Episode 19: Leaving a “beige” career and becoming a TV sensation – with Miles Chapman

Writer and star of Channel 4 show “Lee and Dean” Miles Chapman tells us how he left his “beige” career and came to write and star in a hit TV comedy.

Today’s guest

Miles Chapman of Bingo Productions

Website: Bingo Productions

Facebook: Bingo Productions

Twitter: @BingoFilms

YouTube: Bingo Productions

Instgram: Bingo Productions

Email: info@bingofilms.co.uk

Miles is co-founder of Bingo Productions, a talent-led micro-indie with big ideas.  Based in the East of England region, their first major commission ‘Lee and Dean’ was broadcast on Channel 4 in Spring 2018 and you can now find the whole series on All4.  They are currently developing a slate of projects within scripted comedy and drama, and factual formats.

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • The shortcomings of career advice at age 16
  • Why we should pay attention to wake-up calls
  • Overcoming the fears of being caught out as a “charlatan”
  • Why it’s sometimes worth saying “yes” even if you don’t yet know what that will mean
  • The importance of self-contentment 

Resources mentioned in this episode

Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase.  This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.

To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.

Episode 19: Leaving a “beige” career and becoming a TV sensation - with Miles Chapman

Jeremy Cline
Does being the writer, director, actor and producer of a successful TV comedy sound like a fantasy career? Well, certainly fantasy if you don't do anything about it. I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.

Hello, and welcome to the Change Work Life podcast - the show that's all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. What colour would you use to describe your career? Might seem like a bit of an odd question, but my guest this week identified his old career as being well, a bit beige, or magnolia. He's Miles Chapman, and he's the co-writer and co-star of hit Channel 4 comedy, Lee and Dean. In this interview, we talk about how he got out of his beige job and into something he truly loves. Hi Miles, welcome to the show.

Miles Chapman
Thank you for having me on.

Jeremy Cline
Miles, can start by introducing yourself and telling everyone what it is you do?

Miles Chapman
Yeah, my name is Miles Chapman. I'm a writer-performer on television. I also co-own a TV production company as well. And I didn't start doing this until I was 42. So I probably jumped in a bit early there, but I obviously haven't done this all my life - that's the reason I'm on this podcast! [Laughs]

Jeremy Cline
Yeah! So let's talk about your your career journey. So what what did you start out doing and how did you end up doing this?

Miles Chapman
Well, I don't suppose any route into this world is conventional. No-one sort of opens a door and says 'here you go'. I worked in insurance for years, I worked for Which magazine for years... Backtracking slightly, my mum was an amazing actor - she was a writer as well - and she went to RADA. But then she had me in 1968. My dad had a really good job in the bank, and back then, you know - just different times - my dad said 'I'm the main income earner', and my mum said, 'Oh, it's fine, I'll look after Miles'. So she never really pursued her career, and was sort of a housewife if you like. She still passed her secretarial exams and did that part-time, but she never really pursued that as a career. But she did sort of am-dram and writing and stuff like that - which she was brilliant at. And I guess that's where I get it from. And it was something I sort of played with when I was a kid. I did a few bits and bobs and in my early teens, and then just sort of left it behind really.

Jeremy Cline
Why do you think that was? Why at that stage, did you just think 'nah I'm not going to do this professionally', because people do start out that way don't they?

