Partially Reformed Content – #1

This ones going to be more of a ramble than an actual full formed blog today. The truth is that I’ve had a lot of small things on my mind recently and no one thing is fully formed enough to make a full formed post out of it. As a result this one may flit a little bit from topic to topic. But reformed blog content is a bit like reformed meat. It might not sound appetizing but damnit if it isn’t somewhat delicious as a sandwhich with a bit of tomato and salt. What im trying to say is; Im not exactly the most coherent person at the best of times. So this will actually be even more of a step down in terms of structure from my usual content.

(For anyone curious about what “Reformed Meat” is…)

I say that both as a warning and as a bit of a reassuring way for me to be open. Some people get annoyed by my chronic misuse of grammar and spelling, my flyaway structuring or my generally chirpy (If not slightly moany) attitude. So I completely appreciate it if you come here expecting even more film talk only to find me rambling about my Job or about anime or (As is the case here) a load of half thoughts that don’t really fit together. That kind of leads me into my first point really…

When I started this site There were three real motivations to do it. First and foremost I liked the idea of being able to blog about things that were off the beat and path of my regular content. While I love making the content that I do on my youtube channel I will admit that it can occasionally be a bit creatively stifling in the sense that I don’t really feel entirely comfortable making “Non film” based content on there. I’ve been umming and Ahhing about making some video game related content for a while but one of the big things stopping me is that I know that you dear reader (Along with a large chunk of the people who watch my stuff and arnt reading this) appreciate my film stuff and probably wouldn’t appreciate me badly talking over a video game play through I even considered making a separate channel just for gaming videos but when I realised that I barely have enough time to work on my other shows like “The comedy dining experience” or “Short film Spotlight” that it would be way too much trouble to try and grow an entirely separate channel (At least not until I’ve grown my main channel a little bit more).

The Second reason was that I thought by setting this site up I’d probably be able to have a better line of communication with you guys. I can talk to you through youtube comments but here it’s kind of a home turf. It means that I can engage with you all directly and hopefully be a bit more personal with you all about my life and where im going. Just watching my videos will give you one impression of me, I don’t want to be too personal in those videos because you come for the reviews not to hear about my life! That’s why I decided having a little space on the internet where I can talk to you all directly (Like this) would be a good way to give you a more well rounded idea of how things are going behind the scenes…That and I’d like to think that you lot would be equally fairly open with me because of this.

The third (And this is probably the most corporate reason) was that it gives my content a bit of a boost search wise. Im not gonna lie. Being a small channel on youtube has its highs and lows. On the one hand it means I don’t have pressure to produce content; Im not battling a tide of messages on social media and im given a lot of free room to shape my content. On the other hand though it means that the youtube system is set to work against me in terms of pushing my video out there and while my traffic is very good in relation to my sub numbers at this point; im still about 15 subscribers away from breaking 100 after 12 months on the platform and that can be a little bit draining when you spend a large amount of your downtime pushing your videos across various social media and when im not doing that im editing. So I figured that by setting up a site where I can publish my videos somewhere different from my youtube channel it gives the “Stumble upon” factor a bit of a boost while at the same time increasing the odds of people finding my content. Currently I share to 5 or 6 message boards, 2-3 facebook groups, 2-3 reddit feeds and here. that means that instead of my video just being hosted in one place (My youtube channel) it ends up being hosted on 13 places a week potentially. That gives me quite a bit of extra reach and can make the difference between someone subscribing and somebody never seeing my channel.

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 18.08.11

(While it isnt the highest figures n the world, since starting this site and pushing more on social media I’ve slowly started growing.)

I’ve only ever had 1 goal in terms of growth for my youtube channel and that was 100 subscribers. I had a couple of soft goals, I quite liked the idea of hitting 50 subscribers before I made my first year on youtube (Which I Succeeded in) and I also would have quite liked to have done better with my new channel than I did with my old channel over 10 years ago (Something I achieved last month). But they were spur of the moment goals really, Not something I aspired to from the off. The 100 sub goal was something I always wanted to achieve. Mainly because I wanted that sexy custom URL. Most youtubers moan about wanting to get monetized and wanting to be able to work full time on youtube. And while I can see an appeal in that I know that its both something im not majorly interested in currently and also that its something that’s completely off the table at this point anyway. I can take my time growing past 100 subscribers, but to hit 100 to me at least would be a sign that what I do is viable, that people DO want to see the kind of thing I put out. Not of course to diminish the wonderfulness that my current subscribers have bought me. Seriously if you’ve subscribed to my channel im tremendously grateful and I’ve made some wonderful friendships out of doing what im doing. But once I hit that goal I’ll feel somewhat legitimized I think. (It’ll also mean that I can finally start advertising my channel URL directly to people because at the minute having to share “Youtube.com/SIUFNHWIOUWijnijunbadspIOHNIUD242390” is a damn site less professional than being able to share something a bit shorter and neater looking…

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(Its getting very very close now! If your reading this and want to help a guy out I’d be tremendously appreciative!)

