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Day in the Life: Motion Sickness' Sam Stuchbury

Sam Stuchbury is the founder and creative director of Motion Sickness, a creative agency and production company. Here's how he gets through the day, how he organises his time and how he handles the madness of business.

What time do you wake up?

Usually around 7:30 to 8am, but if I’m on shoot we usually always shoot sunrise so that means getting up around 5am. I see a lot of this ‘wake up at 4am like a navy seal’ carry on around at the moment. I mean fair play to yah if you can do it, but it’s not for me.

What’s the ideal way to start your day?

Favourite start to the day at the moment is to wake up around 7:30am, a quick run around Auckland Domain, then smash a few emails at home over breakfast before heading into the office. Makes you feel ahead of the game ya know, before getting into work.

Do you have any morning rituals?

I usually crank music in the morning on my home Sonos. I have a bit of a weird music taste, I like a lot of old stuff like Frank Sinatra.

How soon do you begin doing work-related things, i.e. checking phone or emails?

I am pretty bad trying to cut down on the old device usage. I check emails as soon as I wake up on my phone in bed. And also before I go to sleep. I have been ditching the phone over weekends which has helped cut back.

What’s your media consumption or interaction like from the morning onwards – do you listen to podcasts, radio, watch videos, read books and magazines, visit new sites?

I consume a lot of ‘media’ during the day and the evening. I follow a lot of brands on Instagram, read a lot of blogs, listen to podcasts and also watch a lot of vloggers and filmmakers. I think it’s a part of my job as creative director/agency head to have the finger on the pulse as to what everyone else is doing in marketing and content. Not always for inspiration, but more so that I know what people are seeing a lot of, so maybe it can inform what we can do to stand out for our brands. Don’t read so many paperbacks these days.

What kind of work do you do?

I creative direct pretty much all of our campaign work and I also direct all of our video work. I guess the other aspect is being unofficial ‘agency head’, so I steer the ship and make a lot of our business decisions.

What’s unique about your line of work?

I think as an agency we work in a really unique space. We kind of bridge the gap, and work at the intersection of production, creative strategy and campaign execution (primarily social media campaigns). There aren't a huge amount of companies in New Zealand or globally that really nail that space, so we’re excited about the niche.

What responsibility does that involve in a typical day? What takes up most of your time?

Creative direction on multiple projects takes up most of my time, what that actually means can vary. I’m pretty hands on, so my day to day changes a lot depending on what needs to be done. It might be sitting down with Jolin (our editor) and refining a video project, or it might be working on a strategy deck with the team to propose a new campaign idea to a client – we seem to be doing a lot strategy and new creative concepts for campaigns at the moment. Also about ⅓ of my time is out of the office directing on shoot.

Who do you see/talk to?

We work pretty collaboratively, so I work alongside our full time team of eight, and we have three to four casual staff that we pull on for certain projects. So day to day in the bullpen we’re all chatting and collaborating. I also have a fair bit of face time with clients as well, who are all pretty cool to work with. We work with a lot of ‘real people’ on shoot for talent too (not actors), and it’s always good to have a yarn to them and find out a little about their lives.

Where do your best ideas come from?

I seem to get most of my creative ideas when I am driving to be honest. Usually when I am not trying too hard to come up with something, it just kinda happens.

What are the most important tools or programmes you use for your work?

We are all addicted to Slack for internal (and some client) comms. Literally slacking Jordan (my associate creative director) who sits next to me sometimes. We should try reign it in actually. In terms of creative tools, we use Adobe suite – Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Illustrator.

What’s the most enjoyable part of your day?

Probably just working with the team on stuff. I think we have a really good vibe in the office, so it’s cool to be working with people I actually get along with. I also really enjoy getting out on shoot. I love the outdoors, so getting out and about shooting footage is pretty fun.

What about the least enjoyable?

I am pretty bad at admin, so simple administrative tasks really bug me. Alex and Hilary, my business partners, are weapons with that stuff, so luckily they handle a lot of it.

What’s your interaction with friends and family throughout the day? Can you be both a successful entrepreneur and a good mother/partner/friend?

Yeah... I have a fairly unique take on that as the other others of the business are Alex (one of my best mates) and Hilary (my long time partner). I have found we all click really well and are pretty good at separating work life and life life. I think it took us a while to get the balance right and ‘switch-off’.

I think for myself and Hilary, it's kind of nice. We both know what each other is going through at work so we understand each other's pressures a lot better. We also don't feel the need to re-run our day at work when we get home, so that's nice. Doesn’t  work for everyone, but works for us.

I would probably say my relationships with my wider circle of mates have probably suffered over the years, being so busy with work, but now that we have found our feet I am trying to free up more time for mates. Just a part of starting your own business I guess.

Do you get stressed? If so, how do you manage it? Do you practice any mindfulness or meditation?

I definitely have stressful moments. I feel like I’m a pretty resilient person but for sure have stressful patches. The two ways I de-stress is first to exercise (it’s a cliche but it really works) and also getting away for the weekend in nature, it always refreshes me.

The last thing that I do is take notes. The notes on my phone are the scribbles of madman. If I am stressed I tend to just write stuff down in my phone and it allows me to get the stuff out of my head.

What do you do once you get home? Can you switch off?

Strangely I shower every day literally as soon as I get in the door. It kind washes the day away, then I can do my own thing.

What time do you go to sleep?

Varies but not that late, probably on average 11ish. I like my sleep, it's good for you.

Hummingbird keeps the world – and great individuals like Sam – humming.

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