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Why You’re Struggling To Grow Your Business

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Everyone has big ambitions when they get their business up and running, but after a while, they begin to realize something: building a successful company sure can be difficult. In many cases, the issue isn’t that there’s no interest in your venture, it’s that the company is struggling to grow at a significant rate — you’re just staying where you’ve always been. That level may have been acceptable in the early days, but at some point, you’ll know that you have to step up. The good news is that there’s usually an obvious reason why growth has been hard to come by. We take a look at a few of these reasons below.

Ineffective Working Hours

You may be putting in what you think is many hours of work, but it’s important to remember that the number of hours that you’re working isn’t important; it’s what you do during those hours that matters. If you’re not working effectively when you’re in the office, then it’ll be little wonder that you’re not making as much progress as you’d like. Be sure to find which working schedule works best for you, and also what time-wasting actions you’re guilty of that’ll be holding you back.

Lack of Data Insight

You’re not going to get everyone on board with your company. You’ll only be interesting to a small section of society. Alas, if you don’t know what section of people that is, then you’ll struggle. Without it, you’ll be shooting blind; it’s the insights that you have that can help you to direct your marketing materials, branding, and so on. If you don’t think you’re making as much progress as you should be, then look at upping your data insight game. It might just help you to unlock the answers to some of the important questions that can push your business forward.

Doing it All Yourself

You’re going to have some of the skills needed to develop a profitable business, but you’re not going to have all of the skills. If you’re trying to do much, then you’ll be spreading yourself too thin. Your business won’t be working as efficiently as it could be. As such, it’s important that you’re knowing which areas require additional help. This could involve hiring staff or outsourcing some tasks to third-party professionals and companies. If you’re already outsourcing some tasks, but you’re not making the progress that you’d expect, then it could be that you need to choose better companies to work with. You can easily switch accountants, digital marketers, and customer support representatives, for instance. Once you’ve got the best working with your business, you’ll find that success is easier to come by.

No Long-Term Plan

Finally, it’s worth remembering that there’ll be only so far you can go without a plan in place. You wouldn’t reach the top of the mountain without plotting a path, and the same goes for business success. Set targets, plot a five-year plan, and you’ll find that it’s easier to make progress. 

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Why Do You Need A Copywriter?

Copywriters are a set of people with specific skills – and it can take many years of experience to reach a professional level. This is why hiring a copywriter who knows how to use words is such a good idea. Trying to do it yourself may produce copy, but is it good enough?

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It is more than just acquiring a skill that dictates whether you should hire a freelance copywriter. Another reason is time. A copywriter will be able to write your website contents or brochure copy much faster than you can, as you will have business elsewhere to attend to. A copywriter can focus solely on creating the copy you need, whether this is content for contracts using platforms like https://www.templafy.com/ or it’s guest blog posts on the web.

As well as this, using a copywriter means that you are getting a truly unbiased and outside view of your work and business. If you do it yourself, you may find you’re too close to the company to be able to talk about it properly, explaining things carefully. Plus, someone who understands how their business works might write in technical, hard to understand terms – a copywriter can write in plain English. 

There are, as with every skill, some ‘tricks of the trade’ that copywriters use to ensure the copy they are writing is good enough to do the job you want it to do. This includes using SEO and writing in the correct tone. If you don’t know those tricks, you could be losing potential sales by writing your own content. It’s better to hire someone who has done it before and achieved demonstrable results.

The Difference Between A Copywriter And A Content Writer

Website copywriting services can make the difference between a satisfactory website, and one that brings in new customers on a daily basis. The more people who are looking at your website, the more likely you are to sell – and grow. But do you need a copywriter or a content writer?  

A freelance copywriter might be both a content writer and copywriter. The terms can be interchangeable and often are. However, there are differences. The biggest difference between a content writer and a copywriter is the purpose behind what they are writing. Copywriting is about writing for a promotional reason; it is advertising for marketing, in other words. Content writing is more about entertaining the reader. However, there is some crossover since copywriting can be (and should be!) entertaining, and content writing should keep people on your website for as long as possible – in order that they then buy something. 

