Really looking forward to speaking at this (sold out) 51.6 event in Swansea next week put on by the excellent and forward thinking people Urban Foundry.
I’ll be talking about my adventures on ‘Sparking the joy of human #kindness’ with We Make Good Happen, the heroes that have gone on to spread compassion to others and the incredible domino effect of doing acts of kindness.
I’ll be discussing how we as humans, businesses, entrepreneurs, communities can help create a happier and kinder world.
Also on the agenda will be running a business with a purpose and how my side project of We Make Good Happen (Facebook group) has directly influenced how I run my video production company in Cardiff We Make Film Happen and the impact it’s made.
When I decided to leave the BBC in London 8 years ago to start working for myself, some people called me crazy.
Why? Because I’d recently been offered a full time contract to work for the mighty Beeb, based at the infamous Television Centre. It was safe. It was cosy. There was a great atmosphere there. There were some super lovely people that worked there (and I’m still friends with many of them) And there was an ace bar in TVC that many of us would hit on Friday evening.
Who leaves a full time contract on the table, with a great company behind it and a guaranteed salary every month? And decide to go it all alone?
Someone that needed to push further, faster. Plus I’d always wanted to work for myself.
It was a risk sure. And that risk payed off BIG time. Yes there’s been the obvious ups and downs of running your own business, but the opportunities and experiences I’ve had since working for myself have been incredible.
When I first went freelance I traded under the very snappy and easy to spell .com Matt Callanan Productions. It wasn’t easy to spell. email@example.com is very hard to spell down a telephone line to a potential client. Plus most people think my surname is spelt Callaghan. Wonder how many potential clients I lost as the email bounced back to them as they misspelt my email address?
One of early wins was winning a music video competition for Royksopp. How to win a music video competition with a £99 bike and next door neighbour might be another blog post.
As my business got established and I took on my 1st employee I changed my name to Callapro Films (a cut down of Matt Callanan Productions). firstname.lastname@example.org was slightly easier to spell!
One of my favourite films during the Callapro phase was creating this documentary for my friend Emma:
and this one with Red Bull Adventurer Matt Prior
Then there was filming a documentary with George Clooney! for US TV
Filming a band on top of igloo in Lapland for a drinks company
Then a little while ago we changed our name to The Makers.
Working with my kindness project We Make Good Happen we did emotive films like this (filming and editing for free) for Hope For Children, filming out in Uganda and Ghana which helped the children’s charity raise half a million pounds (£500,000)
and making people cry with films like this for Ty Hafan
And then we got a letter. A super well know company got in touch, A multi billionaire company had a website with a close name to ourselves (but in a different sector) and wanted us to change our name.
We spoke to IP lawyers. We spoke to other owners of businesses that have had their brand challenged. We remembered a lovely person we’d filmed on a trip to Mexico, who run a brewery and took on Pepsi in the courts. Did he win? Have a read
Basically it was going to cost £20-£30k just to start the process of going though the courts to try and establish we had different customers and the similarity in the names wouldn’t confuse customers.
So wanting to just get on a run and business, be creative and help others tell their story – I really did’t fancy several years of solicitor letters.
It reduces stress, including its impact on your blood pressure and heart rate.
Once a day may fight infections, boost your immune system, ease depression and lessen fatigue.
I’ve filmed it before and got partially involved before, but never fully got integrated with it . So on this occasion I wanted to properly experience it and left my camera at home.
I’m talking about Free Hugs. I went along to the ace Free Hugs Cardiff which takes part in the city centre.
Once you get over any awkwardness and any fear of rejection – you’ll find it really brings a smile to your face, you inwardly feel warm and can visibly see the difference it makes to a lot of the people who accept a hug.
Though who accepts a hug from a stranger? Where did this all start?
Juan Mann on June 30, 2004, started giving out hugs in central Sydney. In the months prior to this, Mann had been feeling depressed and lonely as a result of numerous personal difficulties. However, a random hug from a stranger made an enormous difference, with Mann stating that “…I went out to a party one night and a completely random person came up to me and gave me a hug. I felt like a king! It was greatest thing that ever happened.”
The idea went viral helped by a music video which used footage of Mann giving out #FreeHugs
There are now groups around the world that give out free hugs.
I actually heard about Free Hugs Cardiff from the lovely Sri at an Ignite Talk (and you can actually see me right at the end of the talk run up on to the stage and give the amazing Sri a hug – this was before I knew him and thought of the We Make Good Happen idea)
I got a lot out of the hour and a bit giving out Free Hugs to random people in the city centre. I went away feeling buzzing and smiling to myself. I lost count of the amount of people I’d hugged and smiles I’d seen. It really did feel like a made a brief connection with these people.
And you never know – it might just make someone’s day. I’ve heard some great stories of individuals being really moved after receiving a hug.
Have a search in your area / city and see if there’s one happening. If not why not think of starting your own group?
I really do think that was one of the best hours I’ve ever spent…
“30 incredible people, all living inspirational and enriched lives in the UK right now.”
It’s an absolute honour to be included in the Alternative Rich List 2018 published by The Sunday Times.
“The playful samaritan who started good deeds trending”
It’s the 2nd year it’s run, which is included in the annual Rich List that they produce.
It was completely out of the blue when they got in touch with me and you never really believe it’s going to happen until it’s published.
“We wish to include you for your mission to spread happiness through We Make Good Happen.”
Want to thank everyone involved with We Make Good Happen and #Tenner4Good as it’s your kindness and involvement with Good deeds for other people that have helped me get to this point. It’s appreciated.
This is still one of my favourite #GoodDeeds #ActsOfKindness we’ve done.
We heard about a lovely lady called Marjorie who was turning 100 in a care home, but she had no immediate family. So as We Make Good Happen (Cardiff/Newport/Wales) we went and put on a big party for her…
And there was an extra surprise for her too
Join us in helping to make the world a happier and kinder place: