December 29, 2019  

New Year Special - 5 OF THE BEST and LOOKING FORWARD - Episode 51

Today’s show is brought to you by film students Connor and Annalise Tazz



I can hardly believe that I’m able to sit down, at last, to record this show because it’s been such a long tough journey this season. Today’s show not only marks the end of season 3 but it also celebrates the first 50 episodes and a NEW YEAR with new hopes and possibilities.

Albert Einstein said Learn from yesterday, live for today and so I will be looking back in this episode and choosing 5 of my favourite pieces of advice, tips and tricks from the first 50 shows to bring to you today and then looking forward to another year and another decade, which if we seize control of it, and utilise the skills and advice I offer in this podcast - will be a very successful and fulfilling one for all of us.

Learning the lessons of the past allows you to walk boldly in the light without running the risk of stumbling in the darkness. This is the way it's supposed to work. M. Russell Ballard UNQUOTE

Despite some ups and downs for me, this year has overall been a very positive one.

I should probably cover why I said I was going to release 18 x 10 minute episodes this season and then promptly went ahead with 18 shows which were about 20 minutes or considerably longer. Well, I have to admit that I got myself into a lot of trouble with that one and the truth is that the topics I have been tackling just didn’t fit into a 10-minute format. I quickly realised, and this is a topic for a future show perhaps, that I had underestimated my timings and the amount of work that I was taking on but as I am a man of my word, who had promised 18 episodes this season, I soldiered on. Season 3 contains just over 8 hours of original content, where I’d originally been aiming for 3. It’s put a real strain on my time and resources but in the end, I feel that it’s been worthwhile. With all that said though – lessons have been learned!

The other thing that went well off target this year was my own plans. I had used Jinny Ditzler’s BEST YEAR YET book to STRATEGISE my year ahead and set out at the start of the year with a ten-point plan to achieve things. By the time I got to my 3rd deadline I had unfortunately been derailed though – I talk about that in my EST LAID PLANS episode though so I won't go into detail. Jinny says that “The principal value of our mistakes and failures is our ability to learn from them”. This is backed up by Napoleon Hill in my LAW OF SUCCESS MINI-SERIES when he says that we should reframe failures, in our minds, as TEMPORARY SETBACKS. As I covered in detail during episode 34 - BEST LAID PLANS, I made a lot of mistakes this year, but learn from them I did. The title of the book YOUR BEST YEAR YET is very clever though as using Jinny’s system every year can be BETTER THAN THE ONE BEFORE. I can now move past and learn from my mistakes and make a new plan to achieve things in the year ahead. 2020 will be my best year yet, and when 2021 comes around I’ll give it the same focused effort as the last. My objectives will change as I move forward but EVERY NEW YEAR that arrives WILL BE MY BEST and I will continue to adapt and develop to achieve great things. I fully expect to be making more mistakes but I will build on them and likely report on them here, as they occur.

BTW this is exactly the time of year you should check it out too so go to episode 16 to listen to last year’s NEW YEAR SPECIAL - YOUR BEST YEAR YET to find out more.

There are many other factors that have contributed to the overall success if 2019 and I’ve had a few great wins along the way. Hitting 50 episodes was a tremendous landmark with this show, but I also had great developments in my personal and family life and have had great times with my dog Angus. I’ve directed fights on 4 feature films, a few theatre productions too, maybe 3 or 4 of them and a couple of short films and on I think 41 episodes of various high-level television shows. Despite a few hard knocks financially and spiritually that resulted in my giving up on making films I have come out the other side with a year I can call a success!


All great achievements require time. Maya Angelou UNQUOTE

Well passing the 50 episode point certainly feels like a milestone and no mistake, and today I want to bring to you 5 of my favourite tips for productivity from those first 50 episodes. These are in a kind of rough order for the sake of an exciting (ahem – or at least informative) episode, but to my mind, they are all valuable. I’ll call them my favourites but in truth, I have many many more that if I had time I would list here.

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny. Albert Ellis UNQUOTE

1st on my list is what I talk about in episode 1 of this show and it’s a switch in your head that needs to get flipped if you are to get yourself out of the mundane rut of directionless uncertainty that you find yourself in. What I am talking about is developing a HIGHER LEVEL OF THINKING which some call INTELLIGENT THOUGHT and getting yourself into a headspace where you can work ON your life and career at the same time that you find yourself living and working IN it. I’ll say that again -

Getting yourself into a headspace where you can work ON your life and career at the same time that you find yourself living and working IN it.

This realisation - that WE CAN DIRECTLY ASSESS AND TAKE CONTROL OF OUR LIVES AND CAREERS instead of just floating along through life like a passenger was the kick-off point I had into this whole world of productivity. I don’t know where I first heard that phrasing but it’s not really my words, or maybe it is a little, but as I always try to credit where it is due I must say that I’m pilfering someone else’s ideas here.

If up until now you have just been FOLLOWING THE RANDOM FLOW OF YOUR LIfe and doing your best to make sense of it, without actually realising that you may have to STOP AND STEP OUT OF YOUR OWN LIFE AND WORK even just briefly on occasion to assess what you have been doing, and HOW THINGS ARE WORKING OUT FOR YOU, then you are not getting the best out of life. Stopping every now and again and looking at your levels of success or failure, what you may have learned from those failures and what might be the next steps to take on your journey through life is absolutely possible, but only if you flick that switch and decide to take back control.

I invite you now, and if you are listening already to this podcast you are already likely on this wavelength, but I invite you that aren’t to step up and join us. Join those of us who have engaged the process of HIGH-LEVEL THINKING IN THEIR LIFE AND CAREER AND TAKE BACK CONTROL. HIGH-LEVEL THINKING will help you to avoid the skirmishes, stop wasting your time and mental energy on the unimportant and focus on the bigger picture and the bigger win.

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Emma Stone UNQUOTE

And so the 2nd on my list for today is an extension of this. It is a topic I’ve covered in a number of my episodes but most recently in episode 40 THE LAW OF SUCCESS part 1, and that’s the lesson specifically relating to having A DEFINITE CHIEF AIM IN LIFE. I talk about this quite regularly as in productivity terms it’s important.

Let’s not take forever to cover this, you can just listen or re-listen to episodes 40-45 for the very full and incredibly valuable LAW OF SUCCESS IN 16 LESSONS miniseries to discover more - BUT the point in HAVING A PLAN AND A STRATEGY, is simply that if you don’t know where you are going, you are possibly never going to get there. If you do know what you want out of life, you will know what to say NO to and what to prioritise in what lies ahead. With a sense of purpose comes focus and certainty.

Now I fully understand that it may take you a bit of time to decide what you want to do with your life, but you can still make plans for 5 years from now, 1 year from now or even just to achieve something you want by the end of next week or today. It’s also perfectly possible, that as your life proceeds and your priorities change, that you will intelligently choose to change your direction in life somewhere down the line, and that’s okay too. If you know what you want to achieve though, you can get to it far more easily and more directly, WITHOUT DISTRACTION, and without finding out that you’re actually working to achieve someone else’s life dreams and goals instead of your own. That way leads to MISERY.

Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday. Napoleon Hill UNQUOTE

3rd on today’s list is a really simple anti-procrastination rule that I use every day. It’s from episode 9 FOUR GREAT HACKS TO AVOID PROCRASTINATION and it’s the ONE-TOUCH RULE.


It was formalised by Productivity consultant Ann Gomez who explains that “It's a simple trick to help you batch your work into scheduled, focus blocks: you won't open an email until you're ready to give it your full attention, or you'll decline to accept your co-worker’s rough draft until later when you know you'll have the time to sit down and do it.”

I have a difficulty on occasion with overwhelm, which was talked about in the November mailbag episode. Sometimes I just can’t handle all of the communications and problems that come my way as they come in, so I have to prioritise what I do tackle. See episode 3 for more on PRIORITISING btw.

Once they are prioritised I won’t even look at or consider the non-pertinent stuff – actually sometimes I will if I am NOT FEELING OVERWHELMED and they are very quick to deal with, and that is the TWO MINUTE RULE also covered in episode 9.

The reason I don’t open non-pertinent stuff though is because I have systemised myself to use the ONE TOUCH RULE. If I can’t complete a communication in one sitting, if I am about to start a task that I know I cannot finish right there and then, I WON’T START IT. Sometimes, if it’s urgent, I will reschedule my day to ensure I CAN finish things in one sitting, or I’ll split tasks into two or three sections so that I can at least complete a defined bit of it, but generally speaking, I don’t like to have what I call OPEN DOORS in my life. Those are unfinished pieces of work or communications or personal matters that I will have to pick up the pieces of later on. That just clogs up my brain and messes me up. If you find you have a task to do that you know you can’t complete in the time you have or that isn’t urgent then don’t touch it until you know you will have time to complete it. The ONE TOUCH RULE is a very powerful weapon in the productivity-ists arsenal.

4th in my list of favourites is PROTECTING YOUR MENTAL ENERGY – that’s all of episode 18. It’s something I first heard discussed by one of my favourite productivity experts ISAIAH HANKEL. In his awesome book, THE SCIENCE OF INTELLIGENT ACHIEVEMENT he says that “Mental energy is the world’s hottest commodity. People are going to try to steal it, drain it, and suck it up every second you’re awake. Yet very few of us protect it. Few of us know how.”

Mental energy is what I was thinking about protecting with the ONE TOUCH RULE when I talked about not opening too many doors. My brain simply can’t adequately cover all the bases if it is constantly getting pulled from pillar to post by too many worries, too many commitments and too many open or unfinished tasks. When you are trying to remember dates and special occasions, and loading all of the commitments of a busy modern life and work onto your brain, you will find that you very quickly begin to drop the ball. You must PROTECT YOUR MENTAL ENERGY AT ALL COSTS though as you only have a finite amount of it to use each day.

“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.” – Dale Carnegie UNQUOTE And that fatigue he talks about is a waning of your day's supply of mental energy.

I regularly utilise brain dumps, that’s getting all of the stuff that’s in your head out and onto a piece of paper or a whiteboard so that you can sort through it. You can then eliminate the unimportant and the non-priority junk that’s in there and focus on the important and the urgent stuff instead.

You can also use CALENDARS and SCHEDULING SOFTWARE to remember dates etc and just take the burden of remembering all of that stuff off your mind. When you do this you’ll find yourself functioning more EFFECTIVELY and EFFICIENTLY and with FAR LESS STRESS and ANXIETY. Protecting your mental energy is one of my favourite shows so if you haven’t yet had a listen, then get in there.