Despite this, it can be said that copywriting is more specific, writing about one item or service, whereas content writing is a broader subject, which could – and most likely will – incorporate products and services in a general way. When it comes to branding, this is where copywriting really makes its mark, using words to set your business apart. With copywriting, the end result needs to be a sale for it to have been a successful campaign. With content writing, it should be about engaging customers and prompting more people to visit the shop, business or website. So their purposes may be slightly different, but content writing and copywriting services also share similarities.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

When should a patient visit a minor injury unit?

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We are all aware that A&E departments are under huge capacity and financial strain. Of course, if a patient is seriously ill or in pain and requires the services of emergency staff then this will always be the best course of action. But sometimes patients have minor illnesses or injuries (such as occupational or sporting injuries in particular) that are not life threatening or severe enough for a trip to A&E.   As competent healthcare professionals it’s vital that they can recognise minor ailments quickly in order to treat – or redirect – patients appropriately. So what steps should they take?

Contact their GP surgery

If they are able to, patients should ring their own surgery for an on-the-day appointment. If it’s after hours they can still ring, but they may be directed to an out-of-hours service. This is usually the case between 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays, as well as on weekends and bank holidays.

Call NHS 

Patients who call NHS 111 will be able to receive advice over the phone, or they will be directed to the local service that’s best suited to their needs. This could be a hospital, an MIU or elsewhere.

Minor Injuries Units (MIUs)

If a patient’s injury is not serious, they can visit a minor injuries unit (MIU) for help, rather than going to A&E. This will free up much needed time and resource to A&E staff so they can focus on people with serious, life-threatening conditions – plus it can save patients a long wait.   Every year, around 7 million people used type 3 A&E services (UCCs, WiCs and MIUs) in England. MIUs are generally led by nurses and patients don’t need an appointment.

Some walk-in centres and MIUs do not have facilities to treat infants and toddlers, depending on the capacity, skill levels and resources available at that particular location. Therefore it’s recommended that patients contact their nearest MIU or walk-in centre beforehand to check whether their child can be treated there.

What can MIUs treat?

Minor injuries units can usually treat things like:

  • Broken bones
  • Sprains and strains
  • Injuries to the back, shoulder and chest
  • Wound infections
  • Minor head injuries
  • Minor burns and scalds
  • Minor eye injuries
  • Insect and animal bites

What can MIUs not treat?

Minor injuries units cannot treat:

  • Breathing difficulties and/or chest pain
  • Major injuries
  • Stomach pains
  • Problems usually dealt with by a GP
  • Pregnancy/gynaecological problems
  • Overdoses
  • Allergic reactions
  • Mental health problems
  • Alcohol/drugs related problems
  • Conditions that are probably going to need hospital admission

Are you on the front line when it comes to dealing with minor injuries?

If you’re a nurse, junior doctor or other allied health professional who regularly sees patients with minor injuries then you may find this Minor Injuries Essentials CPD course helpful. It’s accredited by the Royal College of Nursing and focusses on community practitioners who are required to carry out effective basic injury review and care.  It’s a 3-day course worth 21 hours of CPD with dates available in   March 2020.

Personal Injury attorney

While not something any of us want to think about, sometimes injuries can have a serious albeit short term impact on your life and you may need to enlist the help of a specialist such a personal injury attorney in this area to help you secure the best outcome, for example loss of wages, medical expenses and what attorneys refer to as human cost such as the hurt caused by the pain and suffering and mental anguish. Having been unfortunate enough to have been in this position before I can tell first hand how stressful it is.  Therefore seeking out help early is ctirical.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

A trip to Melvin Brewing is on our list

I’m guessing it must be our Irish blood but we seen to end up visiting brewing companies/ breweries quite often on our travels!! We did in Iceland and on our visit to Niagara Falls also.  Next stop this year we are aiming for to visit friends of ours near Alpine, Wyoming. I must admit, to my shame I knew so little about Alpine. So turned to Wikipedia to learn that Alpine is located at the southern end of the Snake River Canyon where the Snake River enters Palisades Reservoir. The town is also known as Alpine Junction since it marks the point where US Route 89 and US Route 26 turn in opposite directions.  Wikipedia, also tells me that Wyoming itself   is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The state is the 10th largest by area, the least populous, and the second most sparsely populated state in the country. Wyoming is bordered on the north by Montana, on the east by South Dakota and Nebraska, on the south by Colorado, on the southwest by Utah, and on the west by Idaho and Montana. I have a look on line and Insta and the places looks very picturesque, exactly like the kind of holiday we enjoy.

