Recently I was asked by a student to fill in a questionnaire on what it’s like running a company and what sort of challenges I’m presented with. At first my mood was very much like the drawing in of the early nights; dark, and my inital thoughts were that it’s a pretty thankless task for the most part.
We've been trading for 6 years and we’ve had a bumpy ride at times but during the course of the questionnaire I started to reflect on all the positive times we had. It’s very easy at any time to slip into a negative way of thinking. We are constantly faced with challenges that seem to take up our time which seem so unnecessary, yet so necessary.
For example in November (2010) last year we moved for our town centre offices in Derby to offices further out of town. We cancelled our services that we had been using. It wasn’t until August (2011) this year that we’ve finally stopped being chased for money for services after we cancelled the contract, which resulted in a sorry from the company and some money back, but it’s still a drain on time and energy when you are constantly fighting things that are not even issues in the first place. Like the days drawing in, the periods of light gets a little less each day. Everything seems to be more of an issue than it really is. That’s not to say there are real issues, there are, the trick is to keep them to a minimum.
My baby daughter, Marnie
Things can become tense because moods are contagious and when you find things are all working against you it does become very difficult to focus on the important things. Recently (2 months ago) my partner gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, so sleep has been a rare thing of late. Even when she does sleep through the night, which to be fair to her she does more often than not, you still have one eye open 'just in case'. Lack of sleep can add to this feeling, and when you’re tired you make mistakes. That said, it just takes that one big thing to go right for everyone's mood to change and things start looking up. Unfortunately, I still had this feeling of extreme exhaustion and was in a dark mood when I started to fill in the questionnaire...
To my surprise I started to think about what things were like when I first set up Light Films and what I wanted for the company, what I wanted to achieve. How difficult it was to get jobs in. One question in particular was ‘What are the highlights of your career so far?’ My answer was, ‘There have been so many’ I continued to list some of them, but there are many varied and exciting things that we’ve been involved in; if you’d have told me 6 years ago about all the things I would achieve, I’d have been over the moon.
This doesn’t mean I'm satisfied with where we are, of course I want to push forward and do more and I think having the drive to keep going (which is vital especially in the financial climate we are in at the moment) is essential. So, whilst filling in the questionnaire I was reminded that there is so much I have to be thankful for and so much to be proud of and I'm hopeful that there is still so much to aim for and even as the days draw and everything gets darker there is still so much to be positive and about and, as with winter, the dark days will pass.
Written on the 3rd October 2011
What a week last week was. If I’m honest I don’t think I’ve ever had a week quite like it, well not on a scale of life changing events. It all started on a Saturday morning when my fiancée and business partner Chrissa Maund’s waters broke and we rushed to the hospital in eager anticipation. This was short lived though as after being there for about an hour we were told to go home and wait. Now I know that we are not the only people in the world to be told this and in actually fact most of this blog is not unique to me and Chrissa but I can say it from my point of view and although we met some amazing, wonderful, helpful and supportive mid-wife’s and healthcare assistants who I would never dream of saying anything other than high praise, there does seem to be large areas of our experience in which we were lacking in care and seemingly abandoned. Waiting is difficult at the best of times, waiting for Christmas day when you were a kid was painfully slow, but waiting for “things to be move along” after waters have broken is like nothing I’ve ever been through before. Chrissa, already by now was in a lot of discomfort. All the family were up in the house, busying themselves helping us clean, tidy, prepare (we even managed to replace an internal door between my Dad, Chrissa’s Dad and me) and at the start of the ‘waiting’ nobody was not willing to commit to a job that might last more than 5mins, but as time passed it become less and less likely that anything was going to happen soon. And so everyone ended up all returning home and to bed.