Accuracy is the twin brother to honesty and inaccuracy to dishonesty. Nathaniel Hawthorne UNQUOTE

My final choice for today is ACCURATE THOUGHT. This is lesson 11 in my LAW OF SUCCESS mini-series and I’ve flipped over to this as time and again I see problems arise and great swathes of time wasted by woolly, unclear, lazy, or just mistaken thought.

The lesson on ACCURATE THOUGHT teaches us that we must separate facts from MERE INFORMATION. It goes on to say that we must then separate our FACTS into TWO CLASSES just as I talked about a minute ago. These classes are the IMPORTANT and the UNIMPORTANT, or, the RELEVANT and the IRRELEVANT.

Napoleon Hill explains that FACTS WHICH WILL AID YOU to any extent whatsoever in THE ATTAINMENT OF YOUR DEFINITE CHIEF AIM are IMPORTANT and RELEVANT; and that all that you cannot use is UNIMPORTANT and IRRELEVANT.

Developing a habit of accurate thought I believe is essential if we are to be productive and here is why.

Peter Drucker says “It is fundamentally the confusion between effectiveness and efficiency that stands between DOING THE RIGHT THINGS and DOING THINGS RIGHT. There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency that which should not be done at all.”

It’s a quote I’ve used several times before, but  

In the lesson Hill talks of “the law of evidence” and “the object of this law is to get at the facts. Any judge can proceed with justice to all concerned if they have the facts upon which to base their judgment, but they may play havoc with innocent people if they circumvent the law of evidence and reach a conclusion or judgment that is based upon hearsay information.”

This world that we live and especially data gleaned from the internet is a minefield of misinformation. It affects me in several ways: For example - If I put up a quote and I have the time, I will investigate whether it is correctly attributed or not. I’d say that one in every 20 or so quotes that I put up IS INCORRECTLY attributed in my online reference materials. This might be regarded as a small thing but at the other end of the scale we have, I think a bigger problem, and that it’s what is known as SPONSORED CONTENT.

It is amazing how many people there are who are "honest" when it is profitable to them but find myriads of facts to justify themselves in following a dishonest course when that course seems to be more profitable or advantageous. Napoleon Hill UNQUOTE

Paid sponsorship is making it near impossible to find a balanced opinion out there. Reviews that represent themselves at a glance as TRUTH, are very very often in fact just commercial content that is designed to dupe us. South Park does a great skit on this where they describe marketing in terms of SkyNet in the Terminator Universe where the commercials adapt and become more intelligent in order to infiltrate our lives.

Sorting THE TRUTH from THE LIES in today’s world is increasingly difficult. The trouble is if you believe the hype and the misinformation which we are manipulated to understand as truth, that you will find yourself wasting time and money and energy on stuff that later proves to be a waste of all of that. You may also find too that you have unknowingly have fallen into a marketing funnel and been deliberately led away from the truth which you are seeking.

Getting to the facts in today’s society is just immensely difficult, but is worth the effort.

There’s another side to accuracy of thought - and that is being ACCURATE AND TRUTHFUL TO YOURSELF. I see people faking their way through their lives, and I don’t actually have a problem with a FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT STRATEGY if it works for you, but what I see sometimes is someone starting to believe the bullsh*t they have been inflicting on other people and that is when this becomes a problem.

If, as you move forward with a FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT STRATEGY, you lose your ACCURACY OF THOUGHT and START TO BELIEVE YOUR OWN HYPE, then you are getting yourself into no end of trouble.

I’ve seen actors telling people they are in a movie, for it to be released later on and seen just as liars or fakes when they are clearly not in it. I’ve seen writers convincing themselves that they have relationships with high flying Hollywood producers only for their work never to get made, because they missed the real opportunities that were passing them by as they imagined themselves to be “better than that” and I’ve seen filmmakers who will tell you that they have a definite financier for their film crumble under my questions about it, when I discover that they don’t have anything in writing and they have just convinced themselves that it is true.

Napoleon Hill helps us to get to the facts when we are faced by things like this, by asking one simple question. How do you know this? Under scrutiny, those who believe their own hype, but who have exaggerated their position, fall heavily on their own swords. Difficult though it may be, occasionally you have to ask that awkward question, in order that you do not get drawn into a world of false hope. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wasted my time and energy on something that later proves to be someone’s fantasy. Even this year I pushed for a hard guarantee on something I had doubt was going to happen, and that despite many assurances just didn’t come to be.

As an ACCURATE THINKER, it becomes your DUTY to avail yourself of the facts, even though you must go out of your way to get them and ask those difficult questions. If however, you permit yourself to be swayed to and fro by all manner of information that comes to your way, you will never become an accurate thinker and you will be duped time and again by some seemingly credible peoples woolly brained fantasies or downright lies and manipulation tactics.

ACCURACY OF THOUGHT combined with HIGH-LEVEL THINKING allows you to intelligently assess virtually any situation you find yourself in. IF YOU DO NOT THINK ACCURATELY though will be constantly distracted and likely NEVER attain your DEFINITE CHIEF AIM in life.

So that’s all 5 of my for want of a better word “favourites” from the first 50 shows but if truth be told I embrace far more than this in my day today.


*STEVE MARABOLIS said “As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.

We stand now at the precipice of a new beginning. At least it always feels that way when a new year comes about, but our NEW YEAR’s RESOLUTIONS are fleeting and very quickly begin to slip away as life starts to disrupt them.

If you truly want to achieve things in the year ahead, then you need to know where you want to be and you need to plan for how to get there. Achieving your EVENTUAL DEFINITE CHIEF AIM in life will involve strategising and working hard to make it all happen. Last year’s NEW YEAR SPECIAL goes into great detail about this so if you want to learn about Jinny Ditzler's system for achieving things in the year ahead and achieving you own BEST YEAR YET then please go back to episode 16 and have a listen.

Alan Watts once said that No amount of anxiety makes any difference to anything that is going to happen so if you have fears and anxieties about what lies ahead don’t allow them to disrupt your flow or your focus in life and work and family. The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written and I say that the pen for writing it sits firmly in your grasp.

Call To Action

This season I spent a lot of time creating a six-part series called the LAW OF SUCCESS IN 16 LESSONS based on the book by Napoleon Hill. In it, you will find a system so powerful that it cannot be understated. It’s not a short listen though, it’s a full 3 hours of content spread over the 6 episodes that will involve you really engaging your mind in what it teaches. Your call to action is to go back and listen or re-listen to that series which is covered in episodes 40 through 45. This will give you a very powerful start on the road to achieving success, in whatever form that might take, in the year ahead.


“If we fail to adapt, we fail to move forward.” John Wooden

I wish you the very best for 2020 and I hope that this podcast will continue to aid you on your journey. Take control of your destiny and use that higher level of thinking which I talk about. With that, you will be able to move forward with a certainty of purpose that will propel you towards your dreams and goals.

REMEMBER TOO, THAT A NEW YEAR CAN START FOR YOU AT ANY TIME OF YOUR CHOOSING. If you are listening to this at another point in the year and decide you need to make a change for a better life and start again, whether it’s January the 1st or July the 22nd, you can do it.

I said a few weeks ago that this show will be back at the start of March. I had miscalculated that actually. It will be back at the end of March, roughly 3 months from today with a new 12 part series which is possibly going to consist of 6 interview shows and 6 standard episodes. I’ll put out a couple of inbetweenisodes to keep you sweet in the interim too.

In the meantime, I can highly recommend a few shows for you to check out during the offseason hiatus. There’s great filmmaking interview shows like THE FILMMAKER’S PODCAST, HOW THEY DID IT FILMMAKING, THE REEL FILTHY PODCAST and of course INDIE FILM HUSTLE with Alex Ferrari. If you are interested in learning more about podcasting AND WANT TO START YOUR OWN PERHAPS then please try Scotland based PODCRAFT or the US-based shows THE AUDACITY TO PODCAST or THE SCHOOL OF PODCASTING. I can also highly recommend THE STEPHEN ROWN SHOW which is a great listen and if you need a productivity fix please check out Julian’s show PRODUCTIVITY MATTERS. He started his at the same time mine did and he’s already got a load of content over there.

For now though - take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’, and join me next season on Film Pro Productivity.

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December 22, 2019  


Today’s show is brought to you by THE DAVE BULLIS PODCAST

Wow, so here we are at a very grand milestone for Film Pro Productivity and I’d like to thank all of you for taking time out of your busy schedules and joining me here on this very special occasion. I’m not going to launch this one with any grand fanfare though as next weeks episode is not only the final show of this season but it is also the New Year special. I’ll talk more about that a little later but first let me look back at the last show, which was all about OUTRAGE CULTURE, a blight on the modern world if ever there was one. In that show, I delve into that topic and shed light on a grand manipulation pulled by strings held by the world media. It’s called Outrage Porn and it's available to listen to right now so if you have a few minutes to spare, go check it out.

Now Albert Einstein once said “…the exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.”

And that feeling - spoken by a man that most today would regard as an unprecedented genius, is a very good example of how IMPOSTER SYNDROME manifests itself.

I often have to remind myself that the topics I cover here, some of which I have been thinking of for many years, are often entirely new concepts to many listeners. The term IMPOSTER SYNDROME was coined in the late ’70s by psychologists Dr Clance and Dr Imes and describes the feeling that HIGH ACHIEVERS have when they cannot recognize their success and are afraid of being exposed as a fake.

According to these doctors, it can be identified in three ways:

  1. Feeling a fraud and being afraid of being ‘found out’.
  2. Attributing success to anything but your own achievements.
  3. Downplaying your achievements.

The term imposter syndrome is interchangeable for Imposter phenomenon, fraud syndrome or impostor experience but I’m going to refer to it as mostly today as IMPOSTORISM.

Impostorism is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud". I’ve touched upon it before in my season one episode entitled THE INNER CRITIC but today I want to get very specific about what it is, how it limits and damages us and what we can do to overcome it.

A recent study noted that 70% of successful people had experienced feelings of imposter syndrome in their lives... And as it’s only the most awesome and highly successful people on the planet that listen to this show, I figured that this episode will be particularly relevant to you today.

Initial studies of this phenomenon were focussed on women but over the years there have been many more and it’s now very evident that the problem of IMPOSTORISM is something that to an extent affects all genders and ethnicities.

Even now in my quiet moments, I suspect that I am going to walk onto a film set to discover that I just don’t know what I’m doing and that someone of import there is going to ask me to leave and bring in someone to replace me. Over the years too I have very often dodged the bullet of direct praise by bouncing it off onto others that have been involved. I’m simply not comfortable with praise. I find it kind of embarrassing and try to slink away from it when offered. I don’t mean to be rude when this happens I just don’t like being in the limelight.