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We haven’t booked our flights yet but my friend seemw to thing the lure of Mevlvin Brewing Company will be enough to entire us all over! I had a nosey on line and loved their story. According to their bio Melvin Brewing was born in the back of a Thai restaurant in 2009, when owner Jeremy Tofte decided to bring beers from the future to Jackson, WY. Their 20-gallon brew system quickly grew into a 3 barrel system, and they served our award-winning beers — the original Melvin Brewing IPA, 2×4 Double IPA, and Ch-Ch-Ch-Cherry Bomb — with sides of Asian street food, kung fu movies and old school hip-hop.  Their mantra appears to be  “that when they engage through music, beer, and fun in a safe environment, Melvin Brewing will create lasting impressions for their current and potential customers.”

Beer, Beer, Beer

My love of all things Asian is no secret and nobody where we go my heart always long to go back to experience some of our Asian adventures. Back to beer! I understand from history.com that beer can trace its origins back over 12,000 years. Wow that’s pretty incredible. What’s also pretty incredible is how Melvin Brewing win “Best in Show” in pretty much every Brewfest they enter. Who doesn’t love accolades!!

I also see Melvin Brewing have done some pretty cool collaborations too:

  • A collab with Arc’teryx who are an international pioneer in the technical outerwear industry.
  • A collab with a fellow brewhouse – Melvin hosted Dankhouse in Wyoming to brew a beer exclusively for the folks of Ohio. The result….a  West Coast Style IPA, with added hop juice via Mosaic, Ekuanot and Southern Star
  • A collab with another brewhouse – Artifex. The result was a dry hopped modern West Coast DIPA with two experimental varieties with bold flavors of mango, papaya and lychee. Sounds very interesting.

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

 

Features

5 Questions to Ask Your Vet about Pet Care

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It is important to understand that adopting a pet is a big responsibility. That adorable little ball of fur has many physical, social, and emotional needs that need to be met daily. Here are some questions to ask your vet about pet care at your new pet’s next appointment. 

How do I keep my pet at a healthy weight? 

Obesity in dogs and cats is widespread. This common condition leads to many health problems for your pet, and even reduce their life span by about two and a half years. Your vet, like Heart + Paw in East Market, will be able to customize a feeding schedule for your pet and advise you in terms of which treats to give (and not to give) going forward. 

What food is right for my pet? 

Your available budget will undoubtedly affect your choice of food for your pet. However, it is often worthwhile to spend a little bit more on a better-quality brand that is suited to both your pet’s breed, as well as his or her current stage of life. For example, kittens will require different food from a senior cat. Your vet will provide you with a list of appropriate options based on how much you can afford to pay. 

What vaccinations does my pet require? 

Your vet will provide you with plenty of information concerning the vaccinations that he or she will need to receive over the coming weeks and months. Vaccinations play an important role in keeping your pet healthy not only during his or her younger years but for the rest of his or her life as well. Pic Credit:  Pixabay

How do I groom my pet? 

It is up to you to make sure that your pet is clean and properly taken care of. Grooming is a huge part of that. Every pet needs to be groomed, although some more frequently than others. Grooming refers to more than just bathing your pet every few weeks. It also includes brushing your pet regularly, trimming his or her fur, trimming his or her nails, and brushing his or her teeth. Your vet will advise you in terms of how to go about all of this, along with providing guidelines in terms of how often. 

How do I protect my pet from ticks and fleas?

Both cats and dogs are prone to ticks and fleas, which are known to cause them discomfort and spread disease. Your vet will be happy to provide a range of suggestions regarding preventing this problem from occurring in the first place. Nowadays, there are numerous topical and oral options available to choose from, with many single-dose oral treatments providing lasting protection for approximately three months at a time.

Remember to visit the vet every year for regular check-ups to ensure that your furry companion is happy and in good health. This will also give you peace of mind and ensure that any potential health problems are caught early.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Stress-free Planning for a Family Holiday

Looking forward to a holiday is one of life’s little pleasures, but the practical side of planning and organising it can sometimes be a bit stressful. There’s a lot to remember, and only one chance to get it right.

