Blog : Passion

Boot Camp for the Soul

Boot Camp for the Soul

North Devon is perceived by many as a hard place to make a career and life you love. This is why a lot of young people move out – to go live in a city or a place that is better established for connections, creativity, events and jobs.

I love living in North Devon and I want to tell you why.

North Devon produces ‘Makers’, people who see potential and make stuff happen, whether it be events, musical gigs, community groups or creative projects.

A lot of people have the perception that North Devon is sleepy compared to South Devon or Cornwall. I combat this perception through searching, asking and creating.

  • If there isn’t a group for something that you love, Search for other people who also enjoy your passion.
  • Ask people what they want from a group.
  • Create the group.

Not every group flourishes, but you’ll never know till you try! North Devon has great spaces to hold groups, including village halls, art centres, theatres. Remember, people often have to travel a long way to be a part of something so, like most things, promoting your group/event and creating a buzz of excitement, is really important!

North Devon is stunning, raw, gritty and a blank canvas. Some people see the blank canvas as a negative, but a blank canvas is a source for potential, with endless possibilities.

North Devon hones people’s passion-  a Boot Camp for the soul. People who love to live in North Devon are people who have determination, drive, stamina and a passion that is shaped by the surrounding beauty, rugged charm and silent remoteness.

Many people live a happy, fulfilled, passion-driven life in North Devon, if you are not one of them, take off your shoes and go for a long walk on one of North Devon’s beaches. Put on walking boots and hike in one of it’s many woods. Or stretch on your wetsuit and go for a refreshing swim in a North Devon harbour. You may just realise that North Devon has the space to allow your mind to wander, wonder and to figure out what it is you want and need from life.

Feature Photo credit: Wend Baker “Wuzzy Point, Westward Ho! North Devon”

Title Credit: Pete Yeo

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Confessions of a Film Maker

Confessions of a Film Maker

I find it hard to remember that no one starts at the top.

Not many people, if any, try their hand at something for the first time and have an amazing business within the first month.  Like anything it takes a lot of learning.

It’s hard being at a level you are not happy with, but this also sparks the drive to progress.

People who seem to get great quick, often have years of experience that aren’t always connected to their new found talent. They have a background in being able to sell their ideas, they are able to market themselves well, they are good at branding, networking, or have a specific skill set that creates a good foundation for their new work.

Being the person going through every step, making every mistake and not getting things right every time can give you a perspective that you’re not very good. But if you want it, you don’t give up; you spend more time learning, listening, adapting and watching out for what you do want and where you want to be.

Smoke and Mirrors.  If someone looks like they have it all sussed out and they are great in every aspect of their business, it has more than likely taken years to achieve this and/or they are great at the magic illusion of smoke and mirrors. They make everything look great on the outside whilst they learning and make mistakes away from the public eye.

The word excruciating comes to mind when you put work out that you know could be better, a website that doesn’t live up to your vision, or a blog where you wish your grammar was better! You need to embrace this exact moment, sit with it, however uncomfortable and learn from it. It doesn’t prove you’re not worthy, you’re not talented or you’re not good enough.

Everyone has horror stories, where they mucked up, made a big mistake, but this is what makes you who you are, your business what it is.

Also remember how who see the consequences of a mistake is just a perception, you could see it as the end of your business or you could see it as a quality control gage. Ever mistake you make, your quality control gage becomes more attuned. You simply work towards not making that mistake again so that future work is smoother, easier and more enjoyable.

I confess I have made films that I am not happy with , I still have a business that I strive to be better, but I also do see how far I have come and how much more confident I am when taking on a job and how my work is progressing. I have a wealth of knowledge and an effective quality control gage, which arose from getting stuff wrong. The more you get wrong, make mistakes, the easier you find problem solving and the quicker you progress.

So when you next see a business and think, “I want to be as good as them or better”. Just know that they have been exactly where you are now, they made mistakes, rose to the challenge and progressed to create a flourishing strong business.

Embrace and cherish your mistakes, they are truly a very important part of progression.

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The Why, The How, The What

The Why, The How, The What

I recently watched a great ted talk from Simon Sinek, “How great leaders inspire action.”

He states that when engaging people, it is so much more important that we look and discuss the Why, then the How and lastly the What.

Why we do what we do, How we do it and then lastly What we do.

I am interested in how this relates to film and how I am developing my films to explore my own way of engaging with audience’s.

I strive to make films of people who have passion. This is simply because passionate people engage me. The spark in their eye, their love for life and drive to work hard at what they cherish, is captivating.

Passion is an authentic ‘Why’.

My favourite films to watch, and films that are generally really well received, including promotional films, are creating or portraying this authentic Why.

“Find Your Love” promotional film, doesn’t even seem like a promotional film. It is way more than just promoting a yoga retreat; it promotes a passion for life, a way of life and also talks about not regretting life.

Films are using this passion to invite people to be inspired by the notion of a more fulfilling life. This becomes way more than just a promotional for a yoga retreat, it is a mantra!

Life has become pretty disconnected and these films are tapping into this lack of connection to engage.