Mostly though, I’ve been able to control these feelings. It took me years and years but I can now say pretty confidently, that I not only know what I’m doing in as much as it is possible to do so but that I’m really very good at what I do and deserve the payments and the accolades which I’ve had over the years. It’s hard to say that without sounding arrogant but I’ll stand by it.

The pressure of not wanting to sound like I'm full of myself or arrogant, especially since I’ve worked with many people who really were arrogant and I don’t want to appear to others as they appeared to me - is something I do struggle with though. I find that it is always easier for someone else to announce how wonderful you are, rather than to do so yourself, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t believe it in yourself of course.

A couple of things have happened recently which have strengthened my self-belief.

The first was pretty simple. Partly due to my role here as the host of this podcast, I came to the realisation that everything doesn’t have to be perfect, just good enough. That knowledge takes the pressure off feeling like you are expected to know it all and to be perfect – which is good news indeed for a recovering perfectionist like myself. I have an affirmation I use, and I talked about affirmations a few episodes ago – check it out if you missed it, but the one I use now is that I CAN ONLY SEE SO FAR.

No matter how hard I plan, I may still have to adapt on the day. This realisation takes the pressure of perfectionism off everything that I do but still allows me to plan in detail what I am doing.

Secondly and I kind of hate going on about it but I got treated very badly a couple of times this year and have had to change my outlook and my way of working quite considerably as a result. As I mentioned numerous times this season, it actually resulted in my giving up on filmmaking, which I’d been doing for 12 years, but there’s only so much a person can take.

Being looked down upon by idiots who have little or no understanding of matters on which I am an expert got me so annoyed that I finally called them out and when that happened the switch flipped in my head and I realised – wait a minute here – I AM THE EXPERT HERE not THEM.

I won’t allow myself to be treated as an inferior again, and so I’ve worked hard to subdue my feelings of imposterism and stand up for my rights. A few episodes ago I also tackled the topic of bullying, and you may have to use some of the advice from that show to get back control for yourself.


Now Jodie Foster famously suffers from this (She passed me once at the Cannes Film Festival and smiled in my general direction – just an aside - but I feel I know her now) She famously said - ‘When I won the Oscar, I thought it was a fluke. I thought everybody would find out, and they’d take it back. They’d come to my house, knocking on the door, “Excuse me, we meant to give that to someone else. That was going to Meryl Streep.”‘

That’s a really common theme with imposterism btw, Have you ever looked at someone else in your line of work and thought, I’m not as good as them, or as worthy of my place as them? I know I have… So to follow up on Jodie’s quote there,  Meryl Streep said on this topic ‘You think, “Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie? And I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?”‘ Unquote

You can never be a mind reader folks, so don’t even try. It’s getting you nowhere. The human brain has a negativity bias so you will always think the worst.

The sort of people who most often suffer from the syndrome include “Perfectionists” who set extremely high expectations for themselves, “Experts” who feel the need to know every piece of information before they start a project, “Soloists” who feel they have to accomplish tasks on their own, and if they need to ask for help, they think that means they are a failure or a fraud and “Supermen” or “superwomen” who push themselves to work harder than those around them to prove that they’re not impostors —and feel stressed when they are not accomplishing something. I think I was one of those for a while. It didn’t end well. Do you think you might fit into one of these categories?

And why do people suffer from Imposterism? In an article in Time Magazine by ABIGAIL ABRAMS, we discover that there’s no single answer. Some experts believe it has to do with personality traits—like anxiety or neuroticism— Psychologist Audrey Ervin focuses on family or behavioural causes.

Sometimes childhood memories, such as feeling that your grades were never good enough for your parents or that your siblings outshone you in certain areas, can leave a lasting impact. “People often internalize these ideas: that in order to be loved or be lovable, ‘I need to achieve,’” says Ervin. “It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.” Unquote.

The IMPOSTOR CYCLE is described as follows.

  • First, they’ll become anxious, which can make them spend too much time on the task or procrastinate and then rush to finish it. Once the project is done, they’ll feel relieved and accomplished. The feeling of relief when a project is over is something I have experienced many times. I am nearing the end of this series which has been very tough for me, and this feeling of anxiety about it all is extremely heightened right now.
  • Next, The cycle continues as they won’t accept positive feedback.
  • They’ll ignore the fact that they could actually be smart or talented — insisting that they got lucky, or just worked a lot without having real skills. They don’t think they deserve success, which creates more anxiety, so the cycle repeats itself once more.


IMPOSTORISM takes what we all know as self-doubt and magnifies it. I am trying to be careful not to drift too far from the topic so I’ll leave more general issues about confidence and self-belief for another show. If, however, what I’m going on about here is something you think applies to you then don’t panic - there are some simple ways you can start to overcome it:

  • First things first - remember: everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Remind yourself that your best is good enough. As I said on my episode on perfectionism though, this is not a that’ll do, It’s accepting that your GOOD ENOUGH can be really very good indeed.
  • Talk to someone. You are not alone – I’ve been researching for this for a few days and I can say that without exception, everyone that I have spoken to about it has recognised it in themselves. Share what you’re feeling with trusted friends or mentors. People who have more experience can reassure you that what you’re feeling is normal, and knowing others have been in your position can make it seem less scary. If you want to delve more deeply into these feelings, then seek out a professional psychologist. There’s no shame in that and it is affordable despite what you may think. Having a really strong support system and getting on-going feedback that validates your efforts and outcomes is important for improving confidence levels.
  • Lastly, believe in yourself and ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS. Take recognition for the work you did, treat yourself and move on. I’ve mentioned this before too and it’s part of what is known as the CYCLE OF PRODUCTIVITY. If you don’t acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, if you miss that part out, then YOU ARE DOING YOURSELF A DISSERVICE and burying your accomplishments in the past. RECOGNISE YOUR SUCCESSES and THE FAILURES FROM WHICH YOU HAVE LEARNED and celebrated them. Write down lists of your achievements, skills, and successes to demonstrate that they really do have concrete value to share with the world. When it’s there in black and white, it can’t be denied.

Summing Up

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck, also fought feelings of inadequacy – he said “I am not a writer. I’ve been fooling myself and other people.” 

Imposterism can be debilitating, causing stress, anxiety, low self-confidence, shame and in some cases, DEPRESSION. Perhaps the most damaging part of dealing with imposter syndrome is that it can limit our courage to go after new opportunities, explore potential areas of interest, and PUT OURSELVES OUT THERE IN A MEANINGFUL WAY.

Remember “You can still have an impostor moment, but not an impostor life.

Call To Action

If today’s topic has resonated with you then I want you to begin to understand the power of your attitude toward yourself. How you perceive yourself, how you talk about yourself, and how you represent yourself eventually becomes a reality for you.

One of the first steps to overcoming impostor feelings is to acknowledge your thoughts and put them in perspective. And this is a huge part of productivity too – Self-assessment is an ESSENTIAL SKILL to develop if you are trying to improve yourself. “Simply observing your thoughts as opposed to engaging them” can be helpful, so try and ask yourself ‘Do these thoughts help or hinder me?’”

And if it happens that you're putting yourself down, belittling your worth, and making light of your talents, then you will come across as self-effacing, low in self-esteem, and almost a part of the wallpaper. You will also come across as I believe I did myself to some, A PUSHOVER.

Your call to action is Take a few moments RIGHT NOW to celebrate your victories and achievements. Take this further by identifying a specific time each week where you can look back over what you have achieved and celebrate it each and every week from now on. Don’t miss out this crucial part of the productivity cycle. If you have a diary, write it in there. Write my achievements and schedule 15 minutes to look back and think on them. This is part of the productivity cycle – if you DON’T do this, you are setting yourself up for a much harder journey ahead. The 15 minutes you commit to this, and it may take less, are more valuable than having 15 minutes of free time.


Comedian and time-travelling international man of mystery Mike Myers says “At any time I still expect that the no-talent police will come and arrest me.” If that sounds like you, then I hope this episode will guide you to a better place.

Today’s show was sponsored by THE DAVE BULLIS PODCAST and if it wasn’t that show I wouldn’t be here today. I have listened to and enjoyed his shows as I went to and from many a gig and they certainly have taught me a lot and inspired me to do more, not only when I was making films but as a podcaster too. His episodes are incredibly informative and engaging and he has created a body of work which is very significant. Sadly though this hasn’t timed in too well as at the end of this year Dave will be taking down all of his shows and stopping his podcast. It is my hope that they will be repurposed and re-released in some way but as for now, you only have a few days left before they will disappear. In Dave’s last show he recommends this show and Alex Farrari’s Indie Film Hustle and for that too, I thank you Dave. I just listened to his final show a week or so ago and it was absolutely incredible, so if you are a filmmaker and you plan to shoot a feature in 2020 I am ordering you to go and download it right now. Download as many as you can in fact because once they are gone we may not see them again. I’ll link to THE DAVE BULLIS PODCAST in the show notes and if you are on apple podcasts you may have to go there to listen as I think it’s already off of that platform.

Next week’s show will be a retrospective look over the past 50 episodes with a TOP 10productivity tips section and a good bit of advice for moving forward into this new decade too. Please join me for that and for another 50 awesome episodes yet to come!

Let me end with the words of Roy T. Bennett who wrote The Light in the Heart “Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.”

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

  • The music you can hear right now is Adventures by A Himitsu
  • You can view the show notes for this episode on the official website
  • You can follow my personal account on Twitter and Instagram @fight_director or follow the show on Twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @Filmproproductivity
  • Please support 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:



December 15, 2019  

OUTRAGE PORN - Episode 49

This episode is sponsored by the host of Carradine's Cockney Singalong,

Pianist and singer Tom Carradine

Don’t be offended!

In the last episode, I looked at AFFIRMATIONS and how they can be used to change your life. They aren’t some hippy-dippy placebo for making you feel better, they really can be brought to bear and make a difference to your life and work. If you haven’t yet checked it out yet then please get on it!

This has been a long season for me and I’ve been reworking it a lot as I go and today’s topic is one of several that I nearly had to drop to make other things fit in. It is something that’s been increasingly on my mind but as with many of my shows, it’s not something I hear being discussed all that often.

It did actually migrate into series 4 for a while, but it’s been reinstated as the episode I’d planned to put in here - which was about DELEGATING - is one which I’m going to run a few tests on before tackling. For example I’ll try using a virtual assistant for a time and see how it goes – I just need to get it very clear in my head what I’ll actually be asking for help with!

I’ll be able to report back on whether that’s a good or bad experience and talk about it in a later episode and if you have any experience of successful, or I suppose unsuccessful DELEGATING then I’d genuinely love to hear from you.


