Process Is Never Sexy

Process is allows creativity to thrive.

Legend has it a woman once approached Picasso in a restaurant. She asked him to scribble something on a napkin, and said she would be happy to pay whatever he felt it was worth. Picasso complied and then said, “That will be $10,000.”

“But you did that in thirty seconds,” the astonished woman replied.

“No,” Picasso said. “It has taken me forty years to do that.”

How often are we seduced by the allure of the end product, neglecting to consider the means by which that end is achieved?

After all, we only ever see the final outcome. Rarely the process behind it. 

So it looks easy. 

At least, a good artist or craftsman makes it look easy.

And seeing the finished article, the winning athlete, the final cut, without the context of the process (the journey towards achieving that skill, ability, and ultimate success), has serious sex appeal.

Because process is never sexy.

It is laborious, menial, drudgery. 

And yet, without it, there is no final masterpiece.

Still, all too often we get carried away with the seduction of the end product and forget about all the donkey work that comes first.

In short, we eagerly get ahead of ourselves.

Getting Ahead of Myself

So, it’s official. I’m now Creative Director at community film making organisation North Devon Moving Image CIC. And firmly in at the deep end. 

Running a Community Interest Company is all new to me. But, surprisingly, there’s a lot that’s very familiar. 

Admin.

Yes, there’s been plenty of paperwork, accounts, social profiles, and emails to attend to since taking over NDMI. And the surprising thing is, it’s not surprising.

You see, behind every glamorous photoshoot, behind every epic movie, behind every creative masterpiece, is a mountain of admin, to-do lists and other necessary evils that allow the show to go on. 

Process.

So, here’s a little behind the scenes tour of the journey thus far… 

Before You Get Carried Away

Taking over the reins at NDMI has been exciting. In fact, one of the first things I did was create a list of ideas for filmmaking projects. 

I should’ve stopped right there.

But I didn’t.

I got carried away with creative ideas and thinking up all sorts of different angles for projects. Filmmaking workshops, seasonal concepts, youth-led initiatives, budget filmmaking ideas for families. 

Yep, I really went to town. And completely forgot all the other stuff that needed to happen before I could begin to contemplate anything even remotely creative.

Process.

Why is it that the fun stuff always eclipses the functional stuff?

So, it was with a heavy heart that I shelved my ideas (in a new Google Drive subfolder aptly labelled, Project Ideas) and set about figuring out what I actually needed to do to get myself up and running as the Person With Significant Control of NDMI.

First stop, Companies House.

Taking Over is a Process

Unlike starting your own company, when you take over an established organisation you have to reshuffle things.

The previous board of directors was out, and I now had to appoint a new one – which proved trickier than I at first imagined. 

People really need convincing to put their names on official company documents. 

Who knew?

It’s quite a formal process, as you’d imagine where liability is involved. But we got there in the end.

So, with a fresh board of directors and a Confirmation Statement filed with Companies House (£13 a year just to confirm your existence), the NDMI takeover was complete.

Of course it wasn’t. 

There was still the slight matter of… Everything else.

So Much to Process

Are you ready for this?

First there was the website. Logins and account details for the backend (admin panel), the hosting and the domain. They all needed to be checked and updated. In fact, the website itself needed to be checked and updated with new contact and company info.

Then came the social media profiles. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. YouTube. So many logins. And then adding the various profiles to those already on my phone, for good measure.

Of course, we mustn’t forget email. That too needed to be configured, with a new signature and footer details. And added to the accounts on my phone.

So much to process.

And I could never have done it without the help of my password manager.

Seriously. It’s been an absolute lifesaver.

Can’t recommend it enough. Especially if you control or run multiple accounts that require their own particular logins and complex passwords.

Yet, this was not the end of the admin.

There was still the bank account to update. The card to activate. The account to log in to and check. The signatories to change.

It seemed that I’d never get to the fun creative stuff.

Until.

When Opportunity Knocks

You should always answer. Regardless of whatever process you find yourself in the midst of. Because you never know when an opportunity might present itself again.

So I did.

And it made the whole admin setup more palatable.

Because now I had a creative project to work on too.

An exciting one.

A creative one.

A collaboration that would really serve the community and tell some powerful stories.

Only this time, I knew better than to get ahead of myself. I’d only just been through this process.

Before any exciting creative work could even begin, there would be plenty of admin.

But this time, it meant business.

Stepping Out of The Comfort Zone

When stepping out of your comfort zone it's important not to panic.

Doing something for the first time is scary. Especially when you’re doing it on your own. Now, this isn’t going to be some evangelical piece about how ‘nothing grows in the comfort zone’. Let’s save that for the motivational speakers and life gurus. What we have here is the beginning of a journey, where the intention is to document how I’m stepping well outside of my personal comfort zone with a new project.

This is the first chapter in the story of how I met your mother… 

That was too irresistible.

Actually, this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down…

Ok, I’ll stop now.

Let’s begin at the beginning.

Opportunity Knocks

To revisit a quote I’ve used before “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” If an opportunity presents itself, you’ve got to take it. Otherwise, you risk regretting it. Or, at the very least, you’ll end up always wondering, what if?

Some opportunities are just an extension of what you already do. A promotion at work. Or even a new job for a different organisation, but still within your own field.

These ones are easier to go for because the risk is mitigated. You’re surrounded by people to help and guide you as you find your feet. You already know the lay of the land. It’s just more of the same but in a different place, or with more responsibility.

But what about the ones where you have to go it alone?

Starting your own business, for example.

Or, taking over someone’s already established project.

These are the ones that are both exciting and quite terrifying in equal measure.

This is where you have to break out of your comfort zone.

What’s the Best That Could Happen?

This is the position I found myself in back in July 2020.

Here’s the context. The world was still firmly in the grip of a pandemic. However, lockdown restrictions were starting to ease. That said, many people were still urged to work from home. Many others remained on furlough. In retrospect, these were hardly favourable conditions for embarking on a new project.

Certainly not the ideal circumstances for running a community filmmaking organisation. You know, with all those restrictions and whatnot.

But, would the opportunity still exist once the dust had settled?

I wasn’t about to wait around to find out.

So, I applied to become the Creative Director at North Devon Moving Image CIC (NDMI)

And here we are.

What’s the best that could happen?

So Long, Comfort Zone

This is all very new to me. Uncomfortably new. And it’s exciting.

I’ve never run a Community Interest Company. I’ve never really had to source funding or write bids. Yet I have willingly thrown myself in at the deep end.

Because I’m not worried about the things I have never done. I’ll learn to do them as I go along.

I’m actually focused on what I can bring to the role.

Years of experience teaching media and filmmaking. A passion for creative expression through film, writing and design. And a wealth of digital marketing insight and expertise honed at Social INK.

It certainly helps to put everything in perspective. 

Sure, I’m well outside of my confort zone in many respects. But there’s a lot involved in running NDMI that I should be very comfortable with. And, of course, if there’s anything I’m not sure about, there are plenty of people around me that I can lean on for help, advice and support.

So, in some respects, this is a departure from the comfort zone, with a safety line attached.

I may be running this Community Interest Company alone, but I’m not on my own.

All that’s left to do now is get started.

And see what happens.