Miles Chapman
Yeah, I'll tell you one of the main reasons... And thank God we do live in much more enlightened times. When I finished school in 1985 - that's a long time ago! - my careers teacher, I'll never forget his name, Steve Nigh, and I remember him saying to me, so what do you want to do Miles? I said well I either want to be in a band and play music - I'm a drummer as well - or I want to pursue a career in the arts, you know, acting. And he goes 'Well, you might be sort of wasting your time with that. So why don't you think about a career that's a bit more solid? Maybe in IT or banking.' You know when you're that sort of age - 16, 17... And when I was at school, creativity was really - not frowned upon - but it just wasn't nurtured the way it is. It wasn't supported. Everything was very pragmatic - it was about exams, it was about sport, it was about going off and getting a job. And even in 1985, by far the majority of people didn't go to university. Now most people go to university once they leave after their A-levels. I certainly didn't and I settled on doing a B-Tech National in Business Studies - you couldn't get a more diametrically opposed and dry subject than that compared with treading the boards or carving out a career in acting! My mum and dad were sort of supportive because they said, Well, you know, you got to get a proper career and that'll be good for money and everything else. And my mum said, Well, you know, you got to do that, but there's not much money in it. And I just sort of didn't bother pursuing it. No one sort of said to me, why don't you go to college and do it? Why don't you go to uni and do it? Why don't you try this course? Why don't you do a foundation course in this? Why don't you meet up with these people and see what you can do? So there was no sort of support or help so I just sort fell into a beige career really. And then when my mum died in 2008, that was a massive turning point in my life - because then I suddenly thought, I've got to stop doing what I'm doing. You know, my mom was only 69 when she died. She didn't fulfil her career dreams or her aspirations. And, you know, I'm not going to be the same. And it was a big risk. And I met a guy called Mark O'Sullivan, who's my co-writer and sort of comedy wife as I call him, and we started writing together and the first thing we sent in to the BBC, they really loved. I wasn't expecting that! You sort of hope for the best and expect the worst don't you! And then we made our own short film, and it got picked up by Channel Four. So it sounds like it was sort of overnight success, it wasn't - it took a long, long time to get where we are today. But it was just something that I felt I had to do and luckily it appears I'm good enough to be able to do it. So I'm so glad because I could so easily not have bothered to do that and just carry on where I was.

Jeremy Cline
What do you think made the change? I absolutely get the story about you know, your mother dying relatively young, and you thinking hang on, this is a bit of a wake up call. But I wonder how many people actually listen to that wake up call. So what do you think made you actually think - you know what, I really do have to make a change here?

Miles Chapman
Well, Mark. So Mark is my best friend as well. And he went to drama school - he's very talented - he's a great writer, great actor. And he said, 'You're just so good Miles, you know, you're really funny, you're fantastic at characters, you're a brilliant writer - why don't we write together?' And it was kind of that that sort of spurred me on and then when we got interest I suddenly thought 'This is what I need to do'. Because I was sort of doing it while I was sort of still at Which? - you know, just dipping my toe in. And then after I took the plunge I thought I'm gonna jack in my job and I'm going to do this full time. I'm going to see what happens. And I threw my heart and soul into it really. And I had other jobs - I was doing bar work and other bits and bobs - but I thought I don't want to carve out a career somewhere else. I want to have all my head in this. I don't want to have to go to work nine to five and then come home so exhausted I haven't got any energy to do anything else. So I got bar work and stuff like that, that was sort of easy going. It was like someone lit a flame inside of me. The major starting point actually - there's a local theatre near us called the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City - I don't know if you know it. And Mark's been a member of there for years. And in fact my mum did several plays there. And Mark said, they're putting on a pantomime Cinderella. He said, How about you and I go in and audition for the ugly sisters. I said I don't know. He said, well it would be a good litmus for us to see if we can perform together. So we did, and it was the best fun I've ever had in my life. And that was really like a massive 'I can do this, I can do this'. And everyone saying oh you're really good at what you do, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So that was it really. So it's all the combination of those things that set me on that path really into what I do now.

Jeremy Cline
And so at what point did you meet Mark? Was he a schoolfriend?

Miles Chapman
No. So my wife, Jill, and one of her best friends, Jenny - they've known each other since they were 14, so I have known Jenny since I've been with Jill. And then Jenny started going out with Mark in 2003 I think it was - and that's how I met Mark. It was just because they met each other and she said oh I've got this new fella called Mark, we should all meet up. So we met, and Mark and I shared a very similar sense of humour. Yeah, we just clicked straight away and that's when the suggestion came - after a couple of years of knowing each other - 'We should try writing something together shouldn't we?' 'Yeah, yeah, I think we should.'

Jeremy Cline
Was he already sort of in the profession?

Miles Chapman
No, not at all. I mean he did a B-Tech in drama - he'll probably kill me if I've got that wrong! - and he then became a teacher and taught drama, and then he set up his own business making corporate films. So he had charities and third sectors and stuff like that. So he had the experience of making and cutting films and directing, and the sort of drama experience, but then I brought - sometimes I wonder what on earth I brough him to be honest! - but Mark said 'No you're just naturally very, very funny and a brilliant storyteller, we should get together and write,' and it just worked. It just totally worked. And what's really, really good is that we both have sort of opposite strengths and opposite weaknesses. So one carrries the other when the other is not so good. And so that's a good thing, so the scales don't feel they're tipped to one side. It feels like it's quite a nice balance.

Jeremy Cline
So you talked about making the decision to commit to it. Was there risk associated with that? I mean, in particular - and it's the financial risk that people most think of when they're making career changes - was it a case of not just wanting to do this for you for what you had to do, but was there a case of having to make a success of it? Or were you in a position where you had the freedom that you could basically stuff it up for a bit before you actually, you know, worked out what you were doing?

Miles Chapman
Yeah. I suppose. Yes. I suppose like you say - apart from the obvious financial risks - the biggest fear was to say, after four or five years that I'm not good enough. I'm a failure. I wasn't meant to do this. And that's quite crushing. If you brought it to the realisation that something you thought perhaps you could do after several years, everyone's telling you that actually no you can't. And that's quite a bitter pill to swallow. And that was my biggest fear - that I was going to be a charlatan, that I was going to be caught out. And I still feel like that now - I still can't quite believe that I'm doing what I'm doing, and being paid to do it. It's ridiculous. But I think that was my biggest fear that, you know, putting all that energy and emotion into something, and then to have that pulled away from you is devastating. The financial thing's neither here nor there - you always find a way through - but that is a very, very tough thing to get through. I was worried, despite people saying, you're funny, you're brilliant at what you do - there was still that sort of slight nagging doubt that if this doesn't work out... But it did, it did work out. So thank god!

Jeremy Cline
Have there been points on the way where you have thought, No, okay, this isn't working out?

Miles Chapman
Oh all the time! And they could be obvious points or just paranoia. Or perhaps a mixture of the two. We all do that - it's a very common thing, the imposter syndrome, or the charlatan, where you think I'm going to get caught out one day, someone's going to turn round to me and say 'You can't do this can you, you're no good. You're not meant to do this'. And I think a lot of that is paranoia and inward rumination. There are other sort of signposts when you get knockbacks. I mean you write to channels or broadcasters or other production companies and they say, 'No, no, no, no'. After a flurry of 'no's or quite a few 'no's then the doubts start to set in - you think 'perhaps we're not meant to do this', but this is typical of this industry - it's a really hard industry. And I think if you're quite an emotional and sensitive person who suffers from anxiety and depression occasionally as I do, it's probably the worst industry to get in. So well done Miles! It can be very stressful at times because you have to have resolve to say someone saying no doesn't mean to say 'you're not good enough' - it's just a no for this particular project or whatever. And you have to have that resolve to keep pushing forward. It's tough sometimes.

Jeremy Cline
So what's kept you going then? You know, you talked about the anxiety, depression, lots of knockbacks. Why have you kept going?

Miles Chapman
Because when it does work it's the best feeling in the world - it's wonderful. There's nothing finer than writing something, performing something, and then seeing it come to life on the screen and watching it broadcast on a major UK channel. It's incredible - it's a fantastic feeling. There are frustrations along the way, but it's like anything, isn't it - that journey. It's a bit like when you have a young child - when they're young, and they keep you awake all night and you've hardly any sleep, you feel absolutely terrible. When the good things happen all of that melts away - you forget about all of that. And I bet your daughter, your daughter's three - and I imagine those early days you've probably forgotten about that. They melt away because all the good stuff pushes it away. You know, it's a similar sort of thing.

Jeremy Cline
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you could have a half hour of screaming and then suddenly it's you know, all smiling and lovely. And you do just forget about it.

Miles Chapman
And then all is forgiven and all is forgotten. Absolutely.

Jeremy Cline
Can you tell us about what you'd say was your your first success? So your first point where it went right, it was accepted and you thought, yeah, I am doing this?