As an epilogue to the recent blogs I made “A new career in a new town” parts 1 and 2; Tomorrow I finally start my new job. I’ve been kind of hesitant to talk about my last few days with my old company but now that I’ve left I do feel a bit more comfortable talking about it. When I told my Boss I’d got the job he was surprisingly calm about the whole thing…Maybe even a bit surprised that I’d actually decided to up and leave. In hindsight I’ve taken it as he was either caught off guard and didn’t really know what to say about it so he had to try and keep it professional by being overly polite about it. Or that he was genuinely sad that I was leaving and wanted to keep things as amicable as possible. The remaining 4 weeks I spent at the company were pretty much quiet. My Boss and the remaining senior staff said very little to me during this time and whenever I needed to talk to them (Regarding holidays, sick leave, my P45) they were overly accommodating. Again im not sure whether this was because they were genuinely being nice or whether they were maybe trying to make me feel bad by trying to demonstrate what I was walking away from (i.e killing me with kindness) They let me have additional time off, they were happy to let me leave 4 days earlier than my notice period would allow and on the day that I left they told me I’d be welcome back at any time and that I’d be getting an invitation to there next works Christmas “do”. In short they made me feel very sad to be leaving them…whether this was intentional or not though I couldn’t honestly say. On the last day they told me they’d written my reference “But they wernt sure what the definition of serial murderer was” they laughed as did I but I couldn’t help again feel there was some malice in what was being said (One of the main reasons I was leaving was because of problems I’d had with them defining parts of there contract…so I wasn’t sure if this was a jab or just them having a joke) Equally there parting gift was a book entitled “Stories for boys who dare to be different” again. I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be a coded jab at the contract issue or just a comment on the fact that in real life im a bit of a jittery eccentric sort. I shook everyones hands, I had a raft of facebook friend requests and then I stepped out ready to start my “New career in a new town”.

(Love this instrumental. while it’s no “Sound and vision” its one of my fave tracks off this album)

I have fond memories of working at my old place. I’ll miss it terribly in terms of my co-workers, the ease of the job and the routine. But at the same time I don’t think I’ll ever be able to separate those happy memories from those tinged bad times which is a real shame. It was inevitable that would have to leave there at some point. I just wish it had kind of been more definitive rather than several reformed arguments and stress inducing moments coagulating into a slab of not wanting to be there anymore. Im excited for the challenge that my new job will open up but at the same time Im right now dealing with some internalised issues. I wonder whether I’ll take to the job. I wonder whether I’ll make any friends or whether ill be the loner of the group. I wonder how im going to sort out the situation with Parking (my new employers have a deal with the local council to enforce a permit based system for parking in the local area and if you park anywhere within a 2 mile radius of the main office without a permit you can get into serious trouble apparently)Which is going to be fun as I don’t really have any direct means of getting in if I cant park there. I have some stress around finances at the minute because over the next 3 months my pay is going to become a bit strained (I’ll get half a pay check at the end of this month, half a paycheck in the middle of next month and then a month and a halfs paycheck at the end of August…which is going to be bitty and difficult to manage (Though I know in the long run, if the job takes, that I’ll be significantly better off) It’s the usual first day jitters but in these turbulent times I really just want things to work out as much in my favour as is possible. In short while my old job had some set in rot that slowly made the position untenable, the new jobs got a load of instant problems that’ll be resolved slowly over 3-4 months one way or another. I just hope that in 3 months time when I’ve properly settled in I’ll be able to blog on here about my wonderful situation and how I made the right choice…

(Pictured: Hopefully, me.)

On to more positive things however! Labour Live! A big festival held in London celebrating art, creativity and most importantly Jeremy Corbyn. Now. being up front and honest I think that music and politics should go together like Church and state (I.e: they shouldn’t) And I wasn’t particularly enamoured to the idea of this when they first announced it. However at the same time I realised that there are some people out there who’d really enjoy this kind of thing and im not going to stand in the way of a good afternoons entertainment. I thought £35 was a bit steep mind. And I did think the line up was a bit less than steller. But overall “Eh; it’ll do as well as it’s meant to do…” initial reports looked very sketchy about how many ticket sales there had been for this festival. Indeed as of a fortnight before the event itself papers like “The Mail” were reporting only 3000 of the 20000 tickets for the event had been sold and they were laughing it up good and proper. I kind of felt a bit embarrassed and in some ways I still do about the fact they had to slash ticket prices and offer them for free to people who were in Unions. But at the same time as I live in the north of England I was left kind of thinking “Well what did you expect!?” they held an event in a rather obscure part of London, charged a fortune to get in and hired bands that were fairly low key and then were worried it didn’t sell very well…

