that listeners that work in the film industry are often working crazy hours in unrelenting schedules, BUT THE MINDSET of I CAN’T can easily be changed into one of I CAN.
 
To change your mindset, you need to have a clear picture of what it is that you want – so - you’ll need to have a vision of what it would be like for you. When you visualise things that you want, it will act as a powerful motivating force, particularly when you’re struggling to find time to do something new or stay focused on something you are already committed to.
 
Simply put, if you can visualise what you want it makes it easier to achieve that GOAL. With a plan or strategy in place, you can work towards achieving it.
 
So in June there I tackled my first social media fast, which I later did an episode on – give it a listen if you haven’t done so already, and right now as I put together this third season I’m on another social media fast to write and record it. During the first fast, I decided to do something which I had recommended we all do in an earlier show. To exchange a bad habit for a good one. I exchanged social media for swimming.
 
And here we are with sound effects to spice up this episode, recorded by my own fair hand this morning – actually that’s not true – I had to download it in the end, because a swim class of about 40 old women came in and started doing water aerobics but I’ll gloss over that - don’t worry I’ll fade it out sooner rather than later and you can relax again.
 
At a glance exchanging social networking time for swimming is probably somewhat strange, but when I say exchange a bad habit for a good one, there’s really no rules to it. We are the MASTERS OF OUR OWN DESTINY after all. I simply wanted to use the time which I had freed up for something productive and SWIMMING had been on my mind for some time.
 
In an earlier show, I can’t recall where, I talked about taking something you used to enjoy, whatever that may be, reading, making model aeroplanes, playing netball, skiing, drawing, painting, coding, going to the theatre, playing tabletop games, horse riding anything at all, and then finding time to fit it back into your life.
 
The concept of doing this is to me very attractive, but the time I once had seems to have slipped through my fingers somewhere along the road and now I need to exchange time I am kinda wasting in order to indulge myself in those hobbies that I once did, or indeed in completely new ones.
 
As a kid I swam every week, my mum or dad would run me and my brother to Coatbridge baths and we’d spend, I think it was 45 minutes a session, swimming and playing in the water… we’d even been part of a sub-aqua club and it had been a major part of my life growing up - but somewhere along the line, my priorities changed - I went off to college - and I just… stopped swimming. Getting into a pool suddenly seemed to me to be just too much bother.
 
Over the years, I have occasionally ended up in a pool but usually for fights which take place in water. I certainly never, until recently that is, got back into the swing of going there for fun or for fitness… and I avoided it for a number of reasons, I think primarily because I became quite self-conscious for a while, which as I’ve prepped this episode and spoken to a few people, seems to be the reason that most to stopped going. Others stopped because it no longer seemed fun because it was better to spend their time with friends. I looked into this and several studies say that 70 percent of kids will quit sports, including swimming, by age 13.
 
I feel myself to be very lucky to be trialling and testing the techniques tips and tricks which I bring to you here. Swimming has not only worked for me, but it’s one that I feel I should bring to you today as I continue to swim as often as I can. If you can get back into the habit of swimming your life and your fitness will improve in many ways.
 
Lesson
 
Perhaps when you read the title of today’s episode, you said to yourself. That’s an episode about why you should go swimming as it’s good for you. Well, yes - you are correct, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be swimming. I know several people that don’t actually like the water, but perhaps what I’m doing is somewhat interchangeable for running or cycling if that’s the case. I know at least one non-swimmer that goes to the swimming baths and walks breadths of the shallow end, and it’s never of course, too late to learn.
 
I’ve been rolling about the ground and staging fights for 24 years and swimming for me is a really great option for fitness as my body, especially my knees, is not particularly happy about me doing impact sports anymore. Running is OUT for me. I just can’t do it. I also have a gym membership which due to injury I’ve not been doing lately but swimming, on the other hand, is ideal.
 