Miles Chapman
Yeah. We did have interest on a script that we wrote, but I think Mark and I's original intention, apart from just writing, was to perform as well. So we made a short film. Sam, who also works with our production company as well, and he's a co-writer with us and he's sort of like our ultimate litmus test really. If we read him stuff or do stuff that he doesn't like - it goes out the window! He's got a brilliant sense of humour. He's very good. So he bought a new camera that had an amazing video on it and which we were using for corporate films, and we just one day instead - we had these two characters called Delphine and Vic - and we said, why don't we make a short film - make it in a day. So we'll get the costumes ourselves in the Barn Theatre. Because a lot of what Mark and I do is improvise, but we do have a story structure. So we know what the through line is, we know what the emotional through lines are. We know what the beats are within each scene, but it's up to us how we deliver that dialogue to make that scene happen. So we got the camera, we spent a day filming in various locations, came away, cut it all, and it just came out brilliant. And we put it online and Armando Iannucci retweeted it, Simon Blackwell retweeted it, and then Phil Clarke from Channel Four got hold of it and said, 'This is fantastic guys, do you want to come in and have a chat?' And of course you want that to happen! But when it actually does, that's ridiculous! The biggest point for me was turning up at Channel Four outside the building where they've got this huge big, metal sort of structure that's all sort of cleverly constructed - only if you sit at a certain angle does it make the four - and I remember sitting outside, going 'We're going in here and we're going in here to have a meeting - we've been asked to come in'. This is not some sort of, you know, we won it on the back of a cereal packet, "come and see Channel Four" - this is proper, we've been asked to come in. And that was a massive moment. And meeting with the Head of Comedy for Channel Four, Phil Clarke, who we're still in contact with - he's a lovely man, and he's been a massive supporter of ours over the years - was just incredible. I remember coming out of that meeting, the pair of us just beaming ear to ear, thinking 'My goodness, they actually want to work with us, they've taken us seriously - they think we're good enough'. You know, it was just amazing really.

Jeremy Cline
So was this short kind of like a pilot for Lee and Dean?

Miles Chapman
No it wasn't, it was just characters that we have - we had a silly little story about them, a sort of in on their lives for a day. And that was it, and they just loved it. They just love the original authorship and the way we performed it and the story was great - and they just thought it was brilliant. And that was it really. That was sort of the start of our journey. So from that they commissioned us to make some blaps - now Channel Four still do them - they're small online pilots. So they're like taster pilots if you like. It gives you an opportunity to make broadcast quality stuff in the proper way, but on a budget. So we made these blaps and within those blaps there were Delphine and Vic and Grant and Brent as well. So we made these two other characters. And they did really, really well. And then that didn't get fully commissioned, but then we we made another short ourselves - that's something that Mark and I constantly do is just make shorts all the time, we just think, right, we've got a day free in a couple of months let's just make something - and we made these two characters called Lee and Dean, the builders. And we sent it in to Channel Four again, and they said 'Actually we really love this. Can we have a chat with you?' And then before we knew it, they gave us money for a taster, money for a pilot and then money for a series... Okay, here we go! And then subsequently after that, we got a second series as well - or should I say consequently - but yeah, there we are. I'm making it sound really easy, like 'oh just go in and they'll give you it' and it's not like that!

Jeremy Cline
That's what I wanted to talk about. We've talked about the first success, but what about the failures leading up to that? I mean, can you talk about some of those?

Miles Chapman
Of course, absolutely. Flavours - we wrote a pilot script for it, and it got turned down. And that was after the blaps, and that was really crushing. And then subsequently, a couple of other things that we wrote that we sent in were turned down. And then you think perhaps that was just a one off, perhaps that was a fluke what we made - and then the Lee and Dean thing happened and it went from there. So yeah, in between those blaps - which were amazing to make, and I still stand by them, I think they're great - you know, Channel Four, still loved us and still wanted to work with us, but they chose Lee and Dean. And the craziest thing is that Channel Four not only commissioned us to make that comedy, but they commissioned us to make it in a really unusual unorthodox way, which is do improv which is very unusual. Because normally they like scripted pieces, you know, as opposed to outlines of stories and just let's get on with it. Not only that, we did it with our mates. We had a few proper actors in, but a lot of the characters we used in the building company were just our mates because we didn't have much money, so we just said, 'Can you help us out?' Which they did - and they stayed for the first and second series. So you know, making a comedy with your mates, it doesn't get much better than that really!

Jeremy Cline
So why were Channel Four prepared to take this risk on doing it this unusual way with the improv and getting your mates in and that sort of thing?

