Being an avid podcast and audiobook listener, developing my own audio-based project was something I was just itching to do…

Breaking Cinema was a documentary storytelling podcast project I started developing in 2014 and abandoned in 2016.

My vision for Breaking Cinema had been to break new ground in a highly experimental, educational and entertaining way by presenting a podcast that would challenge each listener to reflect on their unique relationships with film, multimedia and producing content.

A considerable amount of work went into developing the format of the podcast and progressing beyond just another podcast show with a group of people talking about films.

I recorded a great deal of content for it and even had some theme music composed before I abandoned the project.

podcast

noun

a digital audio file made available on the internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new instalments of which can be received by subscribers automatically

Google’s English dictionary is provided by Oxford Languages

Breaking Cinema mainly developed out of my frustration with the dominant complacent thinking of film theory and my dissatisfaction with the lack of film podcasts that went deep into analysing the workings of cinema and our individual relationships with multimedia.

The project was heavily influenced by my own creative relationship with film and my experiences of being a film studies student.

It picked up a few of the loose ends in my BA (Hons) theoretical dissertation, Ways of Being: The Spectator and the Spectacle, and was more broadly influenced by media focused successor of my dissertation, Ways 2 Interface.

The film-focused storytelling podcasts You Must Remember This and The Secret History of Hollywood were massive inspirations of creating my own storytelling podcast.

I didn’t want to listen to yet another film podcast where a group of people sat around discussing topics and ideas that have been discussed a million times before.

I had listened to a lot of film podcasts that were group discussions, some good, some not so good.

I wanted to get away from simplistic group discussions and, if it was going to be a group discussion I wanted it to be a group discussion that was at the level and quality of podcasts ar every impressive film podcast such as The Hollywood Gauntlet.

I just wanted to say something new and I wanted to be highly experimental in the way that I did it.

Hence the name of the podcast – Breaking Cinema, i.e. breaking with tradition.

The Test Episodes

Although, formulation episodes would be a better title for the first batch of episodes I recorded.

In the beginning, I didn’t know exactly what form the podcast would take, but I started recording material to help me focus my thinking and decide upon the style of the project.

I recorded sixteen test episodes, varying between 30 minutes all the way up to 90 minutes in length.

Some episodes I did solo and others I recorded with colleagues who I thought would bring insight and differing perspectives to the discussion.

For the most part, the test episodes started out as a group of people discussing cinema, but my approach was to be increasingly controversial in an attempt to take the discussion into new ground.

So if we were discussing a film or topic that I felt was just regurgitating film theory or film thinking that had been said before, I would jump in with a curve ball to inspire the discussion to go in a fresh direction.

Sometimes this worked, but quite often I would experience a lot of resistance.

The most infamous example of my controversial style can be found in the episode about Christopher Nolan’s Memento in which I claimed the film was a one hit wonder, much to the annoyance of my co-hosts.

20 Points

1) The bigger picture

2) Constructive

3)”Human beings are very complicated things. They live in several dimensions at once, not just one. And if they try to live just in one, they warp themselves horribly.”- Olaf Stapledon, Four Encounters, 1983

4) Five-dimensional thinking a.k.a. lateral thinking

5) Film history, analysis, criticism and appreciation can take care of themselves

6) Holistic = transdisciplinary

7) “The world we perceive is an artificially constructed environment whose character and properties are as much a result of unconscious mental processing as they are a product of real data.” – Subliminal: The New Unconscious and What it Teaches Us, 2014:50

8) Willful blindness a.k.a. the art of ignoring reality

9) Reflective

10) “I am not a good man and I’m not bad man. You know what I am… I am… an idiot! With a box and a screwdriver, passing through, helping out, learning.” – The Doctor, Doctor Who: Death in Heaven, 2014

11) Homo sapiens are the best and the worst thing about the planet Earth

12) “[In the future], the Internet will disappear… you won’t even sense it, it will be part of your presence all the time.” – Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google

13) Engaging with content is anything but passive

14) “All of us want to bury our heads in the sand when taxes are due, when we have bad habits we know we should change, or when the cars starts to make that strange sound. Ignore it and it will go away – that’s what we think and hope. It’s more than just wishful thinking. In burying our heads in the sand, we are trying to pretend the threat doesn’t exist and that we don’t have to change. We are also trying hard to avoid conflict: if the threat’s not there, I don’t have to fight it. A preference for the status quo, combined with an aversion to conflict, compel us to turn a blind eye to problems and conflicts we just don’t want to deal with.” – Margaret Heffernan, Wilful Blindness, 2012:211

15) Hybrid

16) “Until eight weeks old, every fetal brain looks female – female is nature’s default gender setting” – Louann Brizendine, The Female Brain, 2006:36

17) Creativity

18) ‘Listen’ – if you re-arrange the letters it becomes ‘silent’

19) “my mind was filled with one thought, one conception, one purpose. So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein, – more, far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.” – Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, 2003:49

20) Us

“What kind of time do you have to devote to your side hustle, and how can you organize your other job(s) around it? For some of us, this question is easily answered: compulsory hours at work, other time for side hustles. For people who are combining several or self-employed, though, things are a bit more complex.”

JR Thorpe, 7 Hacks For Balancing A Job & A Side Hustle, According To People Who’ve Done It, bustle.com

The First 10 Episodes

The first ten episodes were a varied mix of topic focuses and presentation formats…

Ep. 1. My First Education

A self-reflexive documentary about my relationship with film interspersed with an examination of the 1998 film Gods and Monsters, that was a key milestone in forming my understanding of cinema.

 

Ep. 2. Triumph of the Willful Blindness and its Great Dictator

A documentary that would have used the rise of Nazi Germany to explore the concept of willful blindness in relation to mass media.

Being polar opposites portraying the same set of events surrounding the allure of Adolf Hitler, Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will and Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator were the two film texts that would have been analysed in relation to larger mass media, cultural, historical and psychological relevancies and media text references.

 

Ep. 3. Pride and Prejudice and Smartphone Zombies

A documentary that would have explored the mass communications phenomenon and technological obsession of the smartphone. It wouldhave touched on how the smartphone has become an additional and inseparable limb-interface of the human body and what impact this is having on our ways of being.

The smartphone revolution would have been explored in relation to the biases around using or not using a smartphone; as well as in relation to the smartphone as a new form of cultural artefact, lifestyle connector and status symbol.

The episode would primarily have been a central group discussion with cutaways of vox pop material and other relevant media content.

 

Ep. 4. In an Auditorium Darkly: The Terror of the Eye-Phone

An audio drama that would have been made in the style of old time radio dramas with vintage 1950s advertising included.

The plot would have taken place in a cinema 1953 during a screening of The War of the Worlds. Specifically, the plot would have concerned the protagonist being on a date, popping out for a toilet break during the film, wandering off to have a bit of an explore in the dark recesses of the cinema and then finding the terrifying “eye-phone” and its orchestrator therein…

This would have been the first of a planned five In an Auditorium Darkly episodes that all take place in cinemas at different points throughout the 20th-century. The point of including fictional audio drama episodes was to use the fictional storytelling format to stimulate original thinking and to explore the concept of hypertextuality.

 

Ep. 5. Gamer Girls Galore

A documentary that would have explored the topic of adult females who play video games, a demographic which now comprises the largest collection of gamers. It would also have explored female objectification in the media and how the empowered female gamer stands in contrast to that objectification.

The female point-of-view is far too often overlooked in regards to media research and I wanted to open it up and present a thorough exploration.

This episode would have been a combination of my linking narration, contributions from the interviewed guests and excerts from other related media texts.

 

Ep. 6. Spectators of the Spectacles

A documentary that would bring film theory into the real world by starting with an analysis of the spectator, not the spectacle. It would have explored the larger psychology of the film experience, as being heavily determined by the psychology and personal history of the individual spectator.

This episode would have been a combination of my linking narration and contributions from a range of interviewed guests who would all have varying interests in film. It probably would also have included clips from other related media texts and some vox pop as well.

 

Ep. 7. The Slow Motion Picture Entity

A documentary that would have used a very thorough analysis of the 1979 film Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Often referred to as The Slow Motion Picture, due to it’s slow pace, the first Star Trek film would have been used to emphasize the point of slowing down our thinking and expectations when analysing a film text.

Another key point of the episode would have been establishing the difference between a film text, the two-dimensional images on the screen, and the film entity, the larger culturally embellished version of a film text as it exists in the collective consciousness.

This episode would have been my narration analysing The Motion Picture that would have included clips from the film as well as other related media texts.

 

Ep. 8. Microfilm in a Day

A documentary that would have chronicled a group of participants being brought together and set the challenge of going off to make a short film in a single day using nothing but their smartphones.

The point of this episode would have been to explore the idea of using practical filmmaking to better understand film theory and increase the effectives of the education of film.

The episode would have been a combination of my linking narration and the reflections of the participants of the filmmaking challenge. It probably would have included some vox pop.

 

Ep. 9. The Media is the Mentality

A documentary that would have been structured somewhat like a news report and would have analysed how mass media and “the news” voices and dictates the status quo and collective consciousness in both a negative and positive sense.

The episode would have been a combination of my linking narration and contribution from a range of interviewed guests; as well as excerpts from other related media texts and probably some vox pop too.

 

Ep. 10. This is Breaking Cinema

A self-reflective documentary that would have brought together all the threads of the nine previous episodes and, together with an overview of the development of the podcast and its episodes, would have presented my intentions for the Breaking Cinema podcast.

My intention was to orchestrate the podcast in this particular fashion in order to illustrate and inspire a broader and more flexible approach of thinking about cinema, the media landscape and how human beings play into and grow from these things.

This episode would also have established anticipation for the next season of Breaking Cinema.

It would have been a documentary analysis using a combination of my narration and excerpts and elaborations of the nine previous episodes.

“Creating multiple income streams allows an individual to have various cash flow sources that are coming in. This puts you in a better position to be prepared if one source of income fails. Now you have something to fallback on.”

Todd Kunsman, Why You Need Multiple Streams of Income Starting Right Now, investedwallet.com

Abandonment

Ultimately, I abandoned Breaking Cinema because my focus shifted more so towards the mammoth studies of my self-directed Masters of Transdisciplinary Application.

It was just a case of being economical with my time and energy.

The production and postproduction on producing the first ten episodes would have been hugely time-consuming.

The podcast was not a commission and I would not have generated an income stream that I could have used to me support me through all the time it would have taken me to produce its content.

It’s not that I did not want to produce the podcast, I just didn’t have the time, energy or financial resources to prioritise it above everything else I had going on.

Abandoning the project was not an easy decision to make.

I was incredibly passionate about this project and I felt that I had crafted it into something that would have been quite ground-breaking.

But I had to let it go.

So here it now rests.

My thinking for the Breaking Cinema podcast and my ideas about what I term as being “constructive film studies” are explained and summarised in a random 40-minute reflection I made while I was still developing the podcast and was experiencing a bit of the flu…

“Whatever business type you’re in, whether you’re selling a product or offering services, a workspace of your own helps you in fostering and facilitating rapid growth for more professional and developmental opportunities.”

Jane Payne, How Important is it to have Office Space?, opensourcedworkplace.com

Location, Location, Location

I did not have my own location in which I could conduct my coaching.

I did consider renting space to coach in, but ultimately decided against it because in order to cover the cost of renting a space…

  1. I would have had to significantly increase my hourly rate which I was hesitant to do because I didn’t want to deter potential clients with a high session price
  2. And/or I would have had to increase the hours I spent coaching, which I couldn’t do because I didn’t have the extra time on top of all my studies and additional nightshift job.

Therefore, I stuck with the system I had utilised when I was conducting my free coaching.

I just met up with my clients in coffee shops.

Meeting up in a public location is not always ideal, especially during rush hours which I always tried to avoid.

But there are still benefits to coaching clients like this…

  • It meant I could go to them and meet them in public location that was close to their home and/or place of work, which saved them time.
  • Being in a public location assisted the coaching process because it automatically and immediately pushes the client out of their comfort zone.
  • It also pushes me out of my comfort zone too.
  • I can conduct spontaneous coaching exercises using members of the public and everyday circumstances.

My long-term thinking was to see if I could eventually build my coaching (and other income producing work) up to a point where I would be able to rent a space I could use for coaching (and for my other creative work).

2020 and COVID_19 massively disrupted that thinking.

At the beginning of 2020, I decided to take a break from coaching to focus on developing my web design skills.

Then COVID came along and put to rest any hope of renting a coaching space because the whole country went into lockdown.

At the beginning of 2021, when I did start coaching again, I was only doing it over Skype because of social distancing.

Now that I have compiled this final project together, I have come to the decision that I no longer want to be a life coach.

Had I continued coaching, my thinking was to do it in a private rented space, but to also take it out into public spaces whenever benefitted the coaching process.

“Much of the cognitive science in the past two decades tells us that human beings often make subconscious, emotional, and sometimes irrational decisions in one place in the brain, and then justify those decisions rationally and logically in another place. So if you’re trying to influence buyers’ decisions, using facts and rational arguments alone isn’t enough. You need to influence them emotionally, and stories are your best vehicle to do that.”

Paul Smith, Sell With A Story, 2017:17

Marketing my goods

My marketing strategy was comprised of three elements…

  1. Myself
  2. Word of mouth/referrals
  3. My website

I didn’t have a fully thought-out marketing plan and I certainly wasn’t investing any money into ad space online.

Again, it was just down to lack of time.

I figured that if my coaching was something that I would stick with in the long-run, I would figure out a better lead generating marketing approach, as my coaching business evolved and refined itself to focus on my niche.

That was another thing… I wasn’t even sure what my niche or market segment was!

I had never intended to start a life coaching side hustle to begin with, so I had not given any thought to who my target audience would be.

If I was serious about making something out of my side hustle, then the best way to discover who was my ideal coaching client would be to do some more coaching.

I already had a strong theoretical understanding in marketing on account of all the studying I had done in the Marketing and Brand Management concentration of my MTA Portfolio.

I built a marketing concentration into my self-declared master’s because I knew that the ability to conduct market research and to market myself and/or services or products I might sell would be an invaluable skillset to possess in the twenty-first century.

Building Not Your Average Life Coach was a perfect opportunity for me to exercise all my marketing learning.

Two Coursera specializations I had completed as part of my marketing concentration – Marketing Strategy and Marketing Mix Implementation – were invaluable for helping me to define the marketing approach of Not Your Average Life Coach, even if it was a slightly haphazard one.

The first thing I knew I had to was to define the specific niche of coaching client I would be best suited to aim towards.

By best suited, I mean…

  • Clients that I was most qualified and comfortable coaching
  • Clients who made up a sizeable market segment that would generate enough leads and income to make my side hustle a viable business

This is where the market research came in and by continuing to coach, I was conducting a very direct form of market research.

In the early days, not only was I coaching my clients, but I was actively questioning about the type of coaching services and products they were looking to invest in.

Ultimately, I discovered that the coaching client I was suited for coaching were females aged between 25 and 40 who were looking to augment, improve or change their careers.

My target market

I was not particularly surprised that I should focus my coaching on the career development sector because my initial free batch of coaching had been entirely made up of clients who wanted to look at their careers.

The age range of 25 – 40 was also not a huge surprise because that period tends be a career change hotspot, especially in today’s volatile job market.

What did initially surprise me was that all my clients were females, every single one of them.

Granted, later I did coach a couple of male clients, but the vast majority of my clients always proved to be females.

Based on what my clients have said, I think females are much more open to employing the concept of life coaching.

I find males are much more closed-off and operate along the lines of, “I don’t really see the point in it.”

Certainly, that was largely my attitude before I became a life coach.

I didn’t see much point in hiring a life coach to help me develop my career when I could just go and figure it out yourself.

While I did figure much out myself regarding career development, when I first started coaching, I never felt 100% comfortable with coaching other peoples’ careers.

If anything, I felt slightly hypocritical.

Aside from building my own self-declared master’s degree and starting my own life coaching side hustle, I didn’t really feel like I had much wide-ranging career development experience to call upon.

However, the more I coached, the more I discovered that my clients were not looking for someone who had a wide and varied career behind them.

Instead, they just wanted to talk with someone who was very open-minded and could help them get creative with their ideas.

In particular, they were looking for someone who could provide clarity on today’s increasingly complex and confusing career landscape.

Regardless of whether I had a lot of career experience behind me, I did possess a strong understanding of the evolving nature of career development on account of having studied it over many years as part of my MTA Portfolio.

Once I realized this and had coached a few more clients, I started to become comfortable with the practice of coaching others about their career development.

It was also hugely invaluable for my own career development, because I was learning a lot from my clients’ experiences.

I had my ideal client pinned down.

The next step would have been to take that ideal target persona and build a full-fledged marketing plan around it.

That would have been the smart thing to do.

But I didn’t do that.

Instead, I just focused on generating positive word-of-mouth from each client about me and my coaching services.

I started to design my website that would be the online extension of my coaching personality and style of coaching.

And I focused on improving my interpersonal style even when I was not coaching.

That way, if I encountered a potential client, I could sell myself and my coaching services to them in the best way possible.

The science and practice of selling is another subject I have studied at great length in my MTA Portfolio. You can find my Salesmanship and Sales Management module in the Business Administration and Finance concentration.

As much as I gained from the courses I studied on selling, I gained increasingly more from the book Sell With A Story by Paul Smith.

A guide in how to go about selling by using the power of storytelling

I frequently go back to his book because it has multiple templates for the types of stories you need to win over potential prospects or clients in particular contexts.

You just use your own information to fill in the blanks to generate your own stories.

I’m all about stories

I grew up immersing myself in stories

I studied a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing.

I get storytelling.

Not only are stories the best way to convey complex information to human begins, but stories are also the best way to connect with human beings on an emotional level.

And if you want a human being to buy something, you have to hook them emotionally.

It was perfect, Sell With A Story was exactly what I needed to get my head around the concept of selling and turn it into something I could practically do myself.

Again, my life coaching side hustle offered me the perfect opportunity to hone my skills.

This is why, if you look at my coaching website or read through everything I have written on the component pages that make up my Not Your Average Life Coach final project, I talk a lot about my personal narrative and how I have used coaching to overcome the obstacles in my personal story.

This is exactly how I presented myself and my coaching services to my clients, I connect with them by telling them my story and how self-coaching has empowered me to become the proactive author of my story.

Right from the start, I am very open about my narrative because I want the client to be a part of it and to benefit from my coaching.

On my coaching website, the way I have presented information on the main page is just a online version of how I would present myself in-person to potential coaching clients.