An article in HEALTH DOT COM lists a number of a number of reasons you should be swimming. It says:
 
1. It's a total-body workout. Swimming tackles everything from sculpting your back to toning your arms—all without having to pick up a weight.
2. It's joint-friendly. If you're recovering from an injury and are eager to build strength, then look into starting a swimming routine to stay fit.
3. It puts your body through a range of movements, helping your muscles stay long and flexible.
4. It doesn't require fancy equipment. That's right; you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars to swim. All you need is a swimsuit.
5. It's a great way to burn calories. One hour of moderate swimming can burn around 500 calories.
If I were to add to that I’d say you should go swimming because
1. You don't need to be a professional swimmer to benefit from going for a swim. Have fun with it, and enjoy being in the water. It can be an awesome way to wake yourself up and get refreshed!
2. It gives you time to think. It slows you down for a period of considered time, which can allow you to plan things out that are troubling you and just unwind.
And the benefits of swimming also include:
· being a relaxing and peaceful form of exercise
· alleviating stress
· improving coordination, balance and posture
· providing good low-impact therapy for some injuries and conditions
· providing a pleasant way to cool down on a hot day
 
Summing Up
 
I don’t want to preach to you about all this - my aim here is simply to get you swimming, not go on and on about WHY it’s a good idea. I think you probably already know that.
I do want to add a few things though which might make the prospect more appealing.
· Going for a swim doesn’t necessarily take an hour. I never go swimming each day in fact for more than 30 minutes. I am in the changing rooms and changed in 5, showered in 1 minute more and then I’ve dived in and am swimming for the next 10-15 minutes – then I’m out dried and ready 10 minutes after that. And even If I only have 20 minutes I’ll still go for a swim, so that I keep myself in the habit.
  • Taking that a little further I’d point out that a five-minute swim is enough for me to get something out of it.
  • I can get swimming in btw even if I’m shooting on location. I simply identify the nearest pool to the filming locations and plan it in. I was shooting a feature this summer and it was hot hot hot and I made sure found time every day to get to the swimming and it felt great. I came back and saw the others sweating away and I thought. This is awesome.
  • One thing to consider too is that sometimes in the morning I’ll go for a swim, then shower, wash my hair and get ready there - before heading in to work.
  • At other times I’ll fit it into a lunch or shooting break.
  • I also try and find hotels if I’m shooting away from home that have their own pools.
  • And even if you are in one of those crazy shooting schedules, you can still plan for a swim on a day off.
It’s entirely possible to get a swim in, even with crazy long shooting days, if you put your mind to it.
 
And it is available in many places – although I appreciate it may not be easily available to all of you wherever you are on the planet.
 
Let me just add that many local councils or governing bodies do deals for regular swimmers. Glasgow charges a hefty £4.50 per swim but only £15 a month to swim in any one of their many facilities.
 
Call To Action
 
So have I convinced you? I hope so. Your call to action this week is to put a swim bag together of your swimsuit or shorts, a towel, goggles, shampoo or whatever you need to go for a swim and put it in your car or leave it by your front door.
 
At a point of your choosing within the next 7 days I ask you to take the plunge – literally – and go for a swim. When you get back home, I want you to hang your stuff up to dry and the next morning I want you to put it back in your bag and leave it once more by the door or in your car.
 
Build the habit of swimming as often as you can, and reap the benefits that it will bring you. Then check back in on me via social networking and let me know how you are getting on.
 
Ending
 
In the next episode, I’ll be talking in detail about habit-forming technique called Elephant Habits but I’ll finish today's show with the words of Aldous Huxley
There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.
Now - take control of your own destiny, keep on swimmin’, 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 filmproproductivity.com
• 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 https://www.soundcloud.com/a-himitsuCreative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b... Music released by Argofox https://www.youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE Music provided by Audio Library https://www.youtu.be/MkNeIUgNPQ8 ––– • Contact the artist: x.jonaz@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/ahimitsuhttps://www.twitter.com/ahimitsu1 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgFwu-j5-xNJml2FtTrrB3A
October 13, 2019  

CROWDFUNDING: LESSONS LEARNED - Episode 36

Today’s episode is sponsored by Outlander Stars

Hello and welcome to Film Pro Productivity, the podcast which helps film professionals and other creative people to live a more focused, effective and HAPPY life. My name is Carter Ferguson and this is EPISODE 36 – Crowdfunding: Lessons Learned

Intro

“If you launch your campaign with zero audience, you are launching to crickets.” — Khierstyn Ross “Crowdfunding Uncut” UNQUOTE

Today, I’m talking about crowdfunding - If you have ever considered running a campaign of your own then there’s a few things which I’ve picked up along the way that you might find useful.