It was 11pm and Chrissa was pacing around in pain. We both made the decision to go into the hospital. So after the Grandparents arrived to wait at our house while Eryn (Chrissa’s first child) slept, we drove the by now familiar route to the hospital. Once there, we were again told to wait. An hour passed by and finally we were seen. “It seems that you are still not ready” we were told, “however we don’t want you to go home and want to keep you in overnight and you will more than likely be induced tomorrow (Sunday) at 4pm” At last a bit of progress! We were shown up to a ward bed and this is where I was asked to leave at 6:15am. I’m allowed to return at 8am. So I drive home, feeling slightly empty at this point. I’m sure it’s from watching too many movies and having a slightly confused view on how simple these events are, but I did expect that the next time I made that drive it would be Chrissa, Marnie and me.
8am arrived. I made my way back to the hospital and found Chrissa who had been just recently told that “she is still no further along” but that we were going down at 4pm to give nature a helping hand. And so began another wait! We passed the time talking about the future and how life will change once Marnie is born. Chrissa starts to become worried and I try to do my best at keeping her focused on how happy we’ll be, but she started worrying about “maybe there’s something wrong, my waters went hours ago (by this point it had been 24hours) "I’ve read…...." This is where too much information is not always the best thing. Chrissa read the leaflet about the drug the hospital uses induce expectant mothers. I’ve got to be honest none of the side effects side seemed pleasant, but then again if we read the side effects of paracetamol and believed them we probably wouldn’t take them either. We then met a lovely mid-wife who really took the time to talk to us and talk to Chrissa about all her fears and really helped put her mind at rest, which is half the battle. So 4pm came and went. So did 5pm. So does 6pm….
9:45pm we were moved back downstairs to the same area that we first went into at the time Chrissa’s waters broke into a room with four other beds and told that once the doctor had looked at us we would be ready to go, but first they needed to see 30mins to an hours of trace (the heart monitor of the baby print out) so with Chrissa rigged up to the machines we were left alone. Just to give some background on the this, at this point Chrissa had already been attached to this machine two or three times over the previous 24hours but apparently new trace was needed), this was perhaps the most uncomfortable part of our stay. The position that Chrissa had to sit in to make sure the monitors were working caused her huge amounts of pain in her lower back and every time Marnie moved we lost her heartbeat. After four or five times of calling the mid-wife back to re-establish the heartbeat with the monitor we gave up. Finally at 2:30am the doctor arrived and said he was happy for us to go ahead. Tired and relieved we started to think about the end of journey and going home with our baby daughter.
8am Monday morning our room filled up with new people. Fed up, we decided to go for a walk. Anything to stretch our legs. On returning to the room we saw it was a hive of activity, none of it around our bed. At this point tiredness was really the only feeling we had so we went to the main reception where we had arrived on Saturday night and just asked what was happening. The receptionist was lovely and said she would look into it. Within 5mins a mid-wife was at our bedside. She then told us that we would need to wait to see the doctor to make sure it was ok and that we would need to provide 30mins to an hour of trace. This didn’t go down well! Both Chrissa and I became more than a little annoyed so start pointing out everything that we’d been through to get to this point and that we were not interested in going backwards.
10mins after that we were in a side room getting ready. Well if I thought thing had been tough since we arrived on Saturday, Monday was going to put that definition to the test. Now I’m again aware that I’m talking about how I felt throughout this and not really touching on what Chrissa was going through, that’s mostly because I don’t know what she went through, I know it was a much bigger and emotional experience than I had, but I was there with her throughout. It’s not an easy thing to see the person you love going through such things and feel totally helpless. Don’t get me wrong I became very very good at getting drinks of water sometime I could even do 2 drink at a time and towards the end I managed to master pouring the drink into Chrissa’s mouth, but Chrissa did all the work and I just watched on in awe of her.
The first rough ride came with the epidural. The doctor who did it was amazing, very quick and very professional, it’s just brutal to watch, let alone having it done to you, but at least afterwards the pain Chrissa was in was severely reduced and this means we could all relax a little bit. At 5pm the mid-wife examined Chrissa, it seems that we were no further along then when we arrived on Saturday night, but she had an idea. It turns out there are 2 ‘waters’. Top and bottom. Top ones normally go when the bottom ones do. The bottom waters were still there. So the mid-wife burst them. This was like turning the switch to go. Within an hour Chrissa was in a huge amount of pain again and the doctor came back in to top up the epidural and then an hour later Chrissa was in pain again. This was at change over. So we had a new mid-wife. We explained where we were at and she examined Chrissa. 8cm dilated!!!!!!
