WhatsAppen met Alex Normanton

23-04-2021 (07:00) - Appen met

The Department of Pro-Activeness - zo heet de podcast die zich op een positieve manier toespitst op de mentale gezondheid van creatieven in de creatieve industrie. Alex Normanton werkte eerder bij MassiveMusic en DesignBridge, en is de podcast gestart toen hij in between jobs zat. Het resultaat is een kwetsbaar en fijn om naar te luisteren product, waarvan Alex overweldigd was door het succes ervan. Wij spraken hem over waarom het zo nodig is te praten over de druk die creatieven voelen.
WhatsApp-status: -
Hi Alex! This is Anne from FONK. Are you available to text?
Hey Anne - yes all ready!

Great! Thanks so much for talking to me about your interesting project
No problem
I was just listening to your podcast - and I think it is a very original concept
Ah thank you
Yes it's gaining a lot of traction and a lot of positive feeedback
Your podcast aims to discuss a sustainable and mentally healthy way of working as a creative. Where does that idea stem from? Do you think creatives have not been working in a healthy way?
It was always the intention for the concept to resonate with people - but I'm overwhelmed by the responses

That must be wonderful!
It's not necessarily about creatives working in a healthy way...
It's more about giving creative people a positive mindset for when their head starts to spin, or they get overwhelmed with fear or they cannot find an idea

I have to say the quality of the audio is very important when it comes to podcasts for me personally, and that has been done very well
That means a lot to me. The sound in the first 2 episodes were done with a basic kit and there were a lot of production/post-production issues...
Since then the entire kit has been changed and so from EP03 onwards we have a more natural and warm tone in the recordings.
I don't hear that at all!
It's funny... after working at MassiveMusic for 18months - my attention to detail on all things sonic were amplified to a new level...
Haha that really pays off now then
The majority of people don't notice the quality unless it's really bad! However I didn't want the audio to be a distraction to the content - which is the most important thing after all.
The project is a perfect blend of all the experience I'm had over the years, but more latterly at Design Bridge and Massive Music. Combing visual and audio experience into a brand that connects with people. This agenda needs to be raised in profile across the industry.
I've also started to do all the editing myself which can be a labour of love - but also enjoyable!
Haha yes I understand
The idea stems from personal circumstances...

Very nice then to see that it resonates with other people as well!
My contract did not get renewed at a previous company and so after walking through the mental barriers and challenges that brings to the foreground...
I wanted to use that experience to fuel positivity and mental success for people
The industry is not good at talking about these topics...
It's usually about the individual, the company/team and profiling the work or awards...
Not a lot of people (I found through research) were not talking about "creative wellness" - a term I have created which aims to open up these topics

I guess you have tapped into some unknown demand then
It is interesting that this seems like such an obvious important part of working in the creative industry, yet this term and you agenda-setting this issue is new
Exactly. 'Roughly 1 in 4 people will deal with a mental health issue during their lifespan'. (World Health Organisation, Feb 2021).
'People working in the creative industries are three times more likely to suffer from a mental health problem than the general public'.?(Inspire and Ulster University, March, 2019).
wow three times more likely
I also found that statistic quite alarming...
Are there other potential guests that you have reached out to to continue producing more episodes?
Yes, I'm aiming to record, post-produce and release all within 1 week. So one new episode per week.
So yes, I am releasing EP04 tomorrow with other contributors planned in for the next few weeks.
Something to look forward to!
I'm acutely aware that the "DOPA audience" is waiting and wanting more... oh to be in demand

Must be a good feeling
I'm very humbled by the response. It's an authentic story and I would not feel qualified to talk about these topics if I had not experienced these things for myself!

Of course, but I also think that the personal component is part of the appeal
So it's born out of wanting to give something back to the industry whilst I look for another job. Albeit - it feels like this has turned into a full time job. :)

Who knows! Sponsorships in podcasts are quite lucrative I hear...
That's the plan. I am looking for a suitable sponsor with a shared belief and purpose. I'd had some initial conversations but nothing concrete yet.

Can you share anything? ;)
Not really...
Had to try
It was never set up to make a lot of money. However, I recognise that in order to take this to the next level, a brand sponsor is required to gain greater reach. But also to facilitate constant generation of content.
Which would be nice of course, especially given that the sponsor would be a good fit
Exactly! Would be good to weave that into the article.
I have a big vision for the product and it would be great to involve and put a creative team together to create and push out content. That takes investment, time and passion. I have 2 of those - but investment is needed to amplify this idea.

That sounds very nice! Let me know when there are any updates
Considering the insights after speaking to your guests so far, what is the biggest tip that you would give to creatives?
You're not alone. There are common feelings and thoughts that creative people struggle with on a daily basis. Talk to someone, get a creative mentor - don't let the battle rage on in the your mind. The majority of the time the narrative that is on repeat in our mind is simple not true.

Great advice. On that note I would like to finish up - thank you for talking to me!
No problem at all
Also - please do promote the show link.

I will! Have good day
You too Anne!
A pleasure to meet you.