As it’s still fresh in my memory and I’ve had a few messages about how I approach a campaign I thought it worth an episode. I see campaigns launched every week by filmmakers and artists and I’ve even seen a few film pros run them to get equipment or develop ideas. Running them efficiently and effectively and achieving success with them, however, is easier said than done.

But first things first - What is crowdfunding? According to Wikipedia, it is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. It goes on to say that in 2015, over US$34 billion – yes you heard me right BILLION) was raised worldwide by crowdfunding.

The modern crowdfunding model is generally based on three types of actors: the project initiator who PROPOSES THE IDEA OR PROJECT to be funded, individuals or groups who SUPPORT THE IDEA, and a moderating organization (or "platform") that BRINGS THE PARTIES TOGETHER to launch the idea.

It has been used to fund a wide range of for-profit, entrepreneurial ventures such as artistic and creative projects, medical expenses, travel, and community-oriented social entrepreneurship projects.

My experiences of crowdfunding are entirely based on the use of the platform IndieGoGo, but there are a myriad of well-known crowdfunding platforms with good to middling reputations. Some are perhaps better for business campaigns, others for creative purposes. The one I hear about most often is Kickstarter but the 10 most popular crowdfunding platforms in 2018 according to INC.com also included Patreon, GoFundMe, CrowdRise, PledgeMusic, Razoo, RocketHub and finally Give.

 “Before you even start building your crowdfunding page, Start building a crowd first.” — Roy Morejon of Command Partners UNQUOTE

So, just last week as I start this episode, I ran a crowdfunding campaign to raise finance for THIS season, but before I did so, as you may have heard in earlier shows, I thought long and hard about what I was getting myself into. I’ve done all this before, you see, and it’s a hell of an undertaking.

I’ve run 4 successful campaigns using the crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo, but with each campaign has come a great commitment of time and energy and a genuine commitment to delivering what I promise to those that have backed me. If you run a crowdfunding campaign and fail to deliver that which you promise, you will have a hell of a time getting anyone to trust you again.  

Even with my positive experiences in raising finance through crowdfunding in the past I was extremely cautious about running a new one now. One reason for this is that I believe you can only “drink so many times from the same well” and I have a rule about never running more than one in a year. I’d also say that with so many people at the same proverbial well, it can become muddied and make people less likely to back you. The other big reason that I really wasn’t keen was that it is a MASSIVE undertaking.

By tackling a fundraiser I was committing a vast amount of my time and energy to promoting and managing it and the cost, in loss of those valuable resources felt too great. I did run it though, successfully, and the primary thing that swayed me was this – By the very act of running the campaign, I would be promoting the show. Raising finance to support my endeavour was a very powerful second reason, but finding new ways to positively promote this show is really difficult and the peripheral promotional benefits which go with a crowdfunding campaign finally won me over.

Lesson

So let me get into some basics. There are some elements they say you should always do with a crowdfunding campaign - A Catchy Title, A Compelling Video, An Explicit Goal and Timeline, A good explanation of "Why" you are running it, A List of Costs, Great perks and regular Progress Updates.

If you think you can just roll up and put your hand out then you’re going to be disappointed. There are a few good examples that prove that a bad idea or even an improperly presented good one, will not hit its target. For example: 

  • Corey Feldman's 'Elev8or 2 Ascension' album only got 15% of its $100,000 target.
  • The reboot of TV show Good Times which only hit 1% of its $1,000,000 target figure.
  • And the sequel to the 2014 Nicolas Cage fiasco “Left Behind”. The original film scores 1% on rotten tomatoes, so you can imagine the powerful feeling that lay behind NOT FUNDING that Kickstarter.