The Before-you-go To-Do List

Most of us make some kind of action plan for holidays, even if they’re only in our heads. We certainly have some idea of places to visit and things to do. Having a countdown action plan for tasks before you go is equally useful. Items to go on the list can include:

  • Departure and return dates to give to family, friends, or anyone you’re leaving a spare key with.
  • Flight times with accompanying travel arrangements, taxi, or long-term parking bookings.
  • Getting kennels or cattery places organised, or arranging for vaccinations or pet passports.
  • Cancelling any regular deliveries to your home.
  • Organising self storage if you’re placing valuables there for safe keeping.

Also, make a checklist for your final walkthrough before you leave. Checking that lights are off, everything is unplugged that should be, and you didn’t leave the oven on, clears any nagging doubts out of your mind.

Stress-free Packing

Packing for a holiday can be more stressful than it needs to be, especially if it falls on one person to do the job for all the family. Make it easier by:

  • Starting early. Give yourself a few days to gather everything and do any laundry. 
  • Having a packing rehearsal. Make sure everything fits in the cases you have, and that your cases conform to airline regulations.
  • Working from a packing list. Write down specific items each person will need, then tick them off as they’re packed.
  • Avoiding those ‘just in case’ items by packing according to the type of holiday you’re taking, the activities you’ll do, and how long you’re going for. Also, can you wash things while you’re away? If so, you don’t necessarily need a fresh outfit everyday for everyone.

Pop cables, chargers, adaptors, or batteries in separate bags. (Little sandwich bags work well). As well as preventing tangled wires, you can use these to help protect phones or hold keys when you’re on the beach, and they’re useful for keeping together paper items such as venue or travel tickets. Just remember not to leave them behind on the beach!

Home Security

Knowing everything’s safe at home gives you peace of mind while you’re away, so it’s worth giving it some thought. Things to consider include:

  • Asking a neighbour to keep an eye out. If they can actually go in and just check around that would be best, but at least let them know you’re on holiday and not expecting any visitors. If they see anyone on your property, they’ll know they have no business being there.
  • Putting valuables into storage. You can rent a locker storage unit if you don’t want a bigger space. If the worst happens while you’re gone, at least your valuables will be safe. Think of jewellery, important documents, or items with sentimental value that you could never replace. You could also consider computers, cameras, or other equipment that’s expensive but easily portable.
  • Put a couple of lights on a timer so they come on at dusk and go off later.
  • Check home insurance to make sure your possessions and property are covered if the house is left empty. It probably is, but you check if there are any exclusions and make arrangements accordingly.

Happy holidays take some organising, but if you allow plenty of time you can make it part of the anticipation and enjoy the process!

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

How To Set Up An App

To those of you with an entrepreneurial spark, setting up your own app might sound like a tempting and lucrative idea in this day and age. There are many things to think about as you go about each step of the process. You need to ask yourself initial questions like, “Will it be useful?”, or, “Will it make sense?”. What is the purpose of your app and who are you creating it for?

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Brainstorm your ideas, keeping the sky as the limit. Put your ideas onto paper, plan out practical development plans and think of a prototype for each idea. Try to not to get fixated on one idea, the more ideas you have, the more chance you have of success in the market. After you launch a single idea, give it a few months on the market to test it, if it doesn’t catch on, try out another one of your ideas. If there isn’t a user base developing for it then try another one. 

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When you’re ready to develop an idea it will be necessary for most of you, unless you’re a professional yourself, to hire a developer. There are several different companies available but some are more recommended than others. Xibis, for example offers many development services and has a proven reputation among big brands as well as smaller businesses. You’re looking for a developer with expertise and experience, in order to help take your prototype to market. At the end of the development process your developer will also be responsible for uploading the app to the app stores.

 

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Money will be a factor and it’s difficult to say how much it costs to set up an up, as it really depends, you could be looking at anywhere from around $3,000-10,000 and that’s just an estimate. There are ways you can save money in the earlier stages and more importantly, think about how you can make more money from your up to break even and eventually make a profit on how much you spent setting it up. For example, it normally works out cheaper to opt for an outsourced provided, who knows what your criteria will be. Later on, if and when you see success in your product, you could move production home. Maintenance and development will be cheaper outsourced, rather than in-house at the beginning. 