Today’s show began simply as a HEADS UP about something which I have come to believe sapping away our limited supply of mental energy in these strange times. I decided to raise it here as a sort of PUBLIC WARNING as it COULD BE wearing away at your ability to be productive without you knowing it. During my research I’ve become more and more certain that it’s something we should be very wary of and learn to shut out AND IF we can intelligently acknowledge it we will be able to protect ourselves from it.

According to the term OUTRAGE PORN was Coined by New York Times writer TIM KREIDER to emphasize the way THE MEDIA deliberately provoke feelings of righteous indignation in us by pandering to people's self-indulgent desire to feel OUTRAGED. It occurs in almost every form of media but is perhaps most often seen in 24-hour news programmes, newspapers (remember them) and on the internet.

We are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind. Edward Bernays UNQUOTE

OUTRAGE PORN is when the Media ensures that a statement or report is released which is deliberately skewed in a way to make the reader or viewer or listener etc. so furious about a topic that there will be a public outcry. That same media then reports on the outcry which it has carefully set up and so creates a perpetual news cycle of OUTRAGE over NOTHING AT ALL.

In episode one of this show I talk about finding and honing a higher level of thinking. It’s described elsewhere in productivity circles as intelligent thought or achievement. Napoleon Hill describes it in the Law Of Success as Accurate thought. It’s there that Hill urges us to question the “facts” that we hear and separate those PROVEN FACTS from MERE INFORMATION.

He asks us to separate facts into two classes; the IMPORTANT and the UNIMPORTANT, or, the RELEVANT and the IRRELEVANT. All facts which will aid us to any extent whatsoever in the attainment of your definite chief aim are important and relevant; All that you cannot use are unimportant and irrelevant. If you haven’t yet listened to episodes 40 through 45 which cover Hill’s amazing and powerful book, THE LAW OF SUCCESS in 16 lessons then you are doing yourself a disservice btw. Hill also says If someone presents a fact to you, you would do well to ask them HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS before accepting it as truth. We don’t get this opportunity though when bombarded by Outrageous stories in the press.

It’s a world of ever-increasing falsity that we are living in, Beware. Carter Ferguson UNQUOTE haha only joking – try this for size.

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who MANIPULATE this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. Edward Bernays UNQUOTE

As an aside here btw, do you know what you find when you look up quotes on manipulation of the masses? Quotes from Hitler – I kid you not. He talked a lot about manipulating the masses – “the greater the lie, the greater the chance that it will be believed.” is one of his and “If you wish the sympathy of the broad masses, you must tell them the crudest and most stupid things.” And “Tell a lie loud enough and long enough and people will believe it.” – You want a good reason for why we should be worried about Outrage Porn, look to Adolf Hitler.

We are bombarded with news stories designed to manipulate in us, this all-too-familiar emotion: OUTRAGE. And the mainstream and lesser-known media outlets are taking full advantage of it.

If we aren’t careful, we may allow Outrage Culture to change our society so drastically that we embrace tribalism and choose to interact only with people who are exactly like ourselves. Jeff Charles UNQUOTE

The Urban Dictionary describes OUTRAGE CULTURE as follows.

“When people play the victim card and bend over backwards to be as offended as possible when they really aren’t. Using hissy fits, political correctness, character assassination, and a false sense of moral authority, the OUTRAGER hopes to gain power and public recognition for their brave act of justice as well as a sense of control over their meaningless existence.”

Now I had recorded a section in here that gave a specific example of this behaviour in an individual – but I’ve cut it as frankly - I am frightened of a deliberate misinterpretation of my words. And that’s the aim of course of some people who use outrage culture to manipulate us; to use fear of public retaliation to silence perceived opponents. I really tried to script neutral comment on the matter, but no matter what way I came at it, I saw trouble.

What I have realised is that some people, who have perhaps become activists for social issues due to their profile as actors or influencers or whatever are building careers out of all of this. They deliberately using outrage to raise their profile and sometimes just to get attention. I’m really trying NOT to make this episode become what it is trying to warn against but on this particular point though, let me say that:

There are some individuals who deliberate misuse OUTRAGE to serve their own personal and promotional agendas  - Their actions though, as their behaviours are questioned more and more, weaken the true causes that they are supposedly fighting for.

On that note too - Let’s not forget here that MANY WHO PUSH BIZARRE SOCIAL AGENDAS ARE ACTUALLY TROLLS who don’t really believe the stuff they are putting out. – and an example I saw recently was someone tweeting about, and getting a lot of angry replies too, about how they will be taking to their vet about how their dog is TRANS – It was clearly a wind-up but it certainly worked. A lot of the stories that appear are just wind-ups and attention-seeking, but they have a damaging effect in that they can belittle and misrepresent the real voices and the real problems of the world.

Journalist Jeff Charles writes that Outrage culture is marked by a tendency for people to become overly offended at the slightest occurrence. It could be an offhand remark about race that someone assumes to be a microaggression. Perhaps a talk show host made critical comments about the president. In some instances, it could be a politician failing to comment on a particular situation in the way you believe they should.

He goes on to state, when talking of the USA, that - unfortunately, as a nation, we have become addicted to outrage porn.

The article I took that from was published in June 2018 and it references three major stories that resulted in a tremendous level of internet outrage.

First, actress and comedian Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet about Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett.

Then, talk show host Samantha Bee gave a profanity-laced rant against Ivanka Trump, implying that she has incestuous relations with her father.

Not to be outdone, more offensive blog posts written by MSNBC host Joy Reid surfaced.

Once you start to become aware of this stuff, as I’m sure many of you out there already are, you start to see them everywhere. One that I saw causing chaos and offence everywhere this year was the seemingly racist tweet by British comedian and radio host Danny Baker who posted an old black and white picture of a man and woman with a chimpanzee, with the caption "Royal baby leaves hospital." Next thing Meghan Markle and him got dragged into a completely manipulated racism row.

The thing is… I didn’t know anything about Meghan Markle's heritage either. I just don’t follow the whole ROYAL thing. When I saw what he’d tweeted, after the fact, I saw a vaguely amusing joke about CLASS, but - because it’s not on my wavelength to think in racist terms. I just wasn’t brought up that way. The perceived racism in it just would never have occurred to me.

What worries me there is that I could easily have fallen into the same trap and so I became somewhat fascinated as the thing unfolded. What I realised right away was that the media were deliberately pushing forward and quoting from the negative tweets that were appearing and stirring a proverbial hornet’s nest of trouble that resulted in him ham-fistedly apologising, which was just weird - and then getting fired from his job.

I looked at the twitter accounts that had been chosen by the press to represent the initial outrage and they came from virtually new accounts, with virtually no followers. Many of the initial posts were from, in effect, troll accounts or accounts with a political agenda, winding the whole thing up. Then came the backlash of genuine hatred for the guy from people and organisations who were, in the end, comparing him to Hitler. (Which is RICH given those quotes I  have just given you)

My point is, whether you believe Danny Baker decided to deliberately after 40 years in the business suddenly reveal himself to be a closet racist via a random tweet on twitter (he isn’t btw) or not - that the media, and possibly something beyond the media if I were to get quite dark about all this, deliberately chose to lift only the tweets where people were most outraged and report on them. The press kept this FAKERY going for about 3 weeks in the end and constantly fanned the flames of a non-story, at the cost of a man’s livelihood and Meghan Markle’s privacy because the frenzy of outrage was so strong. The cost was greater than that though as many many people all over the world, expended energy on the matter, got riled up attacking OR defending him, and that in turn created a kind of mini race hate war for no good reason whatsoever. It was an expenditure of energy and effort that should have could have been spent on more positive and productive matters. That’s my point here today. If we allow ourselves to be drawn into this shit, we are allowing ourselves to be manipulated on a quite a major level.

Btw in each of the stories I mentioned before, the offender apologized for their actions, but people’s decisions on whether or not to forgive them following this seem to be based primarily on their political leanings. Right-leaning individuals are more likely to forgive Barr, who is an outspoken Trump supporter while people on the left accused her of being a racist. The same might be said about the Danny Baker story.

These types of occurrences are nothing new, and the media is all too happy to use these stories to divide us further.

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words. Philip K. Dick UNQUOTE

It is my belief that this is something which has probably always existed but has been magnified by the world wide web and the invention of 24-hour news. It may even be thanks to them that we, the masses which Hitler talks about, have started to notice the manipulation. I can go to twitter right now and pick out a manipulative story.

The one that’s popped out today  was that a TV network has banned the use of the word UPPITY after a single complaint. Unsurprisingly this is a Meghan Markle related story as she is used as a pawn in these outrage stories at every opportunity by the UK press. It took me 10 seconds to find this example and if I look tomorrow, or later today, if all goes as planned for them I will find a bunch of stories about how half the people in the world are outraged by the banning of this word and how half the people are not as it was, and I’ll push the boat out here, RACIST.

Another tasty piece of outrage bait that I can see is this one about the studio exec that wanted to cast in 1994, yes we need to get HISTORICALLY OUTRAGED at peoples behaviour too, but he wanted to cast Julie Roberts to play Harriet Tubman. Thanks to the Wikipedia I can tell you that Harriet Tubman, was a black American abolitionist that died in 1913. I doubt, if this story as true at all, and they present zero proof that it is, that some probably white movie exec would have known this. I doubt many a black exec would know it then either for that matter. His suggestion is easy to get riled up about if YOU LOOK FOR WRONG IN THE WORLD, but in reality it was just a stupid thing said at a meeting. We’ve all done that in our time. Let he or she that his never made a mistake in life throw the first stone at that guy. But you better get a time machine to do it as he’s probably dead already and even if he isn’t does saying it make him a racist?

The word RACISM is slopped about like a wet fish in the world of OUTRAGE.  Another story out today which was passed on to me by several people is that USA today reporter Tom Nichols was accused of being a racist as he said he didn’t like Indian food. Don’t worry for him though as he can report tomorrow on how he laughed at the outrageousness of it all, and continue the news cycle.

By the way, the word BAN has become an outrage inciting word in itself. Everything is banned these days if you believe the press, and we MUST BE OUTRAGED by it. I could probably come up with a list of 10 words right off the bat that would be used to invoke outrage, RACIST is a good place to start, but let’s try, SJW’s, TRUMP is a good bet, SAFE SPACE, PRIVILEGE, BREXIT is certainly a goldmine of outrage here in the UK, any number or RELIGIOUS or POLITICAL REFERENCES, VIRTUE SIGNALLING and I’ll end with STAR WARS as I had to sit through The Last Jedi and I was certainly offended by that. I’ll leave you to think of more but the internet will always provide if you draw a blank.

One thing worth mentioning , is that Outrage CULTURE  prevents us from engaging in the exchange of ideas. Discussions seem to have become nothing more than contests to see which side has more of a reason to be offended.