Chris Muscarella of Field Company says about crowdfunding “Do your Homework. Trying to throw together a campaign in a few days and thinking that you will shoot the moon is highly unlikely.”

Crowdfunding is not an easy way to free money so if you are serious about raising capital in this way, you’re going to have to work hard for it.

Asking a bunch of people you do and don’t know to help you fund your dreams is far tougher and more time consuming than it sounds. It’s also a landscape which is changing all the time, so you can’t always, as I found out with my latest campaign, utilise the same techniques to get results. I’ll talk about that a little later.

Mihail Klenov of Half Bikes says “You must always be honest with your backers about what you do and why you do it.”

Each campaign or product is unique, but there are some things you can do to get closer to crowdfunding success.

  1. TRUST is probably the biggest issue when it comes to crowdfunding: When you have no prior record, you have to consider how you can generate credibility with backers. Simply stated - without TRUST you might not generate enough interest in your campaign and fail to meet your targets.
  2. CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLATFORM: This is essential and as I listed earlier, you have plenty of legitimate platforms to choose from. If you’re raising money for a film, then go to the platform where people who might want to back it go - Don’t go for a small local platform if there’s no interest in what you are pushing there already. Crowdfunding has an internet-driven worldwide audience, so go where the audience for your product or project is would be my advice.
  3. SET REALISTIC TARGETS AND A DEADLINE. Setting up the right targets and the time to achieve them is essential. If the target seems too outrageous, the backers simply won’t support you. And not only should you decide beforehand what your fund-raising goal is, but you should also specify timeline goals, production goals and any others needed to keep your project moving forward. This information proves you know what you are talking about and will allow your backers to get behind you.
  4. BUILDING INTEREST. This is a common fail in crowdfunding campaigns. Nine times out of ten you need to build interest in your campaign a good bit prior to it starting. This will help you to get an initial large boost to your goal. I kinda trailed that I was going to do this on the show here, but due to time constraints, I only got specific about it a few weeks before. I was aiming for the lowest amount that IndieGoGo allows though, so my target was as achievable as it could be and I didn’t feel too bad about it. One thing I must add is that most platforms will NOT put any effort into promoting your campaign for you. Generating interest in your specific campaign is entirely up to you, although occasionally you may get a random backer passing through on the platform. Just don’t rely on it.
  5. Fulfilment. This is one area that is so important. It’s also far trickier than it sounds. Your reputation hangs on your ability to not just deliver the crowdfunding goal, but also to provide your contributors with their rewards, perks or whatever you want to call them, in a timely manner.

Some problems that can be associated with fulfilment include:

  • Not budgeting for it.
  • Not budgeting for postage and packaging.
  • Communication problems: I have had quite a few issues with the delivery of perks for my campaign. I get email addresses from IndieGoGo as a download, but I made a rod for my own back by communicating with backers via Twitter and Facebook direct messaging, through the platform itself and via two different email addresses. My situation was further complicated by receiving three messages through my website’s contact page. Trying to collate and verify information from so many different sources was and still is a nightmare, so if you can, encourage all your backers to communicate to you through one email address. If you do that, life will be a lot easier, believe me.
  1. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Before you even start your crowdfunding campaign, do your research. Find out everything you need to know about crowdfunding - mine for success strategies. Not only should you know how to run a successful campaign, but you should also be aware of all the rules and regulations surrounding this funding source. This was an area on which I fell down a little on the last run. I had calculated just 5% in costs going to IndieGoGo, but the reality was that I was losing percentages of committed monies to credit card companies and even a £25 surcharge at the end to cover the disbursement of funds. Rather than the percentage of running costs for the campaign totalling 5% of the total it ended up at 14% through my not following the fine print.
  2. CREATE MARKETING MATERIALS. Once you know who your target audience is and, create high-quality marketing materials. Personalize materials to yourself and your message and if you are wondering what is most effective here. Its video. You must create video content, with you right out there on camera, if you are to be successful in raising finance. Your face will gain a backers trust. If you don’t appear on camera it makes backers uneasy. Get over your fear of cameras and get in front of one, or you will fail.
  3. MAKE THE REWARDS WORTHWHILE. While you're not REQUIRED to reward your backers, offering something in return for their support makes for a more successful campaign. Make sure that any reward you offer is worthwhile, as well. Some will be happy with just a thank you but try and ensure that at least one of your perks has value. I tried not to offer perks that involved postage and packing so my most valuable perk was the opportunity to sponsor an episode, and it worked. Without that perk, I’d never have hit the target.
  4. Clay Herbert of Fund Your Dream says “The best campaigns I have worked with tell a specific story to a specific group of people.” So with that in mind, my next tip is GET PERSONAL… That’s why I say get in front of the camera and talk - When people feel that they know you, they'll feel more comfortable with, and trust in, your goals. Opening up about yourself and your situation is a great way to help your campaign see more success.
  5. PROMOTE IT. Once you've published your crowdfunding campaign, start spreading the word. Share your campaign on social media, with family and friends, on blogs and anywhere else where you can get it out there. The wider your reach, the more potential you have for investors to see it.
  6. It’s essential to talk to your backers throughout the entire process. This also helps to build trust. While you don't need to tell them every detail, be as open and transparent as possible. Don't just pitch them or try to sell to them either.

With all that advice given, here are a few tips on what NOT to do too.

  1. E-BEGGING. This is something I detest and another reason that I think long and hard before running any crowd funder: According to URBAN DICTIONARY.com, this is when some pretentious asshole (usually on Youtube) decides to solicit "donations" from his or her audience. Sometimes they try to hide their e-begging under the guise of elaborate "movie projects" on sites like indiegogo.com with laughable incentives like "Donate 100.00 and get your name in the credits" ... The irony is that most of these youtube "movies" cost only a fraction of the donations received. The e-beggar then pockets the rest as profit and then laughs all the way to the bank. E-begging preys on stupid people but if you aren't a complete sheep, you won't be fooled by e-beggars.
  2. EXCEEDING YOUR TARGET. Yes, it happens. I had considered what would happen if I exceeded the campaign total, and I implemented it - My stretch goal was unspecific though. I just said any additional money would go into promotion for the show. I didn’t mess about with it as I had already met my target and I was happy with that. One thing to be cautious of - is not being able to deliver your promised rewards so be cautious and have a plan for this eventuality. IF YOUR CAMPAIGN GOES VIRAL, YOU BETTER HAVE A BIT OF AN IDEA HOW YOU ARE GOING TO PROCEED.
  3. ALL OR NOTHING. Some great projects fail simply because their fundraising goal is just too high and the fundraising platforms will not distribute any funds if you don’t hit your target. Many campaigns raise a sizeable amount but get nothing because they didn’t meet the funding goal. Be prepared. Do your research. Don’t fall on this really obvious detail.
  4. NOT ENOUGH TIME. New Crowd funders fail to understand the process involved in crowdfunding and the need to build excitement and a community before launch. There is just not enough time during a campaign to do the outreach necessary for success. You need to build an audience and then launch a campaign. You will never have enough time to do it all at once.
  5. And I’m going to end this list of mistakes with one just as problematic. TOO MUCH TIME. Yes, you heard me right. As I said earlier, running these campaigns is massively time-consuming. Epically energy absorbing in fact, and your promotional content will be swallowed up with each and every day that you are committed to it. Just as damaging to your efforts will be finding yourself chained 24/7 to a campaign that goes on forever. When I planned the campaign for this season, I set it at 7 days, and even knowing I was setting myself up for a tight deadline, I went with it as I knew I could create and deliver the publicity and social media interaction required for that period. If I'd run it for a month I’d have needed a month of marketing materials and ideas. Running a shorter campaign for a realistic amount was for me the only option.

