neilben video blog

12 Jan 2017

Is the New Year feeling old already?

Only 14% of people keep their New Years resolutions for a year. 45% give up in the first month 66% withing the second month 80% have quit within 3 months How do you stick with the promises you’ve made? This is a bit of a “closing the stable door after the horses have bolted” kind of statement, but part of the problem (as I see it), is that people make up BIG resolutions that they’d like to do, but deep […]

11 Jan 2017

I’m sorry, what did you say?

Business jargon, what’s the point? I only ever watch one episode of each series of The Apprentice… The one when the contestants have the interviews and get ripped to shreds because most of them are full of BS. Yes, I’m calling them contestants as it’s a game show in my opinion and not a serious business programme.   All this business lingo just drives me crazy, why can’t they just talk properly. I can just imagine what a business meeting would […]

10 Jan 2017

What’s your unique selling proposition?

Creating a USP is possibly the most important thing you can do for your business. What do you mean you don’t have one? With a USP you make your business stand out from the crowd. Customers will be easier to come by. Happy customers will gladly spread the word about what you do because they love you. On the other hand, if you don’t have an effective USP, building an audience or getting any customers to pay attention to you […]

09 Jan 2017

What Teletubbies has taught me about directing business videos

In the mid 90s I left the BBC and became a freelance director. Over the next 15 or so years I was fortunate enough to direct many different programmes, for many different television broadcasters, including: DIY programmes for Discovery Home and Leisure Puppet programmes for Channel 5 Poker programmes for Sky Animations for CBBC Comedy for Nickelodeon and Teletubbies for Cbeebies Every programme I worked on developed me as a director, taught me new things and helped me hone my […]

08 Jan 2017

Are you, or your business, your brand?

I’m not entirely sure what it is, maybe it’s my stunning good looks, or my amazing talent, or my dry sense of humour… But once someone’s met me they rarely forget me.

And that’s certainly what you want from a brand, to be remembered, isn’t it?

Does one person make a business?

I mean, I’m the only full time employee in my business. Being video production I hire talented freelance crews, designers, editors and admin staff as and when I need them. Without me there would be no business.

And my USP, it’s totally built on my many years of broadcast and video production experience. With another Producer / Director at the helm my business would be completely different.


Welcome to Anim8 Productions

Actually, I’ve been running Anim8 Productions since May 2013 when I was commissioned to produce 36 animated kids songs and rhymes for an old client of mine. Songs like Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and If you’re happy and you know it...

Anim8 seemed like a great name to me at the time, after all, I was producing animation. But ever since that kids project I’ve put all my other work through the company, even though very little of it was animation.

As Anim8 only appears on invoices and other legal company documents, very few people know the name.

So, do I build Anim8 Productions into my brand, or build me, Neil Ben, as the brand? After all, if I ever go to sell my business at some point in the future and it’s called Neil Ben it’ll be hard to separate myself from it!

2 unique brands – 2 USPs

What about creating 2 brands?

1 – Develop myself as a brand, especially around my coaching and training activities, because that work tends to be one-on-one and I’m being hired as me as the one who can help an individual

Brand: Neil Ben
Helping coaches and trainers who struggle to communicate their expertise, create authentic video content that establishes them as the “go to person” in their field

2 – Develop Anim8 Productions as a brand around my training video and animation production activities – after all, I want to create something that is bigger than just me to be able to help large organisations

Brand: Anim8 Productions
Working with training organisations to create engaging video content that inspires their learners to learn, and empowers them with new knowledge and skills.

Can I ask you a question please?

What do you think? Is it confusing to have a personal and a company brand, or if I were to choose just one, which should it be.

Please leave your comments below. Thank you.


07 Jan 2017

how to get a job in television

It’s Friday, it’s five to five and it’s Crackerjack! When I was 11 my parents got audience tickets to go and see Crackerjack being recorded at the BBC. This was the first time I had sat in a television studio and I loved it. Not only Slade, my favourite group, was on the program, I just loved watching the lights, the cameras, the floor managers… in fact everything that was going on both in front and behind the camera. That […]

06 Jan 2017

How many excuses can you make

When is an excuse valid and when is it a cop out? This is something I’ve been asking myself all day, when I’ve struggled to finish writing this blog. Are my excuses good reasons to leave it for today, or are they an easy way to give up? As George Washington Carve said: Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. Now I’m not willing to be a failure, but I have loads […]

05 Jan 2017

Improv can improve your business

Not only that, it can make your life so much more rewarding.