(If it had been closer and cheaper i’d have probably gone…Labours a northern party traditionally so holiding a festival in the south seems a bit counter productive to me…)

The reality of the day was quite a bit different. Instead of 3000 unshaven sack wearers turning up there was actually closer to 13000 people. All of whome were ramped up for some good old politicking! Which was a nice turnaround as I was expecting something closer to an absolute disaster. Everyone seemed to have a lovely time and everyone seemed to be hoping there’d be another one next year. And while that didn’t stop the right wing papers from turning up the second the doors opened, snapping an empty field and going “AHAHAHA!!! See! Empty! AHAHAHAAA!” the pictures from later on in the day definitely showed that while there may not be a market for a “Labour Live 2” there was an appetite still for the kind of politics that prompted something like Labour Live in the first place.

(What the Daily mail reported as “The Turn out for Labour Live” vs what the actual turnout was like)

I think generally at this point everyones fed up with the sniping and political conniving that has taken place over the last 3 years. We’re fed up of trump, fed up of Brexit, fed up of the left wing, fed up of the far right wing. And in these times I think it would be quite easy to think that it would be better off if we just retreated back to the homoginized lump that was center ground politics. That now mythical time between 1997 and 2005 where yes both the UK and the US were going down the toilet still. But at a significantly slower rate than we were under thatcher and an exceedingly slower rate than we currently are under May. Its easy to forget however that in the UK specifically we haven’t had a far left leaning government now for approaching 50 years. And that if you keep voting for right and center field candidates, then complaining that the countries going to the dogs. Your kind of answering your own question. Nowadays the working and middle class are fed up. They’ll vote for the option likely to cause the most damage to the country not because they believe it’ll benefit them but purely because they know that in doing so they’ll give the government a bloody nose. Maybe even make them leave…at which point the public will inevitably end up voting in another right wing government thus making the wheel spin once again ever out of there favour…its madness really…

I think the main problem we currently deal with lies in the fact that we’ve effectively polarized the population. Its either a case of you think people should be able to say and do whatever they want with no ramifications whatsoever or you think that you should sacrifice some of that freedom in order to make the world generally a much nicer place to live in, and that’s it. Theres no budging on that. Your either happy endorsing racist, mysoginistic and homophobic beliefs because you think free speech at any cost is necessary. Or your living in 1984 and you don’t think anyone should be allowed to say anything offensive because everyone should be allowed to have a safe space. Its all bollocks if you ask me (And one of the main reasons I retreated to the safety and comfort of the internet where I can hang around with people who are tonally on my level and experience both ends of the political spectrum on my own terms as and when) I don’t agree with the far right because. Well I don’t think unfiltered free speech has ever been a good idea. Equally I don’t agree with the far left because I don’t think being 100% accommodating is a practical endeavour to strive for. As for the center ground?…well I don’t agree with them because I don’t think they’re left wing enough and the right wing elements put me off…so I kind of drift in and out of the far left of the spectrum. Tentatively labelling myself a socialist though not feeling like I’ve done enough to earn the title. Its because of the last 3 years that I’ve stopped judging people on there political beliefs and started judging them by there actions. And I’ve found my life somewhat more enriched for it. I have friends now who are conservative but who do extraordinary things for charities, wouldn’t hurt a fly and are constantly out trying to help the homeless and minority groups. Equally I have a bounty of friends on the left who couldn’t be more considerate human beings. By judging a person on the contents of there heart over the contents of the ballot box I’ve been able to make more meaningful relationships in my life. and yes we don’t have to agree on everything politically, and yes there’ll be heated arguments at times. But It doesn’t matter when, after all is said and done, we can put that aside and enjoy a nice night above politics.

(These Twunts need to go away mind…I have neither the time nor the patience for them…)

Other bits of news…well I recently did my first Dumpster dive for VHS tapes. a house a few doors down from me was chucking out a load of stuff as they are in the process of moving and one day while walking down to my car I noticed a massive bag of VHS tapes sitting in there. I tried to get permission to take them but they were out so I quickly skimmed through the contents and came away with 2 tapes (Most of them were football tapes or films I’d already got). In many ways its kind of a “Right of passage” in the VHS community to dumpster dive. Charity shops don’t accept tapes these days so trying to get your hands on them outside of the trading community can be kind of difficult. I hope it wont be my last Dumpster diving experience. Though equally I hope that I find more next time than dog ear’d sell thru copies of “Resevoir Dogs” and “From Dusk Till dawn” .