Peter Dering of the founder of Peak Design says “Something we have done really well with our campaigns is that we are extremely transparent. We go to great lengths and to create and justify our designs.”

Earlier I mentioned that some things have changed as I’ve run several campaigns. On this last campaign I realised that the social networks are hobbling our ability to use them for promotion – for example, Twitter no longer previews YOUTUBE. Instagram only shows its own content and Facebook is hit and miss with its 3rd party previews. You may have to create content to be hosted Separately on each platform now. For the record, Instagram is limited to 60 seconds but you can kinda get around this with Instagram TV. Facebook limits its own videos to 15 minutes which is quite healthy, and Twitter allows videos of up to 2 minutes and 20 seconds. If you are putting out video content therefor, perhaps put out short 60 second videos so that the same content can be hosted on all three platforms…

I’m going to wrap this up now but here’s a great bit of productivity advice to add to all that I’ve said already – I used a really simple hack with my first campaign which ended up at 156% of my target. That hack was that I didn’t start from scratch. I found similar campaigns which had done well and worked up my content to be based on those samples.

It’s a hack that only goes so far but one that works. Use someone else’s successful campaign as a blueprint to build a new one of your own.

One example that I include now in every campaign is the use of a pie chart to show where the funds will go. It’s helpful to potential backers and it’s helpful for you in planning how you will place the funds when you raise them, but it wasn’t my idea. If you plan to run a campaign, spy out a few that you like and which you think really work and use them to inspire you.

Summing Up

Thanks for listening to this longer episode than usual. I just want to remind you once again that the primary reason that I eventually bit the bullet and ran a campaign for this season was, NOT financial, but to raise the profile of this podcast. Crowdfunding is a powerful force and for creative people, it’s one which you should learn to harness and embrace. It’s not however just about the money.

Call To Action

Your call to action this week is not to run a campaign, but to consider how it could help you achieve your dreams. Let it open your mind to possibilities you had not previously considered.

Ending

I’ll end today's show with the words of Anne Frank, who said: “No one has ever become poor by giving.”

Thanks to all of you who helped spread the word or backed my campaign for this season – and thank you all for listening here today – now take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’, and join me next time on Film Pro Productivity.

  • The music you can hear right now is Adventures by A Himitsu
  • You can view the show notes for this episode on the official website filmproproductivity.com
  • 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.

References:

 

 

Thanks: A Himitsu Music: Adventures by A Himitsu https://www.soundcloud.com/a-himitsuCreative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b... Music released by Argofox https://www.youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE Music provided by Audio Library https://www.youtu.be/MkNeIUgNPQ8 ––– • Contact the artist: x.jonaz@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/ahimitsuhttps://www.twitter.com/ahimitsu1 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgFwu-j5-xNJml2FtTrrB3A

October 6, 2019  

DEVELOPING A SENSE OF URGENCY - Episode 35

Today’s episode is sponsored on behalf of CANCERSUPPORTSCOTLAND.ORG
 
Hello and welcome to Film Pro Productivity, the podcast which helps film professionals and other creatives to live a more focused, effective and HAPPY life. My name is Carter Ferguson and this is EPISODE 35 – DEVELOPING A SENSE OF URGENCY
Professor of Leadership at the Harvard Business School, John P. Kotter, says “A higher rate of urgency does not imply ever-present panic, anxiety, or fear. It means a state in which COMPLACENCY is virtually absent.”
I talked about A SENSE OF URGENCY last season in my episode entitled DRIVE, but for me, it’s really one of the cornerstones of productivity itself. John Kotter’s quote there says it very well. This is not about panic, anxiety or fear (although you may have to fight them off a wee bit along the way) it’s about killing complacency and replacing it with something else. An "inner energy" that drives your forward, to complete on your plans, to hit deadlines and to achieve great things.
 
This is one of the productivity terms which I have drawn from the business world, but in all honesty, I’m not quite sure who coined it. It may have been Brian Tracy or H. Jackson Brown, but I’m going to settle for on John Kotter as he has literally written a book about it.
 
