I’ve been exceptionally lucky as a Media Composer. I’m not a fan of talking about the Good Old Days, but there were certainly a few of them back whenever.
When the Bank interest rates were hitting between fifteen and seventeen percent. I didn’t stop writing and producing, and yet I only just managed to keep up with the the crippling and ludicrous repayments. Ducking and diving the demands from the backstabbing, money grabbing Banks, they were as ever over-enthusiastic in their requests, wondering if I “could make funds available”. My reply was always the same: “You’ll get it once I get it, so stop asking!”
It was tempting not to follow the great Spike Milligan’s rule where every bill and demand went into The Hat. As and when anyone phoned to request payment, he would say, “If you call or ask me again, I’ll take your name OUT of the hat!!” brilliant and final.
There was one occasion when the bank interest rates increased to an eye watering twenty two percent and all I could do was laugh. It wouldn’t make any difference, and I couldn’t do anything any faster or earn any more.
And yet we survived thanks to a combination of loyal clients, a very patient family and an Almighty God (definitely and not necessarily in that order).
It was also a time when the word ‘budget’ had some tangible meaning. How much would it cost to write this, produce this, deliver that? You told them and after a small discussion, you pretty much got it. You could even charge for extras, often referred to as sundries, like cd copies, tapes, labels, remixes, envelopes, and stamps, hard to believe I know.
I had a great run of Kid’s shows for ITV and BBC TV: Astrofarm, Bananaman, Mister Men, Molly’s gang, Chucklevision, Blue Peter, Cabbage Patch Kids for USA, and the list went on. It produced some fun work. Also, a fantastic relationship with Hobo Radio Production producing many TV and radio commercials for some big and successful brands. Movies and TV specials were common place, and when I got tired of this, I packed up and went on tour.
Time moved on, as did the business. The main reason I don’t believe there was any such thing as the good old days is that life has to evolve, things have to change. Sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better, but change it does. And there is very little to be achieved moaning, grumbling, bitching and criticising that process. The only way to survive is to be in a constant state of reinvention. I was asked recently “Dave, sorry to ask, but what exactly is it that you do?”
I had a great showreel but some of it was old and past its sell by date. The TV credits, the full-on media presence, TV appearances had gone to be replaced by newer, fresher, more exciting things. There was absolutely no point in going back on past credits. What is happening this year, this week, NOW? That’s much more important.
At this time of lockdown and self-isolation it achieves nothing talking about what it was like when we could go out, visit restaurants have meetings, be with people. Equally unproductive is thinking about what it will be like when all this changes. The present is what’s important; The here and the now. The past is gone. The future is yet to be. Think about the gift that is The Present!
There were good old days of course, but they’re now gone to be remembered in the archives and not recreated. Constantly reinvent yourself, do something new, different, exciting; and most importantly, keep going, move forward and never ever give up.