I’m well aware that by merely tackling this topic I’m going to get it in the neck from somebody, too, as the offence reaction gene is soooo ingrained in some of us that they go out of their way to be outraged. I mentioned this in the bullying episode, as it has become for some a form of bullying and I kinda deliberately used the term snowflake there as I knew for those people who do virtue signal their way through life on a crusade fuelled by hate, that they wouldn’t like it.  Yes, sometimes I’m bad that way.

I need to wind this up some time but I believe that some of us, the AWARE of the world, those that listen to THIS PODCAST for example, can break our addiction to outrage culture by refusing to be influenced by outrage porn and CHOOSING not to be offended by every story the media forces upon us.

True unadulterated outrage does though have a place in this world. Without it OPPRESSION WOULD NEVER BE RESISTED and SLAVERY WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ABOLISHED. But this fake outrage, this adopted human need to get a fix of outrage, never to be let go of, must be put to death and to do that it must be ignored. Not silenced though - as if you push back it will just cause more outrage and continue the cycle. Ignoring it, for me is the solution.

You see we are never going to make a positive impact on our lives, on our careers or on HISTORY by getting mad at some fucking celebrity for making a comment we disagree with or that pricks our delicate opinions. Only by NOT responding, NOT retweeting, liking or sharing, NOT engaging in any way, NOT raging and NOT getting outraged by the outrage, are we going to neutralise this toxic fad known as outrage porn.

I didn’t realise all of this stuff when I started this episode - I just wanted to say that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get manipulated by the press and waste our time and energy on Outrage Porn. I never knew that my research would open up such an Alladin’s cave of TOXICITY that I think I could extend in a future episode in some way but which I will leave for now. We are clearly being manipulated, but WE CAN CHOOSE TO SAY NO AND IGNORE.

Summing Up

If you have been ever riled up in a pointless celebrity news story or by some outrageous suggestion within it or in an internet argument with someone who will say white when you say black just for the fun of winding you up, or in tit for tat chatter over a point of little or no practical value, meaning, or relevance ON SOCIAL MEDIA then you will have already experienced what we now know as OUTRAGE CULTURE. When we these exchange fiery back-and-forths to try and defend our points and even if we don’t respond at all, but walk away angry or frustrated or unhappy we have still find ourselves affected by it.

Next time you sense that you are getting riled by a troll, or an aggravating virtue signaller, they are a problem as they “slippery slide between the lines trying to be your friend but subtly undermining your arguments and will never allow you to get the last word in on discussions” Janet Hill UNQUOTE, then just identify the source, and utilise the BLOCK function on whatever site you are on. Block and mute and just walking away are sure-fire solutions to silencing the problem of outrage culture.

Just because you're offended, doesn't mean you're right. Ricky Gervais UNQUOTE

Call To Action

Your call to action this week is to work on improving your outrage antenna. Instead of allowing yourself to get pulled in and wasting your time and energy getting riled up about whatever the latest outrage porn manipulation is, shut it out, block it out if you have to and work instead on improving your own life. Keep control of your emotions and live a happier healthier, less stressful life away from the manipulations of the press or trolls.

This is an extension of what I call the BULLSHIT ANTENNA which I must do an episode on. That’s needed these days to separate news stories from SPONSORED CONTENT sometimes known as LIES, to separate genuine product reviews, from PAID REVIEWS or as I like to call them LIES, and to separate the Ad’s from the news story, which possibly lies anyway, that you are trying to read beneath the WE VALUE YOUR PRIVACY pop up which I call DO THEY F7CK. I’ll post a recent screenshot I took from The Independent as an example of this.


So that’s the end of today’s episode. I hope you’ve found it interesting. If I have offended you at any point in all of this, then do a self-assessment to double-check if you really are offended or if you are just automatically responding in this way to get a dopamine kick.

I don’t want to give HITLER and more oxygen today but I did eventually find a quote of his that I agreed with earlier. He said THAT A POLITICIAN SHOULD NEVER ALLOW THEMSELVES TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED IN A BATHING SUIT which is a fair point.

It's time to quit being offended though folks so I’ll end with a quote from Dolly Parton  who said I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb... and I also know that I'm not blonde.

Next week will be, just before CHRISTMAS too, the 50th – YES YOU HEARD ME – THE 50TH EPISODE of this show and the topic will be IMPOSTER SYNDROME.

For now though folks, take control of your own destiny, don’t believe everything you read on the internet or get worked up about it either, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY!

  • The music you can hear right now is Adventures by A Himitsu
  • You can view the show notes for this episode on the official website
  • You can follow my personal account on Twitter and Instagram @fight_director or follow the show on Twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @Filmproproductivity
  • Please support 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:


December 8, 2019  


This Episode is sponsored by Kelly Stark

Today I will be talking about AFFIRMATIONS and how they can be used to change your life. Before I go on to that though, I hope that you have found the time to listen to the last show, episode 47 - BULLIES AND THE SILENT MAJORITY which ended up being my longest show yet at nearly 50 minutes. Like the LAW OF SUCCESS series, however, once I’d gotten into that topic, I just couldn’t bring myself to split it over 2 or to shorten it much more than it already was. Bullies are sometimes hard to spot but once they have been identified, they can be stopped by simple direct actions that allow YOU to take control and set them straight. You can also stand up and defend others when you see bullies raise their ugly heads.

An affirmation is almost like a mantra. It does not really matter if what you are affirming is not totally true as yet. By repeating an affirmation over and over again, it becomes embedded in the subconscious mind, and eventually, it becomes your reality. Stuart Wilde UNQUOTE

Today I’m talking about AFFIRMATIONS and it’s part of a subject that came up many times in my LAWS OF SUCCESS series in the form of AUTO SUGGESTION. Napoleon Hill was a real believer in this and used it to achieve the success of which he speaks. As a reminder AUTO SUGGESTION is the hypnotic or subconscious adoption of an idea which one has originated oneself. It is like REPROGRAMMING YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND to believe what you want it to believe and Hill used it very often to replace old beliefs with new ones that will serve us better.

Before I ever knew what affirmations were or how they worked I was using them. I haven’t talked about it too much lately so for those of you that are new listeners, but following my first feature film, I had what used to be known as a nervous breakdown. Looking back now, I would more accurately call it a stress-related dissociative breakdown or episode, followed by PTSD. It was not a fun time, in fact it was extremely destructive, but without it you wouldn’t have FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY - I honestly don’t know where I’d be or what I’d be doing now if I hadn’t had that negative experience in my life and the positive that has come of it, in the form of this show and a healthier outlook and work/ life ethic I don’t think would ever have come to pass.

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. Oprah Winfrey UNQUOTE

When I had my breakdown, I was lost and uncertain of what was going on, and despite what you may think, there wasn’t any immediate help for me. Well that’s not entirely true, my family and some friends were there, but it is sadly notable that many of those whom I thought to be my friends melted into the background and disappeared. That is the stigma of mental health. It was a small price to pay perhaps though, for learning who were my real friends and who were not.

My experience with the NHS was really pretty atrocious. When I went to the doctor, I saw a locum GP for 5 minutes who sent me out the door with a leaflet and a prescription for Prozac. That was his solution to the complex problem of a mental health matter. I gave up on the Prozac after 2 weeks, as the last thing I needed was to be drugged into distancing myself further from my problem. It took the NHS three months to get me an appointment to meet a psychiatrist who was absolutely frickin’ useless – if anything he annoyed me – but thanks though to my friend Loraine, who is a psychiatric nurse and a very influential doctor whom she knew from down south and in chief too by financial aid from British Actors Equity’s medical partner BAPAM, I was eventually able to attend therapy sessions with an awesome therapist who helped me get back on track. As an aside here, talking therapy, even expert therapy doesn’t cost as much as you might think it does. It’s a good thing, and I think that a lot of folk might make use of the services that are available.

Before all that kicked in though I had nothing but that leaflet, the GP gave me to help me out. It was for a service called STEPS, an organisation that ran classes on stress and on depression. With no other options, I signed up for both. They’ve killed that organisation now, or renamed it and reorganised it to save money but at the time it ran classes every 6 weeks for an intake of 130 people who were suffering from stress. I’ll go into some of what I learned in a future episode as I plan to do a show on STRESS AND ANXIETY quite soon.  

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candour, and more unashamed conversation.” – Glenn Close UNQUOTE

What I learned from the other class, the depression one is that I didn’t have depression, but it was very interesting nonetheless. More of a small talking therapy group with a lot of people that had had a hard time. It was there that I learned that Perfectionism, which I did an episode on in season 1 was likely the chief cause of stress in my life. For that realisation alone the 6 weeks were worth it. I took these classes very seriously and studied for them and that’s what led me, unknowingly, into the world of affirmations.

I, like many others on social networking, post a productivity or positivity quote every day, and I have occasionally been given some grief for doing so. That’s the internet for you. Many think it lazy of me as it’s a popularity tool that some use to make themselves seem intelligent or whatever. I post them for 2 good reasons.

1/ This is a productivity show and these quotes are an awesome gift for promotion of this podcast.

and 2/ because I used quotes like this TO CREATE AFFIRMATIONS which saved me from a life confused by PTSD and stress and put me back on track.

I didn’t call this FIND YOUR WAY with affirmations just to make a snazzy title. I wanted you to know that, if you are lost, or uncertain in your life in some way, that you can use affirmations as I did, to get yourself on a new and better track, to create a positive lifestyle and live a better, happier and more prosperous life. In effect, although I certainly didn’t think in these terms at the time, it also reasserts your values and that in turn strengthens your ability to make decisions.

When I was on my knees, post breakdown, I found myself naturally building this list of 50 affirmations, many of them built or shortened from quotes I had found online and I used it for at least a year, probably two, whenever I was uncertain or frightened, nervous or demoralised - to help me move forward. For the record, this was my list.