(Hardly the biggest and best find in the world. But hey for a first dive to find at least 2 things I like in amongst a load of football tapes was quite a plesent feeling…)

I recently sat down with my good friend Ben to once again record some new “Comedy Dining experiences” we intended to do 3 full commentaries and while the first 2 came out fine, the last one was a mess. It was nearly 3 in the morning and we were both very tired. So I may end up supercutting that one just to get the best bits out of it. We’re hoping to do another one in July sometime though in the mean time it’s a bit more of a case of “Watch this space” than anything else.

(Heres our first episode together if anyones interested…)

After writing this blog post im pretty much going to spend the rest of tonight working on the last script of season 4, and script editing/recording 3 new episodes of my show to go out some time in August. Im currently working on a collaboration that’s proving to be a lot of fun and I cant wait to share it with you guys as and when it gets finished. Then its just a case of filling in the last of the paper work for my new job, getting my outfit ready and trying to get an early night in so I can be as bright eye’d as possible for tomorrow.

And I think that’s everything for now. im sure I’ve missed some points I really wanted to talk about but for now I think this is a good place to leave you on. I’ll probably do another one of these in a couple of weeks but in the mean time thank you for taking your time to read this and I hope you have the best week it’s possible to have in June.

(While not entirely relevent to this blog I’ve been listening to this for the last 2-3 weeks constantly…that guitar hooks waaaaay too damn catchy!)

A New Career In A New Town (Part 2)

So I’ve managed to scrape some free time to myself in the early hours of the morning and it was basically a coin flip between writing a new review for my channel or writing a blog post finishing off my frankly obscenely long thereputic purging of my most recent period of time in employment. I will be doing notes for a new review tomorrow evening. Though im still trying to decide whether to do a Red triangle episode I have outstanding or whether to focus on a collaboration I’ve had in the fire since February/March time that I really should crack on with.

(This is all the clues you’re getting for that one!)

But that’s getting away from the bigger point! If your reading this your wanting to know how the story ended (Or rather how we get to the ending of this story, because odds are I wouldn’t be writing a blog post about my experiences in the film industry if it ended with “And Im still working there and everythings great”…) So! When we last left off we’d just had the first major altercation that would set in motion my current situation. After that incident happened I was fundamentally changed in my opinion about my place of work. Before I’d led with the mindset that people do occasionally have bad days and that sometimes people will be short with you when they’re in a bad mood but they’ll typically apologise for there actions and try to move on from it. This was one of those incidents where I fully expected an apology for his outburst because not only was it totally unnecessary, it was equally very unprofessional and it hurt me to think that he had so little regard for my feelings that he thought it was okay to talk to me like that. As I mentioned in the previous blog post the disciplinary never happened. But he never made it known that it wasn’t going to happen…This meant that I spent the next 2-3 weeks expecting to be on the receiving end of a bollocking that I didn’t agree with and it almost certainly effected both my work ethic and my performance as a result.

The weeks rolled on and slowly I started to get back to normality. I thought maybe it was just a one off odd incident and that things were pretty much back to normal. That is until November when there was another slightly minor incident involving miscommunication that led to a particular filming gig being sent out later than we’d been told to send it. This again didn’t get rectified but at least it didn’t end with someone walking out screeching about Disciplinaries so I could sleep well for the time being.

December led to the next incident when I was told not by my boss but by the accountant for the company that I was being denied my Christmas holiday time because they wanted an editor in the office over Christmas in case there was an emergency and that I’d drawn the shortest straw. Some back story, the company has existed for just under 15 years  (16 this year) and in the 15 or so years that the company has run there has never. And I mean NEVER been an edit called in over the Christmas period. The post production department winds down at the end of November and typically doesn’t get a new job in till the end of January. There was nothing in the schedules that was any different last Christmas nor was there any inkling that anything was going to happen. When I raised this to my boss with a very polite “Why is this happening? Im so confused” he parroted what the accountant said and with that I worked Christmas Eve and the 26th-30th of December. How many people were in the office over the Christmas period? Two. Two  people. Me. And the accountant. And during those 6 days or so I literally spent that time organising files and doing absolutely anything I could think of to stop me decking everyone. Even the boss didn’t appear during the Christmas period and they knew I had nothing to do while I was there. The only saving grace of the entire experience was that on the 30th of December the Accountant got a phone call off the boss who apparently told him to tell me that I could go home at lunch rather than sit there for another 4 hours doing literally nothing productive. Though because of this incident I ended up missing out on the Christmas holidays effectively and I never really got time off that was in any way meaningful as a result.

(Imagine this but somehow less busy and more depressing)

Now that last point may sound like sour grapes and a bit self-indulgent. And you’d be right to an extent. But I don’t have any time off pretty much year round specifically because I like to take Christmas off. They knew that and I always stress to make it pretty clear to anyone who knows me… If I’d have gone in for a purpose I could have appreciated that. If it was a big company who were short of staff I’d have at least understood it… I’d know I wasn’t wasting my time. I offered to work from home during these days because I knew there would be nothing really going on, this was refused because they wanted someone to “Fill a seat” and as mentioned in the last blog post the only thing more of an arse than having to work over Christmas is having to work over Christmas doing absolutely nothing and having to wake up at 6:15am and commute for 50 minutes just to do nothing. In short, if they’d said I could have been on call or worked from home that would have been fine. If I’d gone in with purpose that would have been fine. But they seemingly called me in there for nothing and I think that by the last day even they’d realised that all they’d achieved in doing what they’d done is made our relationship even more fragile than it already was…Though the real tipping point and the last straws were still to come…

I believe it was the last week of February that the final straws were put into place and broke. For the past 2 years my department had been levying the boss and the senior staff members to try and get workers contracts drawn up. We had been working for 2 years without any kind of contract or job security when we first broached the subject mainly because we didn’t really like the idea that the boss, if he was in a mood, randomly firing us without notice period or pay (Something he had done to 2 ex-employees within that 2 year period) we’d badgered him and mithered him but seemingly it was all in vein until February of this year (4 years in at this point). Now. I’m 90% confident that our badgering him had no effect on whether we got contracts or not. What I do think swayed it however was that my Boss had been in touch with his insurance company who were not happy with how things were being run, nor were they happy with the idea that we as staff members could effectively walk out at any time because we weren’t under contract.

So in the last week of February apropos of nothing my boss walks in with a big wodge of papers slams them down and starts passing them out saying “Can you read this, sign it and hand it back to me within 48 hours, any issues let me know and we’ll try our best to accommodate.” These were contracts. And they were fucking awful. They were badly written, vague to the point of pointlessness and they were littered with grammar and spelling mistakes. They were also heavily weighted in favour of the employer over the employee to an almost comical level. I read through this contract and there were numerous points I disagreed with. But one point in particular stuck out to me I have the document scanned on my computer but as I’d quite like to keep my anonymity on this one for at least the foreseeable future the wording was something to the equivalent of “You cannot work for a rival media company for 3 years after your notice period” Now. I had multiple problems with this stipulation. Firstly the vagueness of the wording. “A rival media company” could be anything from a fully fledged production house right the way through to B&Q because they have a facebook page. Equally there was a further stipulation to the above point. An addendum if you will that stated that I “Was not allowed to work for, start or continue work in any media venture in any capacity for 3 years after my notice period” which again is so vaguely written it could mean anything from “Your setting up your own business? Well see you in court…” to “ You uploaded a video to your facebook profile?…well…see you in court…”it was a seriously flawed contract and the majority of it was written that way. So I went to my boss and explained my concern.

(This face isnt far off my own when I read that contract)

His response? “Ahh mate don’t worry about it, we wouldn’t do anything bad to you… it’s just to protect our business.”  When I suggested (To put my mind at ease) whether he’d mind tweaking the wording to either clarify what a “Rival business” was or whether he would tweak the wording to at least specify what kind of work he didn’t want us doing for 3 years he became a bit cagey he started off down the line of “Well we cant change it for you mate because we’d have to change it for everyone and if we tweaked any of the points in this contract it could end up making the whole thing null and void”…I protested the point by saying “Well the rival business thing is fine for say; the company electirician or the website developer. They can move to any industry and get started. But I work in the film industry and this point specifically seems to imply that if I quite here I wont be able to work in the film industry for 3 years thereafter.” … there was a silence. And then after some thought he reiterated “Look mate. We arnt trying to diddle you. We wouldn’t bother taking you to court we’re not like that. But don’t just ask me for advice on whether you should sign this or not because I helped write it so of course im going to suggest you sign it…by all means get a second opinion”

So I did. I went to a union that offered free legal advice and they informed me that first and foremost if you have a problem with a contract you should submit it in writing because if you didn’t and it ever did go to court you’d at least have a document proving you disagreed with the terms of the contract. So with a bit of help from my family I drafted up a formal letter raising all the issues I had with the contract and asking for either clarification or tweakings to the meanings because I wasn’t happy with just how vague it all was.

This email was sent on a Friday. Monday morning I get into the office to find an email waiting off the boss asking for a meeting at the end of the day, “Oh brilliant” I thought “We’re finally going to get things sorted…Im really glad I signed up to a union now!” I thought…I was wrong to think that.

This wasn’t a meeting. It was effectively bullying. Because whereas I thought I was walking into a pleasant conversation one on one with my boss about contracts and how we could reach a compromise. Instead I walked into my boss and his mate who refused to listen or acknowledge my issues for 50 minutes and instead for those 50 minutes chose to go completely batshit insane at me for DARING to talk to a union and the frankly DISGUSTING behaviour I’d shown in sending them the email that I did in which I insulted them by daring to acknowledge that I had issues with the contract. When I sat down I was expecting pleasantries…what I got right off the bat was “I GOT YOUR EMAIL MATE. WHAT ON EARTH POSSESSED YOU TO SEND THIS!? IM INSULTED. DEEPLY INSULTED AND I WANT TO KNOW WHY YOU THINK THIS IS A GOOD IDEA!?” I was stunned. It was like someone had hit me with a bat. And while I was able to recover and stop babbling after about 10 minutes or so the next 40 minutes could best be described as me trying to explain that I joined a union to seek a 2nd opinion as he’d told me to do (He would rebuff that sentiment by saying “I was only joking about the 2nd opinion mate! I didn’t think you’d actually go and do it!”)  and my boss adamantly stating that I was trying to breed an “Us Vs Them” mentality in the office and that I was trying to bring back the “Worst elements of the 70’s” by involving “Spineless unions” his mate would only chip in to tell me that he too was “Utterly lost with the email I’d sent in” and the pair basically spent just short of an hour slagging off the unions, questioning my competency and refusing to answer any of my questions (There was a highlight moment for me that would give paxman a run for his money where I must have said “Define what a rival business is?” to my boss about 12 times without a solid answer) I reiterated my point that “If you could just tweak one point in this contract non of this would be happening” to which they adamantly refused because it wouldn’t be fair to the others…when I explained that the term I had problems with would only seriously effect my department and that everyone else would get off relatively easy they ignored it…at one point my boss asked why I didn’t ask the accountant for a 2nd opinion instead of going to a union. My response? “Because he wrote it and you helped write it too! You specifically told me not to take your word for it because you helped to write it! So im not going to ask your mate for a second opinion if he helped write it too!”

(Your home boy here was beyond pissed and really couldnt be arsed to take it anymore…)

Another prominent part of this “Meeting” was when I’d put a point like that across…that was clearly right. They’d take a long pause and say “…Oh we’re just going round and round in circles here” which was there codeword for “We don’t have an answer to what you’ve just said but we don’t want to seem like we don’t know what we’re talking about so we’re going to change the subject now”…The culmination of this 50 minute argument was a point where my boss literally called me “Slimy” for using a union and then after I rebuffed one of there points quite thoroughly he just snapped at me “Well mate! Im not compromising! You either sign this as soon as possible or you can go to your union and ask them for advice on severance packages!. I don’t mind paying out two to ten grand. It means nothing to me! But they wont help you find a job mate! So you have a good hard think about that. We’re done here.” and with that the meeting was over. While making minor small talk about “Thanking them for helping clear the air” (I said this ironically if you couldn’t tell) they took that point seriously and for the next 5 minutes while I found my shoes, coat and bag they just kept repeating back and forth to themselves that “This was just a sad situation and that I didn’t know what I was getting into by messing with them.”

I left the office for the night fairly silently, got in my car. Called my partner and told her everything that had happened. And then and there made the decision I wasn’t staying with this company anymore. I was done. I wouldn’t get talked to like that by my own parents. Letalone a little upstart and his mate thinking they can muscle me into submission. That night I got home and told my parents who were absolutely stunned by my bosses behaviour and about half an hour after I told them my father in law phoned me to say that my partner had told him everything and frankly it was a wonder “I hadn’t twatted the git” the irony was my boss thought the situation was sad but from my perspective I found a man much older than me having to get his mate in to help him hold an indefendable corner against a much younger man  on a point that could have been rectified and fixed in 20 mintues within a word document much much sadder.

I spent the following month applying for jobs, I had a couple of initial responses but nothing substantial. My boss seemingly didn’t think the “Meeting” we had was anything significant because after this happening he pretty much just went back to being himself. Only further adding to the strain of needing to get out was the fact that there was a growing possibility of the office being relocating somewhere even further away. There were only 2 places relocation was likely to happen in, one of them was the next town over. Making my rapidly approaching hour long commute an hour and ten minutes in and an hour and a half out. which was ludicrous. The other location was up in the hills, it would only have 2 ways in and 2 ways out and both would be inaccessible for large swathes of winter.

So now the pressure really was on because I couldn’t stand to drive any longer than I was already doing and my boss is the kind of person who’d have you drive your car off the road and in to certain death if only to ensure there was a chance you’d be in work that day.

(Self explanatory really…I wouldnt mind but the boss himself has always either lived 5 minutes away from the office or literally IN the office…)

So with mounting pressure and a serious lack of jobs going in the area, one evening in May I sent off for a raft of jobs and as a laugh I put in for a job in a non film industry position that was based about 5 minutes away from my house and was nearly double pay. I had no chance. But it was a laugh and the worst they could do was say no so I went with it. And then 2 days later I was asked to submit a video interview. “Ahh it’s probably just formalities. Everyone who applies will have to do one” I thought…it was a very weird experience having never done a video interview before but I didn’t burst into tears at any point during the interview so I see that as a positive.

I heard nothing back from any of the other jobs I applied for but about a week later the company who asked for the video interview got back in touch to say they were impressed with my video interview and wanted a “Face to face” interview to check my competency. “Ohhhhkay. I thought; well…I guess I did a bit better than I thought…I’ll go to the interview but im sure there are better qualified people for this position. I mean; I review bad and cult films on the internet Im hardly well adjusted enough for this position…” but I accepted there invitation, went along, and while I was a bit nervous, a touch rambly and for some reason my throat decided to close up during the interview. I managed to get across 80% of what I wanted to say. Though I thought I’d not been confident enough. I felt like I’d said all the wrong things and that “Joe mc’brill job” was going to cruise into proceedings with his £600 suit and slick back hair and just seal the deal in 3 smoothly crafted words. I on the other hand had verbal incontinence and a tuft of hair (What was left of it) I wasn’t feeling confident.

Shockingly though 24 hours later I got a phonecall from that new company asking me if I wanted the job…”Shit!..” I Thought “How on earth has this happened!?”  I thought. I was stunned. I really wasn’t expecting to pick up this position nor was I expecting to be able to walk out of one job into another. I fully expected to either be let go or to have to quit due to the stress involved in day to day operations. So to be told within a month of that infamous meeting that a rather large company wants you to work for them in there middle management department for significantly more pay and 10 hours a week more time to yourself. How could I refuse!?

(Pictured: Me and the family – If this new place works out)

I informed my boss about a 3-4 days after I was told. There were several hold up’s in telling him, largely centring around issues with accepting my application and processing issues on my new employers side of things. Im not going to lie I was bricking it having to tell my boss. We’d recently seen a string of losses and my leaving would mean there were only 2 people in the post production department doing the work of 4 people.  I even took some comfort in asking strangers on message boards what I should do and whether my situation was normal. Apart from the 2 dozen people who just wrote “Fuck your boss man, he sounds like a bellend.” The majority of people said that after some of the events that I’ve mentioned in this blog they’d have probably left years ago. Feeling somewhat invigorated I finally asked my boss for a quiet word and told him exactly what had happened.

I made it clear to emphasise that this wasn’t a decision I had taken lightly while at the same time making sure he knew that my new employers really wanted me to confirm I was on board with working for them so I needed to get plans mobilised as soon as possible. I was expecting another bollocking but this time I think he was genuinely surprised. Whether I’d shocked him for once (I.E : I think he thought I would stay after he turned the screws on me but It’s actually backfired to the point of me leaving) or whether he was genuinely happy for me I cant say. But his response was a very calm and upbeat “Oh! Well. Well done mate! People come and go all the time and your one of our longest serving staff members so it’s understandable” he was quite shocked  I was leaving the film industry and he wished me well before not talking to me for the next 3 days.

I told my co-workers and while they put a brave face on it I could tell they were upset. More often than not I’d acted as mediator between them and my boss and now I was leaving they wouldn’t have somebody there to help them get through the day. They all seemed terrifically sad that I was leaving and in confidence a couple of them later messaged me on facebook to ask If I could keep an eye out at my new place for any potential openings.

Since all this has happened the only major drama that’s gotten in my way has been the tight turnaround deadlines for information requests from my newest employer. Seriously all this week it’s been emails like “We need you to send us 3 unique pieces of identification that cant be anything traditionally used as I.D…we need this information within 24 hours otherwise we’ll treat it as if we’d never offered you the job in the first place” which is fine had it not been the case that all of there application forms are various shades of broken. And that they’re terrible at responding to emails. (A good omen im sure you’ll agree)

But barring one or two minor niggles here and there im now feeling pretty confident about my decisions. Its now fairly likely that the old business will be relocating to a further away location within the next 15-24 months and I’d have rather jumped ship willingly than been pushed while I desperately cling onto the plank. I’ll never forget my old job, When it was good. Which it was more often than not. It was one of the best jobs that a guy could ask for. But multiple external factors coupled with complete and total random outbursts from the boss, The man im supposed to trust, has just made this job totally untenable. Though im really hoping this new job opens up a bit more opportunity . at the moment im trying to keep positive, and while it is upsetting to me that I’ll be leaving behind some great friends, easy work and a fun environment *Most of the time* I do feel like I’ve advanced as much as I can within my current place of employment. I look forward to my new career opportunity, a fresh start with new people and a chance to challenge myself.

To me this entire thing is a lesson on how communication can be absolutely integral to a business in regards to whether your clients or your staff will stick around or not. This entire situation was avoidable. Had my boss not absolute and totally pointlessly attacked me on multiple occasions over a 12 month period I’d probably have stayed fairly docile. Its also taught me that Pride in a position Is only worth the money its earned by. Having a Job that sounds cool but pays like crap isn’t a particularly good deal no matter how you look at it. Especially if you have external negatives only making the situation worst.

And while the potential office relocation stuff would have still been a serious factor in me moving. I’d have probably waited till the week we were supposed to be moving before looking for a different job. But because he was so nasty, because he was so personal and because he seemingly just didn’t know how to handle the situation he’s lost a senior member of his business absolutely needlessly and its going to be a real legitimate pain to recover that loss. Not to blow my own horn here.

And that’s pretty much all I have to say on the matter so far. Inevitably there’ll be teething troubles with my new job (as Is the case with any business a person joins. They have different ways of handling stuff so things are more than likely to go wrong. All I can do for the time being is repetedly contact my new employers customer support in the hope that they will fix everything. And other than that try and make leaving my current employment as smooth and ninja like as possible.

If you’ve read these two parts all I can do is sincerely thank you. It’s been a very difficult situation I’ve found myself in and I’ve predominantly suffered with my own thoughts, so to be able to put it all out there has really helped me out, its really been a weight off my mind. Thank you for putting up with this is all I can say. Thank you.  Normal service will be resumed shortly.

(Optimisms on the rise so I think this is a good way to end this and also look hopefully to the future)

The Dreaded Opening Gambit

Well I should probably make this both brief and somewhat welcoming. but in all honesty im really quite rubbish at introductions. Its something I’ve just never really gotten the hang of in all honesty. In real life I always either overdo it and come across as some grinning swivel eyed loon who just cant let a good silence do its thing. Or Im the diametric opposite; I come across as a little bit aloof and altogether overly cool and distant. More often than not im the former which usually in turn leads to several very clumsy and awkward interactions.

Y’see I suffer from that inherent awkward Britishness that plagues Richard Curtis films so charmingly. But in real life is just a bit peculiar. If we’re meeting for the first time I guarantee you something wont quite land right. From a premature handshake to getting my muddles worded up. To mishearing someone in a conversation and accidentally derailing it…even just standing/sitting in an awkward way. Its always happened and unless im in the other mindset (In which case people think im being purposefully grumpy with them…which I can assure you really isn’t the case) It always will happen.

(Basically this; Except I dont declare my love to everyone and I look like a shaved bottle of Sunny delight)

But you know what. For the most part im okay with this. After being the victim of multiple instances of things just generally being difficult and embarrassing I’ve learnt to just accept and roll with anything that happens on a day to day basis. If things get weird nowadays I either embrace it and double down purposefully making things worse…often turning an awkward moment into something at least partially resembling a humorous one or at minimum I’ll at least try to roll with it and see where things end up. I really have to be put in a very odd situation these days before even I have to throw my hands up and say “Well! I tried!”

In many ways that’s why I enjoy the ability to talk to people through instant messaging, youtube comments and email. It means I can take my time with things, really read whats being said and craft an answer without getting past my opening point and then spending the rest of the conversation coming across like this:

(Okay so Im maybe a bit more coherent than this in conversation…but not much…)

I always try to be as warm as I can with people. Hell if you’ve taken the time to read this, or watch one of my videos or just comment somewhere saying “Hi!” You’ve pretty much made my day already. It means a lot to me that someone would try to reach out in that capacity. That someone would actually put time aside to watch what I produce and feel like they WANTED to talk to me about film, the world or just something random. and while it may take me a little while to get back I almost definately will…

So welcome!, Im sorry in advanced. and I hope sometime you’ll stop by and say “Hi”sometime…