In the business world, according to an article written by Annie Sisk in Bizfluent.com, “a sense of urgency” refers to communicating to an individual or team that it’s imperative to act promptly, decisively and without delay. The phrase can be applied in the context of leadership and management, or in the field of marketing and sales. In both cases, the term describes a positive state of mind that smart marketers, managers and business leaders use to evoke in those they market to, manage and lead.
In the context of the individual film pro or freelance creative, we can utilise a sense of urgency in all that we do as who manage ourselves and our careers.
 
I’ve been keen to do an episode about this for a while, and as I’m pulling all my energy into creating this new season the time now seems right.
 
I’ve been nurturing the sense of urgency that comes with having to create 18 publicly released Season 3 episodes requires, but even with that proverbial gun at my head, it’s been a slow start.
 
Like many things in productivity, it’s easy enough to understand the principles but sometimes difficult to put it into action. Distraction and procrastination, those two ninja-like enemies of productivity are ever-present.
 
The crowdfunding campaign helped me to focus and its success gave me new energy, but at the same time, it’s been a huge distraction. My mind had to go into a different place to raise finance and although the overall experience was very positive, and the campaign was successful, I’ve found switching out of “fundraiser mode” and back into “podcast host” mode quite a challenge - but you wouldn’t be listening to this now if I hadn’t gotten over it.
 
As regular listeners know, I like to utilise large whiteboards to keep my mind clear and organised. A few days ago I tidied them all up and started making daily schedules of tasks specific not only to my season deadlines, but also to roll out the application of funds raised. My sense of urgency is driven by these lists, and when I feel like taking a break or find my self being distracted I can go to them to find new things to do. This keeps the momentum going that fuels the feeling of urgency.
 
Even this strategy has had its problems though as yesterday I got caught up in a minor task, that of designing a promotional postcard for the show, that ended up taking me most of the day. PRIORITISING within my lists has now become a primary directive in my efforts.
 
Today I start, while my mind is fresh, and with yesterday’s distraction task out of the way, by working on the podcast first and foremost. Other tasks, which are perhaps less time-sensitive and which require less mental energy are deferred to later in the day.
It’s with this system of checklists, prioritised tasks and a designated timescale for delivery (remember Parkinson’s law here) that my sense of urgency is being honed and leading me to success.
 
Probably the most powerful quote about URGENCY I’ve come across is from Martin Luther King, Jr. He said:
We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there "is" such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.
Our own deadlines and goals may feel less important than that to which Martin Luther King refers, but we can still take energy and understanding from his words. We must fuel our own internally-derived sense of direction, motivation and compulsion to move or act in ways which benefit our lives, our projects, our careers, our passions and our family.
 
We must also learn to acknowledge the times when we assume an “I’ll get to it someday,” attitude. Putting off spending quality time with your child for example is not the same as putting off replying to an email. Get your priorities straight when honing your sense of urgency.
 
Let’s talk for a bit about why having a SENSE OF URGENCY matters. I’m going to be referring here to the article in Bizfluent.com again, as I’m not across the MARKETING and LEADERSHIP applications of the SENSE OF URGENCY concept. I’ll link to it as always in the show notes, which can be accessed through your podcasting app, or on my official website filmproproductivity.com
“There’s significant power in employees and customers acting right “now.” Complacency, after all, is the enemy of progress. A failure to act promptly means that opportunities may be lost. Ultimately this will negatively affect the financial health of the company…” and I’d add to the financial health of the freelancer too…
Thinking of ourselves as businesses is a definite sticking point for some creative people. I say, GET OVER IT, and LIVE A BETTER LIFE.
 
Lacking a sense of urgency in matters like this often leads to important issues continually being placed on the back burner. If we can learn to be responsive, flexible and nimble in our ability to evaluate and make decisions about new challenges and opportunities - we can only benefit by it.
 
To foster a sense of urgency, start with yourself. When you understand the “why” behind a particular goal or objective, and more specifically the “why now,” you must put it into action.
 
The article in BIZFLUENT says.
 