Miles Chapman
I just think they really loved what we did. And they just said look we trust you to make something really brilliant. And Channel Four has always had a history of risk taking and putting things out there that are different, and are groundbreaking, and are seminal and influence other performers or other types of comedy. So I think they just wanted to sort of take that risk with us. And also it was under their suggestion - in fact Phil Clarke's suggestion - that we set up our own production company and they commissioned us directly. Normally what happens is you get writer-performers who work with a production company, who then work with the channel. But in this case, we were the writer- performers and the producers and the directors, with our own production company working directly with the channel - which is different again because we had so much autonomy on it. It was amazing, you know - just that that level of control. I don't want to sound despotic, but when it's your baby, and you have that vision of how you want to see something come out, it's really lovely that you don't have too many people meddling in something, because that's when things start to go wrong. You know you have several people's visions at the same time trying to find something that works for everyone - it's not always possible. So it was great that Mark and I and the other people within Bingo had the same vision of how we wanted it to turn out. So that was amazing.

Jeremy Cline
So if someone came up to me and said, right, okay, we think we should start a production company, I'd be like 'Errr, what? How do you do that?' When that suggestion came in, did you think 'Okay, yeah, we can do that' or did you have a feeling of 'Yeah, we could do that. Erm, how do you do that!?'

Miles Chapman
Well, exactly that! I mean making your own little short in a day on tuppence is a lot different from making a full scale production. I produced the taster, the pilot and the first series and then Martyn Jolly - who works for Bingo as well - he produced along with a guy called Tom Miller on the second series, because it was just too much. I mean trying to produce, write and perform - it's overwhelming. So I decided the second series not to do all three, which was easier. But yeah, absolutely that. So we came back and thought 'that's brilliant - what do we do next then?' But here's the thing - if someone's commissioned you to do something, already as a production company, you have a piece of work you need to do. Anyone potentially could set up production company, but you could be just waving around for years not doing anything because no one's prepared to commission you, you haven't got the contact. So we were already two or three steps ahead. You know, we had contacts, we had a production, we had something that we could actually get off the ground and make happen, and Channel Four were prepared to give us some dosh do that. So we just had to learn the hard way, who do we need to get in to make this happen? How do we make this budget work across all the different cogs within a production to get what we need at the end of it? And yeah of course we made mistakes all along the way, but as we've gone forward, it's become easier. And we're learning the ropes and we're understanding how how you make your production. It was really exciting, but at the same time quite daunting as well. You know, you're responsible for a huge pile of money that pops into your bank account - you think 'Oh right, Okay. Here we go!' So yeah, it is quite scary. It really, really is. But very exciting at the same time. Yeah. But you'd be amazed you know, the people out there who can really, really help you. If you get a fantastic production manager, fantastic line producer, brilliant director - brilliant people in all areas like makeup and costume design and art design. There's so many amazing people out there that can really help you and make something fantastic happen. It is like a proper team. It's a family for six, seven weeks. You know, it's amazing, it's a really brilliant thing. Yeah.

Jeremy Cline
Your partnership with Mark. How do you keep that on the rails? History is littered with these partnerships which produce amazing even magical stuff, but, you know, they end up hating each other. Simon and Garfunkel...

Miles Chapman
Absolutely, yeah. Of course we've had fallings out and we've had run-ins and we've had spats over the years - if you work that closely together and something is very creative and very close to your heart - if someone disagrees with something or you know, you look horns - it's going to be uncomfortable at points. But I think we are rational enough to see through that. And at this point in time, we are working together and very happily, but we're also doing stuff on our own as well. I'm writing with other people, Mark's writing with other people. We've also got other talent working with Bingo Productions as well, so we don't feel completely joined at the hip. We never really saw ourselves as a double act, you know, in the vein of Cannon and Ball, Little and Large, Morecambe and Wise or whatever. We were just two people that performed together and performed together really, really well and created these worlds and created these characters, but we're not just limited to that, and as a production company we're not just limited to that either. So, you know, we're looking at drama and factual entertainment as well, as well as film and comedy. We don't want to limit ourselves just to that. But having said that, our heart is always in performing - getting these crazy characters and getting them up on their feet and creating worlds around them. That's where our heart is, you know, that's what we love to do. But you're right, you know, I'm not gonna lie - because we've had moments. It's like a marriage. I've had arguments with my wife, we were married 18 years yesterday actually. We're always gonna have tiffs and arguments. Wouldn't be normal if you didn't. But you kind of get through that. We're both grown up and stupid enough to realise that arguments are very short-lived, and it's not worth brooding on them and, you know, letting it sour a relationship which is in most parts really good.

