Zombies, Conspirators & Alien Networks. What Simon Pegg Taught Me About Successful Business.

I recently enjoyed an evening at the local cinema watching the magnificent ‘The World’s End’ starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I love the films that these two make and I rarely go to the cinema so the whole evening was a big event for me.

the worlds end

Not only was I excited to be watching their new film but the small converted church which is our local cinema also allows you to take beer in with you and has an old fashioned style interval. Ok so you no longer get a person wandering around with a tray of ice creams or sweets but you can pop off and get another bag of M&Ms and a beer. Nice!

My thoughts on the film?

‘The World’s End’  is excellent, it is a lot of fun and seeing Frost doing some Jackie Chan style bar brawl Kung-Fu with chairs is just brilliant. Pegg was excellent at playing the annoying ex drug addict who has still to grow up, in fact he was so good at playing the part his character grated on me at times.

It was great to see and hear the usual suspects like Paddy Constantine, Bill Nighy & Martin Freeman popping up throughout the film.  (I once moved out of Martin Freeman’s way so he could use the bin at the V festival a few years ago… we are like brothers you know!)

I cannot yet decide whether it was better than ‘Shaun Of The Dead’ (You’ve  got red on you!) or ‘Hot Fuzz’(Yarp)  (Sorry but you cannot mention these films without quoting certain lines) which are the other two films written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright (who directed Scott Pilgrim Vs The World).

These three films make up the ‘Cornetto Trilogy’, named this because each film references one of the three different flavours of Cornetto which is a popular ice cream if you didn’t know. Three different flavours of hero, Strawberry (Shaun Of The Dead), Original (Hot Fuzz) and Mint (The Worlds End).

hot fuzz

After watching the film and catching a rerun of ‘Hot Fuzz’ on ITV2 the following night it got me thinking. I am nearing Forty and when I look back over my life compared to Simon Pegg I seemed to have done very little. When you look at what Simon has done it makes you wonder how he and other actors or musicians fit it all in. (Now don’t get me wrong I don’t believe people should compare themselves to others only to beat themselves up)

Maybe they have more hours in a day or maybe they do not have family?

Well as far as I know Simon is married with a daughter and is subject to the same laws of Space and Time which governs us all so I believe he is stuck to using the same 24 hours a day that we do. Not only has he made the three excellent fun Cornetto films ‘Shaun of The Dead’, ‘Hot Fuzz’ and ‘The Worlds End’ but he has appeared in many films and also has a big part in the latest Hollywood Star Trek re makes. (Being a Sci Fi nut it is great to Simon in these films too)

star trek

I think Simon is one of the great British comedy actors and I have been a huge fan of the shows ‘Big Train’, ‘Hippies’ and who can forget the amazing ‘Spaced’ which starred his good friend Nick Frost and was also directed by Edgar Wright. As an old school raver I can identify with the music and lifestyle of ‘Spaced’. By the way ‘The Worlds End’ has a cracking soundtrack of early Nineties tunes, I need to get a copy.

spaced

After the success of the shows like ‘Spaced’ he crossed over into movies as we know with the excellent zombie flick ‘Shaun Of The Dead’ (The Winchester!)

He has also starred in other fun films such as ‘Run Fatboy Run’ ‘How to Lose Friends and Alienate People’, ‘Burke and Hare’ and another favourite of mine ‘Paul’.

paul

Now I am not going to do a full list of what he has worked on because it is staggering. There are so many films and TV shows he has appeared in that it could be a post on its own. To see a full list here is his Wikipedia page. Simon Pegg

So what am I getting at?

How can you have a career with so much in it? Well the answer is simply focus on one project at a time. We bloggers, writers and internet marketers try and do so much, we learn new things and want to try them out usually before we have finished anything else. Myself included, I am probably one of the worse for it.

shaun of the dead

When Simon and Edgar created ‘Shaun of the Dead’ (WE’RE COMING TO GET YOU, BARBRA!), ‘Hot Fuzz’ (Oh f*** off grasshopper) and ‘The Worlds End’ (We’re going to see this through to the bitter end. Or… lager end) (Sorry! 🙂 ) they were done in parts.

  1. They brainstormed the ideas

  2. They wrote the Story

  3. They recorded the film

  4. They did the publicity tour

  5. They became legends and hopefully laughed all the way to the bank

It sounds obvious but they cannot move onto the next project until the one they are working on is finished and as you can see in the list you cannot move onto the next stage of project until one before it is complete.

Now I am not saying that while writing or filming they couldn’t sit and brainstorm other ideas over a coffee or pop off and do a small TV appearance etc but what I am saying is that they would not try and write or film 3 films together unless they were like the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ where they were essentially just filming the same longer film. No, they would start a project and complete it before even attempting to start another.

