MF 129 : Mark Moran on Creating Better Content Through Your “Life GPS”
Mark Moran is a content creator and composer at Breadwin Productions, LLC. He’s also produced, written and directed series for the web. Today, Mark will share how your “life GPS” can help you create better content.
Successes at a glance:
Creator, composer at Breadwin Productions, LLC
Specializing in reality series for the web
Former aerospace engineer
Production Assistant, later Unit Production Manager on ‘Star Trek: World Enough and Time‘
Setback failure or time when things fell apart:
As you’ll discover below, Mark has had a really unusual and varied career journey, filled with the kind of twists and turns you might find in a novel. And with his journey, came a big crisis. Mark had a problem with his kidneys that put him in the hospital. The problem was so severe that for a time it looked like he might need a kidney transplant. Things looked pretty dire and this was a moment that could break or help define Mark’s future.
The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:
Like many of our guests, Mark has had a varied and winding career. He started out a steam line inspector between high school and college; at a plant where they manufactured nitroglycerin for the military. Afterward, he studied aerospace engineering at Virginia Tech and later became an assistant editor to Engineer’s Forum Magazine, a publication for alumni, where he penned several science fiction serials. Although his path as a content creator wasn’t yet defined, Mark definitely had a talent and drive to create stories. Following college, Mark worked with flight test engineers and test pilots for the Navy. Mark then worked as a subcontractor for Wyle Labs at Grumman; working on the space station, Freedom (later dubbed the “International Space Station”). However, due to budget cuts, Mark was one of 600 people that got laid off.
Despite having loved his job, Mark had no choice but to move on. Inspired by his mom who was a nurse, Mark got a masters degree in bio statistics, which is the statistics of healthcare. Mark then took another pivot to work for the US Census Bureau, where he specialized in record linking and data. Interestingly, this ties into a project that Mark is currently working on related to William Shakespeare!
So how does this all tie into Mark’s creative side? Clearly, his education in science ties into his love of science fiction but Mark has always had an interest in the arts. As a kid, Mark took guitar lessons after his brother unceremoniously “chickened out.” Mark was inspired by the Beatles to write his own music, composing throughout his college years up to the present. Later, Mark leveraged his statistics background and experience to work at the census bureau; teaching individuals in the entertainment industry about the power of statistics thru science fiction analogies. This caught the attention of writer, producer, Mark Zicree, who invited Mark to be a production assistant on ‘Star Trek: World Enough and Time.’
So what was Mark’s big “aha moment?” Getting back to the time when he was in the hospital, Mark had been unconscious for a while. When he finally woke up, he saw was a crucifix on the wall. It was then that Mark thought of Jesus, who had died on the cross and “went thru something far worse” than what he was experiencing. What Mark took away from that moment was that here was someone who applied his suffering to a cause. To Mark, this was a big revelation: that trials and tribulations can be used to affect positive change, as a force for good. After Mark got out of the hospital, he had a better appreciation for life and all of his gifts and talents. Mark took this as a learning opportunity that he could draw upon to inspire his content creation. Following his work on ‘Star Trek: World Enough and Time,‘ Mark founded his own production company, Breadwin Productions, LLC, with the motto “badass edgy.” Mark explains this motto as the “GPS of life,” using tradition to build up and inspire good. Moving Forward listeners, creating content is about inspiration. For Mark, his difficult periods, from surviving a layoff to a health crisis, have all been part of his source for creating content. It drives him and gives him purpose. Moreover, it allows him to better connect with those who are part of his content; their experiences and difficult times. What are ways you can take some of the difficulties in your life to create content that inspires and moves forward?
Resource or cultural experience that inspired Mark to move forward:
The works of William Shakespeare: for Mark, Shakespeare embodies the art of bringing up taboo subjects in subtle ways through fiction and the written word. Much like Star Trek, fiction provides a medium to talk about controversial topics while avoiding the ire of censors.
Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
LinkedIn: for networking and forging great connections.
How Mark recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
As Mark shares, he doesn’t get writer’s block but the opposite, which he colorfully calls “writer’s diarrhea!” To curb this, Mark goes back to the basics by asking himself a simple question: “what is the point of what you’re doing” and why you’re doing it in the first place. Understand the “why” and your “how” becomes a lot easier.
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Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:
Mark chooses to go back to a very difficult time in his youth. Mark was molested at a young age and at the time, which contained a lot of confusion and doubt, he felt like an active participant. Looking back, he would tell his younger self that it’s not his fault, that he was not a participant but a victim. He would also advise his younger self that “what you do now will affect your entire life.”
Parting wisdom (in a few words):
“Be badass edgy!”