Jeremy Cline
Presumably there is such a thing as partnership coaching in the same way that you get marriage guidance, counselling of couples, therapy - all that sort of thing, presumably you can get for business partners?

Miles Chapman
Yeah, we've never gone down that route but I suspect there probably is! When a business is going down the pan and people say we'll come in and try and work out where your differences are and whether irrevocable or not, I don't know. But Mark and I - we're in a good place. We are. And I think it's healthy, you know, to do other stuff outside of just our stuff together. I think that's a really good thing. Because we're doing it not only for us, but for the good of the production company as well, because the more stuff we have going the better it is for all of us.

Jeremy Cline
And what was Jill's reaction when you said, 'I'm going to do this?'

Miles Chapman
Amazingly supportive. In fact, Jill was one of my sort of biggest enablers over the years. She said to me, Miles, you really should get into this. And I said it's all well and good, but how? How would I possibly get into this world? So she was really pleased for me. Obviously it was a risk but she was prepared to support me and say go for it. My wife is a business psychologist so she does a lot of career counselling. So, for her, it was like, you gotta do what you love doing and you got to focus on what your strengths are what comes to you naturally when you're in flow. That's when the best stuff comes out. So, yeah, she was incredibly supportive, and still is.

Jeremy Cline
There were no points where she thought hang on, I've got to be the sole breadwinner here?

Miles Chapman
Yeah, possibly. But I like I say, I mean, we weren't you know, on the breadline - I did still have some income, I had some money saved and I was getting income from other places. But yeah, it was a risk because I didn't come into this to make millions and millions of pounds - you know, I've done all right out of it, but I did it because it's what I love doing. It's a vocation. The Barn Theatre for example - the amount of work and energy and emotion and effort that goes into a performance down there and the amount of time people give up to be in something, and they don't earn a penny out of it. In fact that they're spending at their own pocket to make it happen. And the reason they do is because they love it. It's just in you, it's a fire you can't put out. And if I earn money out of it, oh, my goodness it's even better, you know. So it's just naturally in me.

Jeremy Cline
And if you could go back and talk to your younger self, do you think things would be different and you'd have started earlier?

Miles Chapman
Yeah, I think they would have been different. And I don't think they would be like they are now. I did have that conversation with myself thinking, why didn't I go to drama school earlier? But if I had've done I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now. I certainly wouldn't be sitting here chatting to you about it, because my path would have been entirely different. So yeah. I think I came into it late for a reason. And I think a lot of my comedy, I would say, 99% of my comedy, is based on what I see and hear around me. So people I've worked with, that are not directly performing, but they influence me - types of people influence me - people around me that I've seen, and conversations I've overheard and scenarios... and I certainly wouldn't have picked any of that up had I gone into drama at an early age. It's because I've had this reasonably sort of magnolia career for years - if you call it a career - and then fallen into something else, that's influenced me. I mean, Lee and Dean are just very ordinary people leading relatively ordinary lives so - as you' ve probably started to watch - of course, we've subverted that, but that's influenced me hugely. So you know, that's where it all comes from.

Jeremy Cline
Where do you see this going? in the future? Do you have a five year plan, a ten year plan?

Miles Chapman
Sort of! It's kind of floating, flexible sort of plan, you know, we obviously want to grow and develop the production company. It's kind of about the company's growth, it's also about individual journeys as well. I've got some auditions coming up, I'm keen to do other stuff, to flex my acting skills and be part of things and write for other people, with other people. But yeah, the plan is to grow the production company and to grow ourselves as individuals as well. And that's what we're doing. But I'm not panicking about it. I'm just sort of asking the universe for it and hoping that it comes back and putting in as much hard work as I can really. That's all you can do, isn't it?

Jeremy Cline
Of the sort of the different hats that you wear, the actor, the writer, the producer, the owner of the production company, are you looking to work on any of those in particular? Do you want to do more as an actor? Do you want to be a bigger production company or are you just going to do all of them as long as you can?