At last we were there!!!!!! Chrissa grabbed my hand and just kept saying “I’ did it! I did it. I never thought I’d actually do it!” I was so proud of her after her waters (or at least half her waters going) on Saturday morning to Monday evening it had been a long journey. Less than an hour later Marnie’s delivery had begun. We were riding a wave of happiness. Not long now…
That was until 5 doctors walked in. They told us that they were concerned about the Marnie's heart rate and believed a forceps delivery will be the best way to move forward at that point. That worried us, but everyone seemed convinced. Delivery continued while the doctors readied themselves. Forceps are applied and Marnie is born. Joy. We are over the moon. She is amazing! She starts crying and I’ve never been so happy to hear a baby cry. The doctor then started calling out for help. “there’s a bleed” I look at Chrissa and she had lost all her colour, the mid-wife gave me Marnie who was still crying. Chrissa lost her vision and hearing as she lost blood. I rock Marnie trying to get her to stop crying. More people came into the room. The next few minutes felt like hours, but the doctor stopped the bleed and then I saw the full extent of the blood loss. It was all over the floor. The packing filled a large plastic box. Chrissa had lost over a litre of blood, but she was ok. Marine by now had stopped crying and we were left alone again. This was perhaps the most emotional moment of the whole weekend. So along with two mid-wife’s, I helped Chrissa move back up on to the ward. Once again I went home alone.
Then next day (Tuesday) I brought Eryn in to meet her new sister. This is when we discovered that Chrissa’s bladder was not working due to the blood loss and that she needed a transfusion. So by the time Wednesday night came we really were ready to leave and come home, not without one last drama as Marnie stopped breathing for a few seconds. It was a panic to find some help, luckily there was a mid-wife just outside our door and she came in to help. Afterwards she explained that it’s quite a common thing and that Marnie had basically choked on some mucus. Still, in that moment it didn’t feel like a normal, everyday occurrance, it was terrifying! After everything that had gone before it!
Wednesday night we arrived home. Chrissa had left to go into hospital on the Saturday and so much had happened in between. There was still more, with Chrissa having an allergic reaction to one of the painkillers. Thursday I was back at work trying to catch up on everything that had been building up. To end the week I was flown to Paris to film a presentation. Afterwards I bought presents for my 2 girls. What a week!
Ask any Londoner or visitor to the city to name the museums they've been to or would like to see and they are likely to reel off the Natural History, Science and British museums in quick succession. One museum most won't know as readily but that is perhaps more relevant to them than the others is the Museum of London. This hidden gem in the heart of the City is set along the historic London Wall. The wall used to set the boundaries of Roman Londinium and is a clever feature of the museum itself.
Getting to the museum is simple enough with it being a short walk from stations at Moorgate, St Pauls and the Barbican. For those looking to plan a long day out the latter two stops provide attractive options to include in a full tour schedule.
Once you've discovered the picturesque raised walkways and made your way into the museum your journey through time begins. Starting in prehistoric times and working through the ages up until the present day, there are a multitude of exhibits to marvel and wonder at. From fascinating discoveries made over the years, showing how life in the area now known as our capital has changed, to a haunting short film depicting the spread of the plague, you can easily lose yourself for hours.
There are enough interactive exhibits to keep the kids - and big kids among you - amused and interested too. Interacting with most of the exhibits is clever, a number of them require you to swipe pages or information to one side, much like an iPad – or as was pointed out by the big kid I was with, just like in Minority Report. These range from puzzles showing how our language has evolved, to clever interviews to see if you could cut it as a gun maker among other occupations. Be sure to look out for exhibits which urge you to touch them, some of them contain bonuses that are missed by many; at this point it was clearly an advantage to have one of those big kids with me!