  1. Be Content.
  2. Master what you do most often.
  3. Give your mum a call.
  4. Practice Stoicism - Stoicism is centred around being unaffected by misfortune. Recognize that mishaps will inevitably occur so be constantly ready and open to experiencing them.
  5. Get up early.
  6. Perfection is not when there is nothing to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.
  7. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen.
  8. Justify less.
  9. Go for a walk in the park.
  10. If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.
  11. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
  12. Pay off your debts and don't go in debt.
  13. Send your loved one's flowers. Think of a reason later.
  14. Eat a piece of fruit.
  15. Drink your water.
  16. Whistle.
  17. Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
  18. Keep your friends' secrets.
  19. Listen more than you talk.
  20. Be frugal.
  21. Take classes.
  22. Focus on getting better, rather than being good.
  23. Stop worrying so much.
  24. Start accepting things when they are less than perfect.
  25. If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.
  26. Take naps.
  27. If you are not saving at least 10% of your salary, you are not saving enough.
  28. Yield to peace.
  29. Stop letting others bring you down to their level.
  30. Your family and true friends love you, no matter what.
  31. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
  32. You should not confuse your career/job with your life.
  33. Eat Healthily.
  34. Take the opportunity to watch the sunrise and sunset. Notice the beauty of small moments.
  35. Listen to Music.
  36. Smile.
  37. Get a life mantra - change it when you think you need another… e.g. Life is short - get on with it.
  38. Stop endlessly checking emails and surfing the web, look for something good to do.
  39. Do not work harder when the solution is working smarter.
  40. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
  41. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
  42. Invest in Relationships.
  43. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good. When upset, remember: "This too shall pass"
  44. Stop spending time with the wrong people. Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.
  45. Mind Your Own Business.
  46. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
  47. Never confuse the complex with the difficult.
  48. Nothing is permanent. However good or bad a situation is now, it will change. Heraclitus
  49. The best is yet to come.
  50. Never confuse perception with reality.

These were my 50 affirmations. If you were to do this for yourself I’m certain that some or all would be different. I used it until I could get back on top and trust my instincts again. As I said before – I really used it to re-train my inner self and re-learn my values. Trust me, when you are lost and uncertain, you need all the help you can get.

And when I say I used them, I didn’t speak them out as affirmations are more commonly used, I just read and re-read them very often, and I tried to understand them deeply and believe in them… and this wasn’t a chore either btw, because I really needed them.

I still feel a bit pathetic that I picked up PTSD not from a warzone, but from a breakdown and it’s repercussions on my life and work following a feature film that was made in good spirit and with a lot of hope, but it’s a sad truth here. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events, and that anxiety or fear is constantly with you. It blocks your ability to think straight and make decisions. MY USE of affirmations, as I mentioned earlier was done UNKNOWINGLY of what they actually were, but out of a necessity for focus and order. The affirmations kept me on track. They saved me, and they could save you too.


AFFIRMATIONS are simply sentences aimed to affect the conscious and the subconscious mind, so that in turn, they affect our behaviour, thinking patterns, habits and environment. The words automatically and involuntarily, bring up related mental images which inspire, energize and motivate us. The affirmations and the resultant mental images get engraved on the subconscious mind, which in turn, changes your behaviour, habits, actions and reactions.

  • They motivate.
  • They keep the mind focused on the goal.
  • They influence the subconscious mind and activate its powers.
  • They change the way you think and behave, and this can bring you into contact with new people, who can help you with your goals.
  • The positive statements make you feel positive, energetic and active, and therefore, put you in a better position to transform your inner and external worlds.

Stephen Covey says that: A good affirmation has five basic ingredients: it's personal, it's positive, it's present tense, it's visual, and it's emotional. UNQUOTE

The affirmations will affect your subconscious mind, and trigger it to act on your behalf. It is important that you don’t just repeat positive affirmations as lip service. You need to believe in them and want them to come true.

They change your mindset and do not allow room for negative thoughts in our mind. This leads to positivity, optimism, and recognizing opportunities. In turn, your positive and encouraging words enhance our energy and your skill to take advantage of opportunities.

I totally realise that all this might be a little difficult to get your head around, as there will be some inner resistance and disbelief, especially if you have been thinking negative thoughts all your life. As you continue though, the resistance will fade away, and your life will begin to change and improve in accordance with the words you are repeating.

Swami Kriyananda wrote, “The greatest mistake people make, is to belittle their own power to change themselves.”

It is natural for the mind to bring up doubts and negative thoughts, especially if your current environment and situation are very different from what you want to achieve. Persevere, and don’t let your negative thoughts and doubts conquer you. says that AFFIRMATIONS ARE DYNAMIC AND PRACTICAL — not wishful thinking. One reason they work is because they are based on higher truths, which, perhaps, we have yet to realize on a conscious level. The thoughts you often think and the words you often repeat, have a great effect on your life, your behaviour, and on how people treat you. These thoughts and words, in time, become reality.

This article also warns that you have to be careful with the words you repeat, and stay away from words and thoughts, which you do not want to become reality in your life. You must stay away from negative thinking, dwelling on the past and thinking about problems and fears.

Instead - program your mind to think on WHAT YOU REALLY WANT, not on what you don’t.

When I created my list, I read it every day, several times, and at night just before I went to sleep. As I researched this show though, many articles suggest that you devote some special times during the day for repeating them. Others say that you should repeat them wherever you are, and whenever you want and have the time. There’s a mixed message if ever I heard one. In short, do what works for you. This is just a tool, but another very powerful one that comes to you entirely free. Be the master of your own destiny. Take AFFIRMATIONS seriously and you will benefit from them.

Call To Action

As You Think, So Shall You Be.

Your call to action today is to create your own list. Look around the internet and build an affirmations map which will help you to find your way. If you are lost then you will likely know that you are.

This is a tool and a crutch which will give you strength and focus. Take it seriously and it will be immensely useful to you. “Don’t let your struggle become your identity.” Find the affirmations you need to move you forward and take back control.

REPLACE your NEGATIVE THOUGHTS with POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS, over and again, until this becomes a habit.


Thanks for taking the time to listen to my musings on the subject of affirmations. Autosuggestion is a powerful tool and if you have the courage to believe in it then you will benefit from this.

Next week I’m going to be talking about a blight on the modern world which comes in the form of Outrage Porn. It’s possibly not what you are thinking of but it’s another fascinating subject and one you won't want to miss. For now, though let me end with my 48th Affirmation which was based on the words of  Heraclitus

Nothing is permanent. However good or bad a situation is now, it will change.

Now, take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY!

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Positive Affirmations and Statements and Why They Work

25 Positive Affirmations for a Positive Lifestyle

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December 1, 2019  


Today’s Episode is sponsored by THE FILMMAKERS PODCAST



Today I’ll be tackling a form of behaviour which I see more and more often and it took me a number of years to realise that BULLIES are as much a part of adult life as they were in school - but I’ve had enough of them, and I have started calling them out when they raise their ugly heads. They don’t like it though. They don’t like it at all....

Let me forewarn you that today’s show will be the longest episode to date and in numerous examples, I am about to relate I’m choosing not to name names so many years after most of the events took place.

With all that said, hang on to your seats and let’s talk about BULLIES AND THE SILENT MAJORITY.

 “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt UNQUOTE


As I sit and think of examples for this show, I find that only a few of these hurts still linger painfully on my consciousness – the majority of the bullying experiences that I have been the victim of over the years have actually been put to rest. These examples therefore are not exhaustive and I don’t look for pity by recounting them -  Instead I offer them up as examples, warnings, if you may, of what you must look out for in life, and in work.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. Abraham Lincoln UNQUOTE

I’ll kick this off by talking about assistant directors – for those of you listeners that are not in the business, these are the people who manage the on set dealings on a film and who lead and drive the productions forward. Most of the 1sts I work with are good people. They are focussed on their work, and run a safe and happy ship, with a happy cast and crew, but which runs at a fast and driven creative pace that ensures it meets the planned schedule. There are those amongst the breed though which use gameplaying, sarcasm and in effect bullying, to meet the same fast and driven schedule.

There’s one AD that comes to mind that treated me in a way that they would never get away with now – As I’d be sure set them straight if they tried it. I had been working as fight director on a feature and one day I was given a background artiste, who was monumentally miscast and totally unable to perform in a fight with any level of competence. Now I’m good at what I do, but I am not a miracle worker and on this film, I was just not given the support I needed. The way that AD spoke to me when he saw this poor guy try and perform, was utterly unforgivable. He spoke to me like some lower life form and treated me like crap during the whole production.

One day he even left me behind at a location in the middle of nowhere with a crash mat so huge that it needed a truck to move – If it wasn’t for a junior producer who I respect greatly and who has now become quite successful in his own right, I might still be standing there. We had to squash it into the last vehicle left except us - The honey wagon, or toilet truck as you might know it, in order to get it to the next location. To say I was upset at that stage by my mistreatment is an understatement.

That AD’s behaviour towards me was terrible and yet he was never brought to task. These days I like to know who the 1st AD is before I agree to work as I have a list of horrible 1st AD’s that I avoid. A very shortlist, and that guy is top of it, but a list nonetheless.

Next, today, are the actors – not all actors I hasten to add – but the needy actors that drop me in it for no other reason than that they are seeking attention. An example of this would be those who - some way into the filming of a fight scene which I have carefully worked out with the actors, and on which I have checked in with them after each and every take to ensure they are happy and safe and been given the affirmative - to my surprise suddenly announce that they are actually finding it very tough and are struggling on despite the pain when asked by SOMEONE ELSE in production, for example, a 1st AD or a producer. I REALLY HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS AND IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. This is really just attention-seeking, which has the side effect of placing me in a bad position and threatens my future re-employment, but it is a form of bullying nonetheless.

On another feature, I was working as both fight director and second unit director and I picked up an incredibly painful injury called shin splints whilst rehearsing fights pre-shoot in a cold cold warehouse set. On this picture there was a makeup guy, with a very egotistic personality, who decided, not for a laugh, but out of sheer badness, to move my chair away from the secondary monitors whilst I had briefly stepped onto the set- and I’m up and down a lot during these things... When I returned I found my chair gone, and the space in which it had sat, now filled with other people, and heard giggles from that group, I was baffled by the behaviour. I hadn’t seen anything so overtly bully-ish since I was a child, and here it was in a so-called professional environment.

At the time I let it go as I wasn’t exactly sure who had done it but the incident was quite upsetting and unnerving to me I am a genuinely hard worker with a pleasant professional demeanour. I had done nothing wrong, I was injured and I found myself to be the butt of some evil joke with no explanation. I was genuinely taken aback by the disrespect with which I was shown.

One thing I’ve noted over the years incidentally is that some people read my pleasant professional and relaxed manner as a sign of weakness and on occasion, I have to kinda strengthen my resolve to something more authoritative when dealing with certain types of people - still remaining professional of course. Here I found myself being put through extreme pain seemingly for the pleasure of this bullish makeup guy and his cronies, all over seemingly over the real estate space my chair had been taking up next to the monitors. All this didn’t change the fact too that it was UTTERLY ESSENTIAL FOR SAFETY AND DIRECTORIAL REASONS THAT I SEE CAN ACTUALLY SEE A MONITOR. I found myself, injured and in pain, having to stand at the back and look over these fools to view the monitors. AFTER THIS HAPPENED, AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT, I NEVER SAT WITH THEM OR INTEGRATED WITH THEM AGAIN.

