Archive for the ‘Work-Life Balance’ Category

“What are you cheering about, Barmy?”
“I finished MILES ahead of you fellows!”
– Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps (Jeeves & Wooster: Kidnapped, 1990)

The band members at the Drones Club are practising… sort of together – they’re all playing different parts of the song, and the cacaphony is eardrum-splitting. Barmy, finishing ahead of the rest of them, leaps up with his cheer like he’s won something. ‘Tis an hysterical moment.

And in this moment we are reminded that racing ahead to the “finish line” is not always the “right” way. Music needs team work, team pacing, team expression to be “right”… to resonate with musician and listener. Transferring this thought to our lives – as we are apt to review our lives, its direction and speed as the new year rolls in – do we need to “finish first” or do we need some “life pacing” to truly resonate with the world around us? Interesting question to mull…

Cheers & a good 2012 to you,

P.S. On that note of life pacing, I’ll be posting at least bi-weekly from now on… unless events or your encouragement inspire me otherwise. All the best for the new year!


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“The small things matter.”

TED Talks are great for feeding the mind and soul.

Nigel’s 10-minute talk about Work-Life Balance reminds us that it doesn’t take radical changes in order to create a radical effect on your life: small things matter. And that thought is both hopeful and doable. We can take control of our the work-life balance in our lives through a shift in thought – and subsequently in action.

Nigel does acknowledge that some job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with balancing work life and engaging with a young family, but once you acknowledge what situation you’re in, there are still small changes you can make to improve the life-side of work-life balance.

Take a pause of 10 minutes to listen to him in person. It’ll be worth it:

And start those small changes today!

Cheers & a good balance to you,

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I had tickets to the opera after set one day. Timing with the shoot day meant I’d have to dress for the event at work. Once dressed, however, I happened past the Wardrobe department, and apparently didn’t pass muster. My biggest gaff was to wear a large-face (practical) watch which clashed horribly with my outfit.

I offered to remove the offending watch, but no, they’d find me the perfect accessory; my outfit would not be complete without the right watch, you see.

They sifted through their inventory to find a watch that matched seamlessly with my outfit. Indeed, they found one that was a perfect match. The only problem with the new watch was that it didn’t work. No battery. No ability to wind it. But then again, on screen why would you need a watch whose hands move? So we set the time to ten minutes before two (an aesthetically pleasing placement of the hands), and after a few happily imposed touch ups from the Hair and Makeup departments too, I was now ready to go to the opera.

The next problem… I had no idea what time it was anymore. Yet somehow I made it to the theatre on time and found that without knowing the exact time – as I usually do – it was a very relaxing, stress-free evening.

So it truly was the right watch for that outfit!

Cheers & good work-life balance to you,

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“Activity suggests a life filled with purpose.”
– Captain Von Trapp (The Sound of Music, 1965)

But even the good Captain is not convinced as he speaks these words to the Baroness. He only hopes there is purpose somewhere inside that busy activity of his.

May we be reminded not to fill our lives with activity hoping that purpose will follow or form itself, instead look for purpose which will then help us to determine the activity necessary in life.

Cheers & may you make the right discovery for you,

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PM101 in TODo you know about Deb’s appearance in Toronto on May 27 and the “Toronto Area PM101 Facebook Challenge (for a free book)“? To learn more, click here: http://on.fb.me/hEdmNg

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Life can teach you about filmmaking even when you’re not making films… these gems I learned from my mother… a wonderfully optimistic spitfire of a woman who I am so very fortunate to be related to. I had brought my mom with me to a music concert to which I had been gifted complementary passes. This one evening brought together these 3 very important reminders:

1. Rest when you can
She fell asleep during the concert (and happily did not snore, so I did not wake her until the end). A freelance film life is full of hurry up and wait both on set and between jobs. It is a very stressful existence. You have to take care of yourself and get sufficient rest both during production and between jobs (ok, but I do not recommend sleeping on the set!).

2. They… uh… we are all just people
After the concert I took her backstage to express our thanks for the complementary tickets. My mom always admired the artistic lifestyle from afar, but never grew up with it. Still, you would never know it to meet her, she appears to take it all in stride, unfazed. She has a unique ability to chat with anyone and put them – and her – instantly at ease.  Stars, Directors, Production Assistants, Drivers, Stunt Performers… they are all just people too. And you never know who you are going to meet or what you are going to learn when you start a conversation with one of them.

3. Find the magic around you
As we left, we exited the stage door, and fans were crowded around the door awaiting the star’s exit (not ours, hee-hee). As we distanced ourselves from the theatre, my mother bubbled with excitement. She remembered  being such a fan waiting at the stage door many years ago, but she never dreamed she would be one to exit a stage door herself – a dream of hers had just come true! As you learn the “secrets” of this industry, it is too easy to become jaded over time. Keep the magic fresh within you. Remember who you were coming in to the industry and find the magic all over again, every day. You make the magic. So, enjoy living the dream!

Magical wishes to you!


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Life can teach you about filmmaking even when you’re not making films… here are 3 things I learned from my Grandmother… a unique fireball of a woman who knew nothing about the film industry:

1. If you can’t do it, keep trying
My grandmother didn’t have much education – nor access to education. She was a single mother when social norms looked down on such a situation, and though she was far from being a good cook, she spend most of her life making a living from cooking. She learned by doing, and never gave up. No education? No excuses. That’s a work ethic worth importing into a film career.

2. Make and eat dessert
Though she couldn’t really cook, my grandmother sure could bake. She collected a veritable ton of dessert recipes and her desserts were fabulous. Cooking was survival to her, but baking was colour of life. May we remember to taste the dessert of life as we slog through the survival of a film career.

3. Always wear clean underwear
She never lived to see blogs and Facebook, but her insistance of always wearing clean underwear is a good reminder for today’s e-world. Whatever we post on the web, or say to each other on the set is remembered for a long time, often searchable, and sometimes poorly interpretted. Make it clean. Don’t air any dirty laundry that could embarrass you later in your career.

Tasty desserts and a good shoot to you!


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I’m not sure how I got the travel bug, but I have to admit that travel after completing a production is one of my best ways of recharging the ol’ batteries. Either international travel and spontaneous travel tie as my favorites.

On a 4-day shoot, a friend of my asked me on set where I was travelling to next. I told her “no way.” I mean, it was only a 4-day shoot! Then that night another friend tempted me with the travel section of the newspaper. Sigh. By next morning our flights were booked and 3 days later we were off to the jungle in Belize. A place where they turn off the generator that runs the electricity at 10pm… oil lamps in the room. Fireflies off the deck of the bar/restaurant. What a recharge trip that was! Spontaneous AND international! Oh yeah!

Hmm… where do you go?


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