In this series which appears in In Focus Magazine from The Guild of Television Camera Professionals, Jo Hodges and Liz Bell, co-founders of Fusion Film and TV answer questions from readers and fellow camera operators on industry issues and give advice where needed.

In addition to camera operating and running their production company, Jo and Liz are both qualified transformative life coaches who work specifically with those in the media. You can read more about their work here.


Q: I was furloughed during lockdown and have recently been taken off the scheme and am slowly returning to work. I am suffering with anxiety about being around other people and trying to act normally around them. What can I do to help as it’s causing me tension headaches and I don’t feel like I’m enjoying my work anymore? 

You are not alone with this reaction!  We have all been through a traumatic experience and need to be kind to ourselves by remembering it’s ok to not be ok. Tension headaches are a natural response to being worried so with that in mind, I would suggest that you accept it’s ok to feel like this as we all return to “normality”, and put some strategies in place to get a handle on your anxiety and help you feel more in control. There are some good techniques you can use for easing the feelings of stress and panic such as Mindfulness, and I do a ‘magic magnet’ technique on our “Find Your Balance” Podcast (Ep 13 +1) which is similar to a ‘Body Scan’ and takes just 5 minutes. I’d also advise you take one day at a time and try to be in the moment at work or whenever you are with people. Really concentrate on the particular task or activity you are doing and put everything else aside until you have completed it. This really helps to centre and focus your brain and just needs your intention and concentration to implement.
– Liz 


Q “I didn’t work during lockdown and as I am a freelancer I didn’t have a company to furlough me. I’ve just started to work again but my fitness levels are really low and I’ve put on a lot of weight.  I can’t afford a gym at the moment and I’m finding my motivation is low and we all know how easy it is to eat bad food working on OBs! Please can you help?” 

Hands up anyone who hasn’t put on weight!  Don’t beat yourself up about that, we’re all in the same boat here. We’ve all been moving less, eating more and not sleeping well due to the stress of it all. As we each return to our own normality, it’s important to remember to be kind to yourself. You are in control of your choices though so although it is hard to eat healthily on OBs it’s not impossible.  Make the choice that’s better for you, not the choice that’s easier for you.  When we commit and make it a priority in our lives it’s actually pretty easy to drop some pounds and feel healthier. Having said that, taking that first step is always the difficult one.  Here are some tips to help you begin: 

Make the commitment! Stop telling yourself you can’t, because if you say you can’t, then guess what? You can’t!  

Drink plenty of water.  Being hydrated reduces cravings although perhaps isn’t wise for long stints up a gantry! 

Start slowly but take some time to move.  You don’t need a gym to exercise and you don’t need money either.  There are plenty of courses and videos online to exercise in your home or the Couch25K is a great app for those who want to return to or start running. It’s really about changing old bad habits into new better habits and while it can take time to get fitter, you don’t need to overwhelm yourself – you can start small.
– Jo 


Q “I am a Ltd company and although I furloughed myself I had a very small salary and wasn’t financially prepared for the fact we might all have to stop working for three months.  Thankfully I am now back in business but I have lost some of my previous clients during COVID and need to network to bring some new ones in. I’ve never been particularly good at this what can I do to get better?” 

I would recommend you get a clean piece of paper and a pen.  Start by writing down the areas you feel strong in and those you need help with.  Perhaps you know you need a fresh and new online presence but don’t have the time or knowhow to create one. Or you might know of some online networking events to attend but are worried what to say or how to present yourself.   

Often we are overwhelmed by all the things we think we need to do (particularly if we feel out of our comfort zone) and as a result, nothing gets done. So on your piece of paper, create a plan of action with an approximate timescale.  It will help you feel like you are taking control and making a start rather than avoiding any action at all. Once you have a plan and strategy in place you can start ticking off one item at a time which will move you forward – giving you momentum, motivation and confidence. 

There are many books, articles and people who can help you build your business so access all that’s around you.  Ask other people in the same business and model your plan on those that you feel suit your particular line of work. Coaching is an area you can also explore.  Practise with a professional to build your confidence, particularly if you haven’t networked or had to speak in public before.  Remember, anything you do is better than nothing and sometimes we make it seem too big and daunting a task in order to stop ourselves from starting. Take the plunge and start today!
– Liz