In order to sell your app you will need to take care of promotion. There are different ways to do this, a good start is with third party endorsement. Get your app reviewed by online bloggers, particularly tech bloggers and press. Afterall, you are looking to start a business essentially here, it might not be realistic to expect to suddenly make millions. Having said that, stay positive, it is a booming business and the future of how we do, pretty much everything. With a level head and the right support you’ll have the world at your fingertips. 

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Importance of good quality data

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I have been pretty quiet here of late, however I have a very good reason for it. I may have ever so slightly neglected the blog however it has been totally worth it! I have been consulting on a fascinating project on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the corporate world particularly for accountants. I’m unashamedly a nerd and love data, statistics and tech.   One of the big learning’s I take with me from this project is just how important data is. And not just data, good data.  We have all heard of GDPR and see its impact pretty much day to day when we do anything. Protecting ones data is important particularly in an increasingly data centric world.

Data Quality Management 

Looking at how advanced the technology is becoming, data quality management has to be a key concern for management. But what exactly is good quality data? You need to be managing the right data to make the right decisions. Informatica  defines data quality as “the overall utility of a dataset(s) as a function of its ability to be easily processed and analyzed for other uses, usually by a database, data warehouse, or data analytics system“.  That is quite the tongue twister, paring it back good quality data simply means, data which is accurate, complete, consistent, and time stamped.  Getting the data quality management right is a critical element in future proofing your business.

Interestingly data quality is not to be confused with data accuracy. Accuracy is exactly as it says that the  data is accurate whereas data quality is combination of five different factor including accuracy. The other four are: complete, consistent,  time stamped and industry standards based.

Artificial Intelligence 

So considering the next steps – what is artificial intelligence? Wikipedia has a very comprehensive definition of AI but at its most basic, it is intelligence demonstrated by machines as opposed to the natural person/ human.  It can be quite hard to get your head around the concept of AI. My recent role was looking at how AI could assist accountants as opposed to replace accountants. Which is what most people’s biggest fear is i.e. being replaced by a robot leading to mass unemployment. It’s not about that at all its about improving performance.

So how can does AI link with accountants. I think the main message I want to convey here is that it can support, enhance and improve performance. Augment is the word used by Firm of the Future and I think it is a really apt descriptor of it. Having a practical look myself at it, I can see AI used really effectively for example for queries – particularly voice recognition.  Think about it for a second.  You are popping to a meeting you forgot to check how many of this years sales were from x Limited? Simple  – just ask and the figure is repeated back to you.

However, this really only severs to reinforce that good data management is critical – I think the old adage says – “garbage in – garbage out” data really is king so how true could this be.

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

Features

And breathe! 4 ways to beat stress as a mature student

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I think its safe to say that we experience stress of varying degrees throughout the day. But there are some moments that seem to really push us to our limits. Whether it’s a rainy, soggy school run that you’re already running late for. Unexpected visitors at the door when your house is probably less than fit for guests and trying to get the weekly shop done with a toddler that got bored after five very short minutes. 

And if you’re heading back into education as an adult, then you might be a little concerned about how you’re going to manage and beat your stress levels when you’ve got assignments due, children to look after and every day life to manage! If you’re worrying about your stress levels then read on for 4 ways to beat stress as a mature student. 

Get the knowledge you need

As a student you’re going to be learning lots throughout your studies. However, gaining a little extra studying knowledge before you dive straight into your studies will certainly keep your stress levels in check. If you’re worried about citations and correct referencing then its enough to push your anxiety through the roof – you can learn how to make an APA reference by clicking the link provided – or if you’re concerned about your spelling and grammar then consider getting in touch with a proofreading service.

You can also speak with your tutor or professors if you’re struggling with something. Don’t be afraid to reach out wider for additional resources and assistance if needed places like Tavistock Tutors can help link you your tutor by phone, email or online making it very accessible and user friendly.

Make time for the activities you enjoy

You know what they say, study hard – play hard. Even if your idea of playing hard is doing a little yoga or catching up on your favourite TV box set! Make sure you do plenty of activities that allow you to relax and feel good. Constantly cramming your studies in and having little time for fun might mean that you come to resent your decision to go back to education. 