  • “Many successful managers and leaders find that increasing a sense of urgency around a particular project or goal is much easier when you get the employees' buy-in on the project from the start. Fostering a feeling of ownership and investment in the project makes a huge difference for participants.” If you’ve ever had to manage a creative team then this makes a lot of sense.
  • It goes on to say that “Another proven strategy is to emphasize outcome-based results. Focusing on observable, measurable results helps you identify a successful outcome. This, in turn, means you can develop an internal sense of reward and satisfaction for completing a task, which helps increase your motivation level for the next project.” This is something I talk about in my 4 disciplines of execution episode.
  • Finally, it says, “work to identify the reasons behind complacency in your team or workforce (I’d add, or in yourself). Most people seek fulfillment and satisfaction in their work. If they’re losing their motivation and their sense of pride in a job well-done as a group, there’s something that's contributing to their complacency and diminishing their all-important sense of urgency.” If that;s the case, it must be identified if you are to move past it.
Brian Tracy loves this topic and he’s an awesome guy so I love him for his insight on it. He talks about creating a BIAS FOR ACTION and says
“Most people talk the talk, but never really walk the walk. You need to treat action steps with a SENSE OF URGENCY. If something is important then learn to ‘do it now’. Don’t put things off - get them done, TODAY.”
Summing Up
 
A sense of urgency helps turn “someday” and “later” into “today” and “now.” What’s that quote in fact that I’ve used here before? Someday is not really a day of the week you know… It’s kinda funny but it’s true.
 
If your bias for action is to put it off till tomorrow then you need to start reprogramming yourself and get rid of that delaying crutch. Change up your tempo to something a bit more lively, and as I’ve warned many times before - don’t wait for the planets to get into just the right alignment before you move – if you do that, THE RIGHT TIME will slip through your fingertips. BUILD MOMENTUM remember it’s much easier to keep a body in motion, than it is to initiate that motion (BRYAN TRACY unquote) and PLAN YOUR WAY - decide on your goals, develop a list of the action steps you need to take, prioritize the list then EXECUTE IT – If you do this you’ll get into what they call a STATE OF FLOW, when all your senses are heightened and every element of your being is working towards a common goal. Finally, STAY ENERGISED, keep up your fitness level, drink enough fluids and eat properly so that you can MAINTAIN YOUR STATE OF READINESS.
 
Call To Action
 
Your call to action today is to utilise something known as the OWN PRINCIPLE to get you started. OWN has you ask yourself 3 questions, and I want you to ask yourself them right now.
  • O– asks WHAT OUTCOME DO I WANT?
  • W - asks WHY DO I WANT THIS?
  • And N - ends with WHAT CAN I DO NOW TO ACHIEVE MY OUTCOMES?
That’s OWN. OUTCOME, WHY, NOW. One last time - WHAT OUTCOME DO I WANT? WHY DO I WANT IT? WHAT CAN I DO NOW TO ACHIEVE MY OUTCOMES?
I’ll end with the words of ‘Bob Proctor’: ‘Everyone should have a sense of urgency – it is getting a lot done in a short period of time in a calm, confident manner’.
Later on this series I will be doing a mailbag episode, so why don’t you utilise this sense of urgency I’ve been cultivating and make a move to ask me a productivity question that I will answer in that episode? Don’t hand around though as I will be recording it in just a few weeks. You can get in touch via THE CONTACT PAGE on the website FILMPROPRODUCTIVITY.COM or on ANY OF THE SOCIAL NETWORKS. If you are struggling with something then I want to know about it. Get your act together and get in touch.
 
For now though, take control of your own destiny, get working on your sense of urgency, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY!
 
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Thanks: A Himitsu Music: Adventures by A Himitsu https://www.soundcloud.com/a-himitsuCreative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b... Music released by Argofox https://www.youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE Music provided by Audio Library https://www.youtu.be/MkNeIUgNPQ8 ––– • Contact the artist: x.jonaz@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/ahimitsuhttps://www.twitter.com/ahimitsu1 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgFwu-j5-xNJml2FtTrrB3A