You cannot start filming if there isn’t a story and you cannot write a story if you do not have an idea. It is a logical progression from start to finish. I am currently writing a book but will it get done? Probably not because I am trying to do too many different things. Even if I schedule an hour each week on it trying to stick with it is difficult when your head is all over the place. I would lose most of that hour reading through what I did last week and figuring out where I was up to.

I suspect that Simon would work the same when he is doing other films such as the Star Trek films. He would be given a script and he would need to learn his lines then go and do rehearsals before they did the final stage of filming. During that time he may read other scripts to see if he was interested in working on new films in the future or he may take a few hours off to write out outlines for a new story but I doubt he would try and learn lines for another film or focus on writing while trying to remember the lines for a film he was doing now.

To do so would be confusing and could have him quoting all kinds of mixed up odd lines on set.

Scotty – ‘Aye Cap’n, she cannie take it, 12 pints is enough to have any old Pickle on its back and dogs can look up’

Captain Kirk- ‘Eh? WTF?’

scotty and kirk

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost make the best films and are two of my favourite actors. You cannot beat the benefits of a good laugh and they deliver but they are also an inspiration to me because they, just like us, started somewhere when money wasn’t as abundant and they needed to earn the ‘bread and butter’ wage while trying to carve out a career. They did it by focusing their energies on one or two projects at a time and not spreading themselves out too thinly trying to do everything at once.

You should do the same, if you want to create a series of video tutorials focus on them until they are done or you have mastered the art and can knock them out easily. If you want to write great posts and guest posts, then focus on your writing until you are finished or until you have mastered writing.

Do not do an article here and then another article there while doing Podcasts, Video tutorials, creating ebooks etc otherwise you will produce a lot of nothing. One guest post might get some traffic but 80 would get you loads so whatever your project is, plan it well, and stick with it until it is done.

Think of the saying ‘Less haste, more speed’ now think of a new version ‘less projects, more results’. You know, I think I am going to adopt that method more myself but first I am popping out… ‘Want anything from the shop?’ A Cornetto perhaps? 🙂

Andi’s Sad Facts Corner

So I am going to wrap this post up by boring you with an excellent fact about ‘Hot Fuzz’ that keeps me awake at night purely because I am sad. Julie Deakin who starred in ‘Hot Fuzz’ and appears briefly in ‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘The Worlds End’ and starred in ‘Spaced’ with Simon and Nick was born here in my home town of Gainsborough and went to school here… and … and it gets better… Jim Broadbent was born in Lincoln which is just up the road from me. I know Lincoln well and went to college there.

julie deakin and jim broadbent

What I want to know is this… Did Julie Deakin and Jim Broadbent ever sit and have a coffee break during filming and talk about Lincoln and G-Town just as I would? Or were they not aware of each others neighbouring ties? Yes that does keep me awake and is very sad but it makes me feel like I am part of the ‘Hot Fuzz’ family! 🙂

So if you have any great business tips, or sad but VERY interesting facts about local celebs then please share them with us in the comments below.  But now I must ‘Jog On’ and leave you. 🙂 – Andi

3 thoughts on “Zombies, Conspirators & Alien Networks. What Simon Pegg Taught Me About Successful Business.

  1. Absolutely GENIUS …. this post will ring a lot of bells for a lot of different business owners.

    I am one of the WORST for having 2/3 ok 8/9 things on the go at once and wonder why none of them get finished as quickly as I would like.

    I guess I just need to FOCUS (Follow One Course Until Successful) When I wrote the Easy Twitter Guide I did that (it took me a while to drop all other tasks) but once I’d realised that, it was plain sailing.

    Business owners the same, at the printing business our target is to build the websites for the company(s) and finish them, but with 3 to do, 1 site at a time … then its a case of promoting the sites in every which way possible – but no point in doing so now – as there are still steps beforehand to be finished!

    Cool post, I bet this will get the cogs turning ….

    Oh and I LOVE Hot Fuzz – Simon Pegg is a proper chap!

  2. Awesome post Andi – and you are right. Sticking to just one task at a time is much better for completion and delivery of projects. And – for the record “SPACED” is the best box-set known to man. The End. (All the best are kept to 2 series and don’t sell out)

  3. Yarp! Got to love the Pegg/Frost partnership. 🙂

    I can relate to this post, I always seem to have a ton of projects on at the same time, but struggle to get them all finished. Much better, like you say, to take things one step at a time.

    Great post Andi!

    P.S. Totally agree with John – SPACED is amazing 😀

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