A more subtle form of bullying behaviour which I’ve experienced a significant number of times, and another key reason why I finally gave up producing and directing films, comes from THE SIDELINER. I’ve talked about this form of toxic behaviour in the past and it mostly happened to me at producer and director level - a SIDELINER is a person that you are collaborating with who starts to shut you out of communications, usually because they pertain to money or ownership of a piece of creative work, despite it being ESSENTIAL and CORRECT that you are included. If this starts to happen, let me tell you one thing I have learned from hard-won experience. You are being scammed. Either out of credit for the work or out of money, and you can guarantee you are being talked about in a negative light. If there’s one thing that’s happened all too often recently in fact - that really gets my goat - it’s people tricking others into believing that they to speak with my voice, my thoughts and my opinions.

Bullying builds character like nuclear waste creates superheroes. It's a rare occurrence and often does much more damage than good    Zack W. Van UNQUOTE

I’ve not been physically threatened very often, that’s just not the sort of behaviour I come across, but I know a crewmember who was physically threatened on an independent picture quite recently.

The bully, in this case, had made an incorrect assumption about that crewmember and they went barrelling after the innocent party, cornered them and gave them a ton of abuse about what the bully believed had been disrespect or uncaring attitude towards his “team”.

Now, this is something I do come across - There are people out there, who DESPITE HAVING NOT A CLUE, count themselves EXPERTS on many things and decide to give you their opinion on whatever it is you are doing. This guy took it further even than that.

Anyway, it reads to me that the BULLY was actually trying to show off to other crew members by confronting an innocent and trying to frame them for a crime they didn’t commit. Disappointingly for the bully, who was of the large muscly variety, the victim, in this case, a consummate professional, just calmly explained that his assumption was wrong.

In turn, the self-appointed righter of some imagined wrong took it as far as he could and even with a producer witnessing it, until the victim, and I use that word with a certain sense of irony as they were, in fact, a martial arts expert of very high standing, finally took bully took him up on their offer to fight. The bully, as you might expect in a bullying story like this suddenly had a change of heart, backed down and slinked off.

I’ll come back to these incidents later in the episode though as it’s not the end of the story or the lesson. 



When one person makes an accusation, check to be sure he himself is not the guilty one. Sometimes it is those whose case is weak who make the most clamour. Piers Anthony UNQUOTE

It’s not always easy to identify bullying as it can start out quite subtly and quietly. A bully will assess just how far they can go and even kind of befriend you or try to win your trust in the first place before targeting you. They may only turn on you in fact when they realise that their beliefs or passions or attitudes or religion or whatever are not the same as your own and it may at first be disguised in chit chat or sarcasm and be difficult for you to spot.

Elsewhere, what may read as bullying might not be. When bad behaviour is pointed out to some people, they may be profusely sorry – maybe they had been having a bad day – or they have trouble at home – I can certainly recall times I’ve been shorter than I like with people because I was worried about something at home – so remember the old adage Be kind, for everyone else is fighting battles that you likely do not know about.”

Some people too, just have large or loud or brash personalities and may not intend their actions or words to be hurtful.

I think what I’m saying is that it’s complicated - seemingly bad behaviour is not always intentionally bullying, but unintentional bad behaviour can still affect others in a negative way. I’m pussyfooting around another bullying territory, where some people have refined their character of VICTIM to such an art form, that they themselves have become the bully, and lie in wait to be offended and victimised. I’ll come back to these horrors in a bit as it’s kinda interesting… I’ll be using the term snowflake to capture this particular bully, but I do not intend to offend you with its use unless you really want to be of course.

I’m sure you know this but… A Snowflake is a derogatory slang term for a person, implying that they have an inflated sense of uniqueness, an unwarranted sense of entitlement, OR ARE overly-emotional, easily offended, and unable to deal with opposing opinions.

I’ll be using the term SNOWFLAKE to identify a bully who is so easily offended and ready to complain or play the victim card as to be classified a BULLY themselves.

Michael J. Fox said “One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.”

So BULLYING can include being yelled at, which I’ve seen happen a good few times in professional life – but I’ve also seen the opposite – people being accused of shouting when they are not – a true bully setting someone else up to seem like they are a bully - I’ve seen people being needled, sidelined or gaslighted by true bullies to the point where they are exasperated and kick off in frustration – then, in turn, they get unfairly accused of bullying while the instigator smiles quietly to themself.

Eye-rolling is a small annoyance but one worth mentioning nonetheless –  Eye rolling drifts into the area of bullying when it is used to undermine someone either quietly behind their backs for the benefit of others or directly to put them off, inferring “here we go again” or some other rudeness. I was once in an early meeting with the 1st AD for a feature film and when it ended, was told by my assistant that the 3rd AD was eye-rolling behind my back as I talked about avoiding a few particularly dangerous extras that were attracted to low budget action films. I never pulled her up about it, but do you know what? On the very 1st day of shooting, that 3rd AD put one of the three extras I had asked her to avoid onto the set with me. I couldn’t fucking believe it.

A quick Google search threw up a few more examples of workplace bullying.

  • There’s obviously verbal abuse, not necessarily shouting - like telling someone they are useless or unreliable or stupid or being ‘talked down to’ like what happened to me in my first example
  • Ill-treatment such as ostracism (‘being sent to Coventry’). I had that happen to me last year and will talk about it a little later.
  • Being constantly criticised, having duties and responsibility taken away without good reason – Yip tick that one-off, I’ve experienced that.
  • Shouting, aggressive behaviour or threats. – On occasion yes.
  • Being put down or made to feel the butt of the jokes – Yes tick that one too.
  • Being persistently picked on in front of others or in private – Yes but not so much these days. I can give off an air of supreme indifference to this sort of thing so they usually don’t bother me much.
  • Being constantly ignored, victimised or excluded regularly. Oh yes. Very annoying. Big tick on that one.
  • Constantly mocking and attacking - yip
  • Spreading malicious rumours – yip, two ticks on that one.
  • Misuse of power or position to make someone feel uncomfortable or victimised – yip – very prevalent in my experience.
  • Making threats about job security – absolutely
  • Blocking promotion or progress within the workplace. I’m sure it happens. Progress within the industry is near impossible at the best of times though so I can’t think of an example off the bat.

And it’s not listed here but cyberbullying should probably be mentioned. It’s a whole other thing but it can’t be ignored. I went through a couple of years where my website and email were attacked again and again, possibly by bots that had found a weakness in the sites structure or my email address which at that point was more easily online or maybe it was just by a troll with nothing better to do. For the record, I solved it by moving my site off of WordPress and changing my email host to Gmail, but it was a bit of a drag nonetheless.

Coming back to the topic of SNOWFLAKES; In an article in Psychology Today which I’ll link to in the show notes, Psychologist Jon Haidt contends that instead of learning to grapple with viewpoints that diverge from their own, students are now learning the “twin habits of defensive self-censorship and vindictive protectiveness.” In other words, they pretty quickly grasp WHICH VIEWS ARE PERMITTED AND WHICH ARE NOT, and LEARN TO CONFORM. When they disagree with accepted opinions, they know to keep quiet because others who hold accepted views will thoroughly lambast anyone who dares speak up. This is an incredible snapshot of modern society, not just students. I’ve certainly seen this behaviour many times in the film industry.

I’m trying to keep this show in ADULT territory but the article is a fascinating read – It says that in school “Good” children learn they can get away with mean-spirited behaviour like name-calling and social exclusion as long as there is unspoken peer agreement regarding which children are acceptable targets — and those targets are typically the unconventional, nonconformist, “different” kids – That’s probably us creatives btw. And these unspoken peer agreements of course, in school or in adult professional life, make it more difficult or certainly more high risk for us to call out, bullies.

In too many ways, political correctness has been a bully. JudgeJudy Sheindlin


Bullying can build too, to the point where you dread going to work, and where your home and family life is affected.

I can’t explain to you the misery I was put through at in a regional theatre show I was cast in when I was an actor and just starting out. Another actor in the production used to needle me and give me notes at every opportunity and got me so worked up about a certain scene that required our joint timing that I dreaded not only that scene but going into the theatre at all. I was stuck there though as there isn’t an option for an actor to drop out of something without causing a whole lot of trouble, so I suffered it and it was a miserable time for me. Years later, incidentally, that actor came and apologised to me, which was an interesting and welcome turn of events. I respect him greatly for that.

Another form of bullying I’ve experienced, although it may be regarded as just bad behaviour by most, is that of BEING USED AS A PROP FOR SOMEONE ELSE’S EGO. Last year I was hired to work on a show which had a lot of background re-enactor fighting extras, but not as fight director, as a safety advisor instead - and I was happy to fulfil that role. Now at the risk of this sounding like this is a promo for my fight work, I can say that I am really good at what I do, extremely experienced, stupidly good with a sword and beyond that, I am pretty darn fast. I had been asked to attend by the producer who was clearly concerned about safety, and quite rightly so.

On a few rare occasions that day, I found I had to intercede, very politely and quickly to keep things safe, but the director - who REALLY didn’t want me there in the first place it became clear - pulled me aside early on and told me he didn’t have time for my intervention. He only pulled me about 6 feet away from the others though so this ensured that everyone heard him in effect TELLING ME OFF. As he rushed back to continue his work I announced quite loudly, in response, that whether he had time for me or not, I was going to go right on ensuring that we do it in all a safe way anyway.

He didn’t say two words to me the rest of that day, but nobody got hurt and the number of background artistes that came and thanked me that day for my help in keeping them safe was very significant. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had so many people thank me on any other production – THE REENACTORS were clearly very happy I was there to keep them safe. About halfway through the day, I spoke to the producer about the incident as I was unnerved. He simply said I wasn’t there to be liked. I couldn’t really disagree so I went along with it. I’m just not in the habit of making enemies…

So how do we begin to combat this? What do you do if you are being bullied?

Most advice that I’ve read online says that in the first instance, you should seek to solve your problem informally. If you feel safe and comfortable speaking to them that is. Informing them that you will be taking a more official route if they don’t change their behaviour may be enough to stop the attack.

Michael Caine talks about this, but kinda in reverse - I’ve been looking for the exact quote but haven’t yet discovered it. He was to be working with a director who he’d heard was known for shouting at his actors. Before he started the film he said to the director “I hear you like to shout at people - I don’t like being shouted at” and he says “you know, that director never shouted at me once". Maybe that director was a bully and maybe he wasn’t but Michael Caine short-circuited any opportunity for bullying before it even started.

For many, the informal way isn't an option so if this is the case you should make management aware of what’s happening. If you are STILL not satisfied that the harassment has stopped, if it is not taken seriously by your line manager, or if the problem gets worse, you should seek to make an official complaint or, if you have one, take it to your union.