Don’t struggle in silence

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Your friends and family will want you to succeed as much as you do. So, don’t be afraid to ask for a little help. Maybe the kids are full of energy and you’re trying to study, or perhaps you have a mountain of housework that needs doing yet you’ve got some assignments to complete. Reaching out to your friends and family for a little support is a good idea. It means you can enjoy your studies a little more and not worry about neglecting the other important parts of your life.

Get plenty of sleep

Never underestimate the positive impact that a good nights sleep will have. You might think it logical to stay up and study long into the night, rather than picking up where you left off the next day. However, if you opt for a good nights sleep instead then you’ll be able to retain in the information better, concentrate more and your day will be more productive. Give it a try!  

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Features

Norton Virgien, Director & Co-Executive Producer; VAMPIRINA FANG-TASTIC – An Interview

I am very excited about today’s feature. This week we have had the opportunity to ask Norton Virgien, Supervising Director and Co-Executive Producer of VAMPIRINA FANG-TASTIC some questions on his career and his new latest work VAMPIRINA: FANG-TASTIC PARTY, which is a very special interactive event in cinemas nationwide this weekend only – Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th

A little bit about Norton

Norton began his directing career in 1990 as part of the original team for Nickelodeon’s Rugrats.  A two time Emmy winner for Rugrats, Norton also directed episodes of the critically  acclaimed Duckman series and the CBS series Santo Bugito, before co-directing 1998’s The Rugrats Movie,  which became the first non-Disney animated release to gross more than $100 million dollars.   Subsequently Norton was a Co-Producer on the Klasky Csupo features Rugrats in Paris and The Wild Thornberrys Movie, and a Co-Director of the 2004 release Rugrats Go Wild.  In early 2005, he directed a thirteen episode season of the Discovery Channel series Tutenstein, winning a third Emmy.  In 2009, for Universal Animation, he directed a DVD sequel to the Curious George Movie, Follow That Monkey!   He has since worked as Director on Doc McStuffins and Henry Hugglemonster, both for Disney and is currently Supervising Director and Co-Executive Producer on Vampirina.

Interview

Many thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, it is very much appreciated. As someone of the 80/90s, I was a massive Rugrats fan. Angelica was really the character we all really wanted to be! Even my kids love the Rugrats, a whole generation apart.

  •   I told my kids who I was interviewing and my 7 year old is very excited, enthusiastically professing that he will be doing your job in the future! So first up, courtesy of my oldest son, how did you end up directing? Was it something that always interested you?

Great question! I had always loved drawing as a child, and doodled incessantly! And I also loved storytelling, and did a bit of creative writing in school. I loved comic books as they combined drawing and storytelling in such a strong way – but then I discovered animation, which is perhaps the art form that brings so many others – design, music, acting, drama together at once! It took me a while working as an animator to work my up to drawing storyboards (which is really fun) and finally directing. And Rugrats was indeed one of the most fun shows to get a chance to direct – great writing and voices and a really fresh concept at the time!

  •   He is also curious about the difference between a Director and a Producer, and which one do you like best?

The roles of Director and Producer can overlap quite a bit – as a good producer has the creative needs of a project in mind along with their practical concerns of budget and schedule, and a good director thinks about the practical things at the same time he/she is pushing for the most creative and effective result.

  •   He also wants to know do you have a favourite show/film that you directed? I did turn this question on him and he said it’s between the Curious George Movie and Doc McStuffins! My favourite has to be Rugrats. So nostalgic.

It’s as hard to pick a favorite project as it is to choose one’s favourite child – if we’re lucky they are ALL special in their way! Right now my favourite is Vampirina – since she’s the one we’re working with at the moment, and she’s such and unusual and constantly surprising young girl!

  •   You have such an impressive career with so many hugely popular shows to your name. Do you still get a thrill when you see the final production?

I’m pleased to say the thrill of seeing an audience enjoy your project hasn’t worn off for me at all! And I still get a little tear in the eye at the sweet moments, and laugh at the best jokes, even after seeing them over and over and over…! It makes the hard work totally worthwhile.

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