Miles Chapman
Well, I guess all of them as long as I can. It's amazing having a production company, and the doors it's opened has been terrific and the people we've managed to meet - it's been amazing, and the connections and networking because of that, it's been incredible. But I guess my heart really is always in performing and writing and creating these worlds. I remember - this is going to sound like a stupid memory - but I remember as a kid, my mum going into infant school and the teacher saying 'Miles is very capable, but he just seems to spend most of his time putting a skirt on and sitting in the wendy house and pretending.' But I think it goes back to that - essentially what we're doing, we are doing what you did at school, it's make believe. You're creating a pretend world, but you're being given money to do it. It's really a much bigger and broader version of me sitting in a wendy house with a skirt on pretending to be someone else. And that's kind of what it is and that's always where my heart has been. And it's amazing so that is always in me. I can't ever let that go. And you know, running a production company, the fact we've got an amazing guy called Martyn Jolly who is an incredible businessman and he's part of the company as well and he kind of more or less looks after that side of things thank God, because I don't know where we'd be if it wasn't for him. Because I'm no businessman believe me! So that's always where my heart is gonna be, definitely.

Jeremy Cline
So are you conscious of the need to make sure that you get the balance right, because I can see how easily, if you didn't have someone like Martyn in, how the production company could take over your life, and you wouldn't have time to do any of the acting?

Miles Chapman
Yeah, absolutely. Of course. Absolutely. And I don't want that ever to happen. Because when I first came into this, I don't think it even crossed our mind that we would have our own production company. What we wanted to do was just make comedy, write and perform. And the fact that we've got a production company is a very wonderful and unexpected bonus that we're loving and doing well at. But yeah, I wouldn't want it to completely suffocate and stymie any opportunity that I had to write and perform. I wouldn't. Because you know, to do both is what is the ideal blend really - the balance.

Jeremy Cline
I always ask my guests if they've got a particular resource that they can share with the audience, whether it's a quote or a book or just something that's helped you with your journey. Have you got something that you can suggest?

Miles Chapman
I guess my wife has been my biggest influence really, because she has really supported me and said, 'You've just got to do what you really want to do and what makes you really, really happy'. And you know, that always comes with a risk. There's no avoiding that. And like I said, thank God in my case, it paid off. But there's books I've read over the years that have really sort of resonated with me, and I do a lot of mindfulness and there's a book called Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, which is a brilliant, brilliant book. And his journey - I wouldn't say it was similar to mine - but he had a massive breakdown years and years ago, and suffered terribly with anxiety and depression and does still from time to time, in fact. That's what happened to me - I had a breakdown and it was horrendous. And I'm not suggesting anyone has a breakdown, please! But when you come through the other side of something like that, it kind of changes your opinion on things. It kind of makes you sit back and think right, I need to change something in my life, I need to do something different. And that really sort of helped to sort of put things in order for me. My circumstances in my life just put me in this position and thank god they did you know. But I would say to anyone out there that's thinking of changing their career at a later stage - if you're really unhappy with what you're doing, at the end of the day, it is about career, of course it is, but it's about your self content and how you feel inside. Every day you wake up and you've got that sense of dread in the bottom of your stomach - 'Oh God I've got to deal with these people, I've got to to deal with these issues.' That is no way to live your life. You get one crack at it and feeling like that every day - it's horrendous. So just take the plunge and do it. You'll cope. If you've got less money, it's better to have less money and feel happy than loads of money and really miserable, believe me - because you can't enjoy it anyway!

Jeremy Cline
Completely agree, completely agree. Miles thank you so much for sharing your story with us, it's been absolutely wonderful talking to you.

Miles Chapman
Thanks for having me on Jeremy, its been brilliant. Thank you very much.

Jeremy Cline
It's a pleasure. Cheers. Thanks,

Miles Chapman
Bye bye, bye.

Jeremy Cline
Pretty much throughout this entire interview, Miles gave me the impression of someone who quite simply couldn't believe his luck. We did the interview on video and he genuinely spent most of the time grinning from ear to ear. And that's genuinely because he loves what he does. He's recognised just how important it is to him and to everyone that he has contentment in his life over everything else. I was enjoying this interview so much that I actually forgot to ask Miles how you can get in touch with him. You'll find a link in the show notes to Bingo Productions website and all their social media links, as well as all the resources we've mentioned and they're all at changeworklife.com/19. I really enjoyed the interview with Miles and if you did, too, it'd be great if you could leave a review on Apple podcasts. If you go to changeworklife.com/apple that's changeworklife.com/apple that'll take you straight there and you can leave a review there. Next week's interview is with someone else who's also found their vacation. It's going to be a good one. So please subscribe and I can't wait to see you there. Cheers. Bye

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