Always on hand are the friendly and knowledgeable staff to answer questions and they are often likely to spark up impromptu talks on certain parts of the museum – on our visit one of them launched into a vivid talk on the outlandish times of Henry VIII. You can happily wander the museum on your own as we chose to do or if you prefer you can join in with one of the regularly scheduled guided tours - available in several languages if needed. There are always extra features and attractions on offer, on our visit it was an exhibition of London Street Photography, which was the main reason for our visit incidentally. Despite the weird queuing system adopted by the other patrons – evoking memories of a school dinner queue!? – this was fascinating and showed the changing face of the city since the 1880’s.
One of my personal highlights of our visit was sitting in the recreated Victorian Pleasure gardens as a play was acted out on the wall display, with some stunning audio and light effects it was easy to imagine myself actually in the gardens of the day, although some of the dresses worn by the ladies looked hideously uncomfortable! No wonder they needed help getting dressed for big occasions! Another highlight was walking through to the modern era where we began to recognise memorabilia from our own childhoods and teenage years. It was fascinating to see items that have quickly come into fashion and then sunk just as rapidly into obscurity.
I’d urge anyone to take the time to visit this wonderful museum when looking for a relaxed day out in London and take home your own memories of how this wonderful city has evolved through the ages. Better still. Its FREE!
During the school holidays I decided I wanted to ride my bike as much as possible and to try and see as many films as possible. I have made a lot of films since I was 6 and I really enjoy learning about how they are made. My dad always tells me that by watching more films I will learn more about making them.
I have quite a big DVD collection but there were quite a few that were in the cinema this summer that I wanted to see. Transformers 3 was really good, but I didn't like the 3D version as it hurt my eyes. I really enjoyed it though; Bumble Bee was my favourite car and I really enjoyed watching the men fly across the tall buildings. My dad helped me to understand how they did that bit and I read about it on the Internet. I also went to see Harry Potter, but I decided not to watch that in 3D so that my eyes wouldn't hurt! I really, really enjoyed Harry Potter!
Last week I decided to see The Smurfs. My mum says that they have been around since she was little, which is a very long time. It made me wonder if it was going to be any good, but looking at some trailers it looked like a modern film so I decided to go along and see it.
I went to see The Smurfs with my grandparents, to the normal Showcase cinema in Derby. I had some sweets and a drink, one of my favourite parts of going to the cinema - the treats! I don't want to give too much away, but I recommend that people go to the cinema to watch it.
My favourite part was when Gutsy showed his I 'heart' New York pants! My least favourite part was the bit where Gargamel was trying to kill The Smurfs. I didn't like that and thought it was really, really horrible. The animation was really clever. I have not yet learned about animation, but I understand it a little bit. The only bit I found a bit unbelievable was when the actors, who had been filmed, held the animated characters in their hands. It seemed a bit unnatural as if they were advertising the character on a fizzy pop advert! But the rest was really, really COOL! In fact it was fantastic.
The Smurfs were really cute and blue. They didn't look too old either considering my Mum used to watch them!
This blog was written by Light Films Movie Maker, Eryn Maund, age 8 from South Derbyshire.
Please feel free to comment on Eryn's blog below.
I shall try and keep everyone updated with where we are and what we’re doing a little more often but finding the time to do that at the moment is proving challenging to say the least.
What I will mention though, is one of our latest fitness videos. Becky White of Onesixeight: Fitness approached us to work on her second fitness DVD. We jumped at the chance if I’m honest because we love working with Becky. Onesixeight specialises in group fitness, personal training, nutritional advice and lifestyle consultancy, based in Loughborough.
We were a little stumped for a location. Its summer, and doing a workout outside made a lot of sense. Moira Furnace was the recommended location and we all arrived on a sunny afternoon, surrounded by trees, it was a complete escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. I was intrigued to say the least about the new Bounce Fitness Phenomenon which is a workout based on mini trampolines.