DISCLAIMER: As they say at the start of every improv show. “Nothing that follows is scripted, everything you see and hear (watch and read in terms of this blog) will be invented on the spot, for one night only, never to be repeated”

I’ve been doing improv (improvised comedy) for many years. I did my first workshop over 30 years ago, but really started to get serious when I attended a residential workshop at Osho Leela in 2010, hosted by The Maydays, an amazing improv troupe based in Brighton.

The following year, not only did I participate in the workshop, I was asked to film the event, and you can see the promo I produced up top.

Why improv is good for you and your business

The main thrust of improv (as I see it) is to make your on-stage colleagues look great while they are trying to make you look great… When everyone does that the results are amazing. So when someone “makes an offer” (says a line or does some action) you build on it. To do that (and be really great at improv) you need to (as the Maydays taught me) is to:

  • Listen
  • Say “YES”
  • and Commit


When you’re on stage you have no idea what your fellow performers are going to do, after all it’s unscripted, that means you really have the LISTEN to them. If not you’ll have no idea what’s happening.

In business too, listening is very important.

If you don’t listen to what your customers or clients are saying, how do you know they like (or hate) what you do? How will you be able to improve the service you offer them? Many times I have been at a network meeting and I get talked at by someone who’s not interested in listening…

So what I do is listen, which makes the talky person feel good. I may also ask them the odd question or two which makes them feel even better, and then when they have finished I have so much information about what they do, what is and isn’t working in their business. I can tailor a razor sharp offering to them by coming up with a solution to their problems. My brief response to their elongated soliloquy is focused, to the point and often surprises them as they have no idea why I know so much about their difficulties!

Say “YES”

“Hi Charlie, how’s the new job” she said winking at me.

If I say “I’m not Charley, I’m Derek and I’m too young to have a job” the scene has just died. Whatever you are offered in improv you need to say “YES” to, that way the scene builds in a way that no one expected or planned and the audience loves it.

“It’s ok ‘suppose Britney, but the snake skin leotard really chaffs. ” Charley replied, scratching his bum.

Now the scene is going somewhere interesting… I said “YES” to the proposition and now Britney can build on that…

This is the same in business. If I am offered feedback on a job I have done (good or bad), I can ignore it (wrong), or I can listen and quietly say “YES” to myself  and build my business offerings with this new information.

And Commit

COMMITMENT comes down to how much energy you put into delivering your line. “It’s ok ‘suppose” is a bit of a downer, so in improv terms you deliver it as a BIG downer, you COMMIT to the feeling of the line, so that when Britney responds she has your energy to bounce off.

BRITNEY: “It’s terrible that the boss insists you wear it inside out, when I worked for him I had a sequin one”

CHARLEY: “I feel your pain honey I really do”

In business nothing happens without action, so once you’ve LISTENED and said “YES”, you now need to COMMIT to doing something about it. Commitment for me is like passion… If you are passionate in your business (you are committed to doing whatever is required), you will stand out from all your competitors.

So go on, find an improv group local to you and go and do a workshop. It’s a lot of fun and you might learn something that will help you in business.

What else have I learnt about improv performers?

That they make great performers in training videos, and they are a real joy to direct. So I hope to be making many more improvised training videos in the future… Ones like the clip below:

If you are a training organisation who would like to include video like the ones above as part of you training offerings, then check out some of the training video productions I have worked on.

And then book yourself a discovery session below and lets have a chat about how I can help you engage and inspire your learners.

Discovery session

If you've found this blog helpful and want to find out how easy it is to have video as part of your world, book a FREE 30 Skype discovery call so we can chat video some more

04 Jan 2017
tips for free

Where’s the value in working for FREE?

Is working for FREE bad for business? I do not know the answer to this question so I value your comments. But I have been thinking a lot about it. Two things happened to me earlier this week which made me question whether giving my best advice, sharing my expertise and working for free, was good for my business: I was asked to present a webinar on how to shoot videos with your smartphone I offered my support to a […]

03 Jan 2017

Why laughter is the best educator

They say “Laughter is the best medicine”… I agree with whoever the they are that says this… But I say more Laughter is the best educator I need to take you back 27 years when I first realised this. I was an Assistant Producer at the BBC working on Maths Programmes. The series was called Square One TV, which was a co-production between the BBC and the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW), the makers of Sesame Street.   Now CTW are […]