Gary Russell has done a bit of everything in media, from acting when he was young to writing fanzines to writing for Doctor Who Magazine to working for the BBC to co-founding Big Finish Productions, which produces a variety of audio dramas for various TV series including Doctor Who, The Prisoner, Dark Shadows, and more. Gary and I talk about his journey from one opportunity to the next as a “professional fan,” including how he’s made the decision both to take and to leave various positions, why he’s always run his life on instinct, and why he thinks it’s absolutely vital to be able to admit when you don’t know what you’re doing (even when it means baptism by fire), the value of freelancing—why he wouldn’t have it any other way—and a lot more. I really think you’ll get a lot out of my conversation with Gary Russell, even if you’ve never seen an episode of Doctor Who.
00:00 Early desire to be a stuntman leads to acting classes/jobs.
08:56 Other kids at school unimpressed by acting jobsl.
11:35 Switching out of acting.
20:34 People are conditioned not to admit ignorance.
26:28 Recognizing natural endings and embracing them rather than holding on too long.
29:40 Facing uncertainty.
33:30 Embrace new experiences, live a fulfilling life.
36:12 Doctor Who fanzines/freelancing lead to running Doctor Who Magazine.
46:23 Input from others shaped Gary’s core philosophy.
50:14 Warriors of the Deep: Script is good, but the execution is fatally flawed.
58:15 Ignore negativity, focus on what’s important.
01:04:28 The birth of Big Finish Productions.
01:14:32 Moving to the BBC to work on Doctor Who.
01:23:37 Pension provides security, but Gary Russell will never stop working.
01:27:24 Advice for anyone interested in freelancing.
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