It was a lot of fun, and gets results. The sun unfortunately didn’t stay out, but everything else went to plan. Becky is very organised, knew exactly what she wanted and the end result is a fantastic promotional video which I’m sure you will agree, puts other personal trainers well in the shade! The video will be launched very very soon - so keep your eyes peeled!!!
Actions do indeed speak louder than words. There is no better way to capture your products or services than on video.
With a few more months of promotional videos to film, and of course the wedding season, I’m sure there will be plenty more to talk about.
Video is proving to be the most powerful way of delivering a message, both on and offline.
TV advertising has proved lucrative for businesses worldwide for decades, but the increase in accessibility of using video and moving image now ensures that it's not just blue chips that have access to such effective and versatile advertising mediums. More and more of the SME market are looking to video as a reusable marketing platform
With this in mind, professional forward thinking business people are now using video to not only market their business but also update current clients, and indeed prospects, with regulation updates on a regular basis. The benefit? To ensure the client gets the message, cutting through the jargon to ensure it's delivered effectively. The result? More phone calls from current and new clients, enhancing business profile and ensuring the return is effective. The cost? Less than a paper mailshot, and usable for a lot longer. Remember, paper runs out - video doesn't!
We appreciate the need for such effective communication tools within these industries, and are offering a fantastic deal on monthly update videos.
Through August and September 2011, we are offering a massive discount of over 60% on video blogs and monthly video updates. (Meetings must be booked by 9th September 2011 to allow for booking time and free video consultations.)
A payment plan would be put in place subject to satisfactory references. £200 booking fee and £150 per month for 12 months. ALL MONETRY FIGURES ARE EXCLUDING VAT.
All too often in the world of business things get a little bit cut throat. It's understandable given the current climate and that everyone is looking for work. However, sometimes, just sometimes it pays to to pay a compliment.
On a recent sales drive we were looking at companies who did and didn't have webvideos. The videos varied greatly in quality, but one really stood out. As filmmakers we are critical of not only our work but everyone else's too (we all are when it comes to our own field) but this video really impressed us. So instead of sitting there feeling jealous and bitter over the fact that someone else had done something worth watching we called the company that had the video on the website. It was a simple call "we make videos and would just like to say that we are really impressed with the video you have on your site" That was it. No sales pitch, just a congratulations.
Not even an hour later the phone rings. It was the company who made the video. They wanted to say thank you for the compliment and inquired into the sort of things that we do. So we got to talking about life, the history of our company, the history of their company and so on. We had a lot in common so this was definitely worth a meeting! What a great result; well it would have been if it had stayed like that! About an hour after the first call we receive another call from the same film production company. "We have a job that you might be interested in? It's filming on a luxury ship in the Mediterranean on a Leadership course for four days. Would that be something that you're able to do and are you interested?"
Fast forward a few days; Gavin Sheppard and Sharon Hughes of MGV and I are on a ship in the Mediterranean filming a fabulous 50-cabin yacht as it makes it's way from Nice to the Island of Elba, over to Portofino and then back to Nice. Not only was the ship complete luxury but we were treated to filming several guest presentations from Ian Ayres (the Managing Director of Liverpool Football Club) Simon Woodroffe (owner of YoSushi) and George Zambellis. Along with our host William Montgomery, they explored the ideas of leadership and the possible ways of improving leadership to move a company forward. It was a really fascinating experience, especially as someone who is looking to move my own company forward to bring bigger and better things. Apart from that, it was a dream job that I believe every filmmaker fantasises about! I got to do a job that I love, in an amazing setting. A little teaser of the hours and hours of footage can be seen below.
So was it worth making that phone call to say we really like the video on you website? Yes. We are now set to met up with Gavin from MGV in a few weeks to discusslots of future projects we are going to work on together throughout the UK and indeed Europe.
I'm keen to know if there's anything you've done that's slightly out of the ordinary that has brought about a dream job, or good luck, for you and your company? If we all share ideas, who knows we might generate more business for one another! Remember to watch the video above...