I recently saw a viral promotional film for an up market spa.  It featured elderly ladies talking to camera about what they would have done differently in their lives.  This included emotive things such as, worrying less, kissing for longer, staying up later with a loved one and eventually led to the fact they wished they should have relaxed more. The promotion ends with the solution, The Spa.

Why- To help people relax and enjoy their lives. To not regret their lives.

How – By giving them a place to relax.

What – An upmarket spa.

The emotion and the message is relatable to a wide range of women and men watching the film. It is inspiring whilst also offering up a life lesson. People feel engaged when they can relate.

I think people who really love what they do in life, often emphasise the Why within conversation.   The Why is the most important part for them, the How and the What could be manifested in a 100 different ways, but the Why foundation stays the same.

We have all been asked in a social situation, “so what do you do?”. This question conditions us to answer with What we do. This so easily stops the conversation, what if we answered with Why?

So try this out in your next conversation and see how you feel about it and what comes from it.

Also check out the Ted talk and see what you think.

Feature Photo Credit: Ruth Farrar from Shextreme https://www.shextreme.tv

Jess Pearson, Shimnix Films and Jody Hartley, Jody Hartley Photography, Bulgaria December 2015

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Maybe I am a collaboration kind of girl?

Maybe I am a collaboration kind of girl?

From the start of Shimnix I have been scouting out for a team. In my head a team meant many things, companionship, help, more minds, better ideas, bigger projects, faster learning.

Everything comes in time, so I didn’t go out looking hard for people to work with, I set in my mind that I wanted to work with like minded people and they then started to cross my path.

I noticed that great people crossed my path, but they weren’t always going to create a great collaboration. For example, they didn’t have the same interests or were on their own journey, traveling off in a different direction. I think following your gut in this instance is the best thing to do. If you don’t think you are going to complement each other then there is no point trying to work together.

Everyone knows that to many chefs spoil the broth, so you have to be able to work in harmony and not let ego get the better of you. Whilst talking about ego, yes I most definitely have one, as do most people! For me I can get rather bossy when I get my director head on. In a lot of respects this is important as the buck falls with the director but I have found that working with people who take direction well, but also bring me back down to earth with laughter is so important.

Last year when creating Sophie Sutton’s Music video for Futureless, I properly had to get my director head on. We had limited daylight, being in November, the temperature was cold, people were giving up their time to help and it had taken us months to pull the location, props, people together. It suddenly dawned on me that I had to take control of the situation, this strangely came as a shock and pushed me well out of my comfort zone. I did swear a bit but then stopped my swirling head and started to direct. Sam Dowden, who was a part of the collaboration, took great direction, but also added laughter and fun. This completely changed the mood and lifted everyone’s spirits. Sophie Sutton had also worked hard with us on the concept and was very much a part of the collaboration, this created a great atmosphere. Sophie, whose video we were making, was involved and therefore the pressure to act like I knew what I was doing wasn’t needed, I could be myself and muddle through without judgement. The mix of direction, laughter, hard work and nurture really created a great space and produced our first ever music video.

Surround yourself with people who make you feel good. Only great things can come from this.

I can be the director, however, I can be the assistant, I can be the runner, I can be the sound woman, I can be the editor. In every collaboration you may fit in, in a different way. Allow this to happen,  you learn so much from being different parts of the jigsaw puzzle.

I always try and get to know someone before I decide to work with them. Have a good chat, I soon know if we are on the same page.

I am always looking for new collaborations, they add so much energy and magic to my life and filming.

So maybe a collaboration will lead me to creating a Shimnix team, having said that I am enjoying finding new people to work with and my films, our films are progressing for it.

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No one said it would be easy.

No one said it would be easy.

When I decided to become self employed, no one ever said it would be easy. In fact, I had a lot of people warning me about the endless hours or work, the tax and account bore, the difficulty in taking time off to rest and holidays with no pay, the constant worry of where work would come from next…the list went on.

At the time I was 25 years and had never found any work situation that had made me excited and make me spring out of bed, (if that is even possible.)

I knew what I loved to do and that was to create, to make films. It made sense to me to make my work something that I loved to do, why do anything else?

For the first time, I felt the hunger. The hunger to learn every aspect of business to make this work, whatever ‘this’ was. I set out to make sure I had help where I had weaknesses. I went through The Princes Trust, The Bideford Bridge Trust and found lots of amazing courses with North Devon Plus, Princes Trust, Women do Business, School of Social Entrepreneurs and many more. I came out with a healthy grant, a 2 year mentor ship and better knowledge.

None of this felt difficult it came quite naturally to me to want to learn how to make a living from my love.

Something that has been very interesting and difficult at times was protecting my love. Once you step into Business territory you have many people telling you how to get sales, to market, to remove emotion, to hard sell, to get the biggest clients, to win, to trample your competitors. It becomes, you against the world, and the love is easily lost, is too easily forgotten. This is all good advice and often works in business, however, it doesn’t work for every business and I constantly ask myself why I am doing this, working endless hours, working hard to learn, to progress, to evolve and its for the love.

The love is the only thing that is IMPORTANT. If the love makes you money, great, if it simply makes you happy then that is more than enough.

No one said it would be easy and sometimes it’s not, but as long as you protect your love, then it is all easier than you may think or expect.

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