  1. Amy Cooper Hakim of PSYCHOLOGY TODAY SAYS BE CONFIDENT AND USE SIMPLE, UNEMOTIONAL LANGUAGE. She says “Bullies lose their power if you don’t cower. Deep down, they doubt they deserve your respect. They admire you for speaking with self-assurance and confidence. So when they bombard, don’t counterpunch. Rather, win them over with your strong, firm, courteous demeanour.” And she says “know that the victim does not intend to be victimized. It does not seek forgiveness, but does not pose a challenge either.” I tried this approach once, The bully became so enraged by my calm response and presentation of facts that it makes me laugh even now. I had caught them with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar and their rage was IN EFFECT staged to hide their embarrassment and humiliation at being caught out.
  2. Signe Whitsonsays, STAY CONNECTED. “Bullies operate by making their victims feel alone and powerless.” So you should keep people informed of your situation. It will also alleviate your stress about the matter when you share your problem and gain an ally.
  3. Psychology Today also recommends that we SET LIMITS. This is exactly what Michael Caine did in my earlier example. Chrissy Scivicque writes, “The trick is to remain polite and professional while still setting your limits firmly. Don't let the bully get under your skin—that's what he wants. Practice your response so you're prepared the next time something happens and you can respond swiftly without getting emotional. Keep it simple and straightforward, for example: ‘I won’t be talked to in this way.’”
  4. Whitson further tells us to ACT QUICKLY AND CONSISTENTLY. “The longer a bully has power over a victim, the stronger the hold becomes. Oftentimes, bullying begins in a relatively mild form—name calling, teasing, or minor physical aggression. After the bully has tested the waters and confirmed that a victim is not going to tell anyone or stand up for their rights, the aggression worsens.”
  5. Sometimes all you have to do with a bully is wait a little while and STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS COLD.. Rather than exchanging hostilities, step back so that you are not responding in the heat of the moment and meeting them on their own level. Cool heads find solutions more easily than hot ones. Besides, if you step back, they may do the dirty work for you. 

Wand another thing that all of the articles I looked at had in common was that YOU MUSTN’T SEE YOURSELF AS THE PROBLEM.

"Nobody can hurt me without my permission."  —​ Mahatma Gandhi UNQUOTE and he also said that Bullies are always to be found where there are cowards btw.

One article said that the reason people experience bullying is not because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, appearance, disability or any other unique factor; it is because of bully’s attitude towards the factor. The only thing possible to change is attitudes.

I say that the person who is bullying you is the one with the issue, not you. It’s just the way things are. You don’t have to give yourself the additional burden of trying to change them. Remember that sometimes, a bully will always be a bully.


I’d like to look back over the situations which I have previously outlined, and by using Napoleon Hill’s method of ACCURATE THOUGHT, try and  figure out why they occurred and how we can protect protecting ourselves and others from it in future.

The 1st AD who talked down to me is fairly regularly employed for one very clear reason - he brings productions in on time: and that, in the end, seems to be all that really matters to many production companies. And the production company who put the film together to be fair, may never have even heard about my mistreatment, or the mistreatment of others  – And why not? Because I let it go and continued to work on in fear. My keenness, especially in my younger days, to make an impression and drive things on meant that making a formal complaint was not an option because I wanted to keep my job.

I 100% certain that at the time, if I had reported a grievance, that it would have been me that got dropped from the production and not the bully who was running the show. In hindsight what I SHOULD HAVE DONE was to confront the bully right then, just as Michael Caine did, and set out my limits. That talking to me in the way he did, dismissing my experience and my qualifications and placing me in situations in which I had absolutely no support, WAS NOT AND NEVER WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE. If I had done that, I believe things would have been different.  

Let’s look at another situation. The actor that drops me in it. Actors often don’t get taken to task over bullying behaviour as the aim of everyone on any given production is to keep things moving and shoot what’s on the call sheet OR if it’s a longer shoot and they are a main character, they may kinda get away with it, very likely with a talking to along the way from a producer, until they leave the production. The last thing we do on a busy shoot day is upset an actor that has important scenes coming up and 99 times out of 100 replacing them is usually not an option. Much of the time, therefor, a bullish actor is allowed to badly for a time at least, for the sake of peace, the saving of budget and for the sake of the show.

Over time though, what I’ve discovered is that an actor that does this to me will be playing other games with other people and their reputation will surely dive. This sort of trouble bothers me less than it used to as I mostly work with very awesome and very professional people.

Although the actors of which I speak may not know it, and you should know this now if you are one, causing upset and trouble, or playing games or bullying other actors or crew inevitably leads to one thing - being dropped sooner or later from the production or finding that unemployment occurs more often than it used to. What goes around comes around remember. A situation happened to me once with an actor who thought he’d give his opinion very loudly about a fight scene I had directed. It bothered me as it was early days in my career and I spoke to the producer about it. He said this to me. “Ignore him - he’s a wee BEEP”. And in one stroke this both calmed and reassured me. Unbeknownst to me, everyone already knew how difficult the actor could be. The act of complaining, was like water off a ducks back to the producer as he’d cried wolf so many times before. He was known for his power plays especially with bit-part actors or crew who were on dailies - and my reputation was untarnished.

Martin Luther King Jr said “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” And this represents my greatest revelation about bullying in recent years…

I can affirm that now, I remember the inaction of my friends and colleagues with far greater clarity than the actions of the bullies themselves.

It probably doesn’t sound it but the bully that had moved my chair was one of the more troubling incidences that I recounted. This guy was an ass of the highest order, but I have noted over the years that asses, if they have talent or some other redeeming feature in the eyes of the producers - are very often left to behave in the worst ways.

Personally, if I’d been in a group when someone did this for sheer badness I would have spoken up - but not one of these people did. Why didn’t they though? Well, I’d put my money on peer pressure. They were scared to go against him for fear of being targeted themselves. It was a very poor show by my so-called colleagues that day but I’m happy to report that karma caught up with him on another production and one of his targets straightened up his attitude for him.

Finally, I want to revisit the situation that happened with the crewmember who was physically threatened. Unfortunately, they decided to walk away from that production as the immediate stance that the producers took was not to fire the bully but to let it pass. I think there was some noise created by those in his department which sounds something along the line of; if he goes I go, effectively putting the producers in a tight situation. From what I can gather though, by the very act of walking off the production brought about a number of fresh bullying complaints by other crewmembers about the same guy.

I get that the producers found themselves in a tricky situation and I wonder how I would have handled it myself – but this is a retrospective so I’ll say that I understand it but I disagree with how they handled it. With a producer having witnessed the threatening behaviour of one crewmember to another, they should have fired the bully. They didn’t, and this has had repercussions beyond that production. I’m sure too that this would have unnerved and caused upset right across their production as word went round that this sort of behaviour had been let to pass.

If they had stood their ground, and NOT ALLOWED THEMSELVES TO BE BLACKMAILED by that department, the film would have continued with different people in those roles and a happier and healthier and I’d like to think better production to show for it. As we discovered earlier in the season, they one broke the golden rule of success when they let behaviour like this pass.

If you are a producer it would time well spent, if you ensured you have an anti-bullying policy, or build it into your contracts from now on.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr. UNQUOTE

I’ve got to wrap this up but before I do I must go back to the situation where I found myself being side-lined, and which led to a very aggressive bullying attempt by someone, that to be honest - I had always known was difficult.

This was a situation where I did expect others to step up and help me – but I can only conclude that they didn’t want to put their head above the proverbial parapet for fear of being targeted themselves, and by doing so they chose to stand by and let me be abused. While a known bully is targeting one person, you see, it means they are not targeting someone else, and the others then feel safe. It’s a very sad and disappointing observation, but I believe that this is what was in play. In the long run of course, the bully will turn on them, and finally they too will realise that the time has come to stand their ground, or depart.

Summing Up

Desmond Tutu said “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

I was that mouse and in the situations, I listed above and would have appreciated the help of a bystander if it had been offered… and if I was ever a neutral in the past I am determined not to stand by and let a bully get away with it any more.

The Bully has a Jekyll and Hyde nature - is vile, vicious and vindictive in private, but innocent and charming in front of witnesses; no-one can (or wants to) believe this individual has a vindictive nature - only the current target of the serial bully's aggression sees both sides; whilst the Jekyll side is described as "charming" and convincing enough to deceive personnel, management and a tribunal, the Hyde side is frequently described as "evil"; Hyde is the real person, Jekyll is an act. Tim Field UNQUOTE

There are complicating factors in talking about bullies that I must mention, if you’ve not yet had enough. Issues raised when confronting BULLIES can be followed by counter-allegations of ill-treatment and unfairness and allegations of bullying will often follow on from disciplinary or grievance procedures.

When you call out a bully, they may well instigate some form of tit for tat response so be prepared for this. To protect yourself you should "document any incident of harassment in detail and include the date, times, place, who was involved, what happened, and the names of any witnesses.” I use the call recorder app to help me out in difficult situations like this that may happen on the telephone. If you haven’t heard it then look back to Episode 27 - FIVE MORE FREE APPS TO MAKE YOU MORE PRODUCTIVE to find out more. Bullies melt like the wicked witch of the north when faced with facts and figures, believe me, and armed with facts you will always come out on top.

My pain may be the reason for somebody's laugh. But my laugh must never be the reason for somebody's pain. Charlie Chaplin UNQUOTE

Call To Action

Your call to action today is simple.

1/ If you witness bullying, remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” And step in and help.

2/ and If you are being bullied at the moment then use the tips that I have listed here to get back control. Hopefully, others will step up and help you, but if not, then:




And if that isn’t an option



And STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS COLD. Cool heads find solutions more easily than hot ones.


Bullies are bullish by nature and need to be called out. This doesn’t mean that they will stop their inherent bullying tendencies, but they will know that if they try it that they won’t get away with it.

That’s been a helluva long episode but I couldn’t let another series pass without going into this topic and once I started I knew I couldn’t do it by halves. I want to thank everyone that’s spoken to me about their experiences lately and all of the awesome production people that have supported me over the years. I have worked and continue to work with some truly amazing producers, production companies and 1st AD’s etc who really care about how things are done and how people are treated. I am lucky to have been working for many years with the BBC who are all over any form of bullying and I’m eternally grateful for the help I have found there over the years. I’m also thankful to British Actors equity, Bectu and BAPAM for being there whenever I need them. I’d also like to thank Giles Alderson of The Filmmakers Podcast for sponsoring this episode. It’s a great show so get subscribing.

I’ve got links to many of the references that I made here in the show notes and if someone would care to recommend any further links on this topic please do so and I’ll add them to the page.

I’ll end with the words of Abraham Lincoln “I would rather be a little nobody, then to be a evil somebody.”

For now, though, take control of your own destiny, stand up to bullies, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY!

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