How to Meme Your Way To Success: Halloween Edition

Meme_3_SquareI honestly can not stress enough the importance of having a great Photographer on your team.

As independent content creators fighting your way to be seen amidst an overcrowded marketplace of amazing talent, sometimes an image is the only shot you’ve got at getting your potential audiences attention, so that image better be good. And if its share worthy, you’re in business.

Luckily for us we have the amazing Katie Nolan on our team. As often is the case with us, Katie walked right into our lives at the exact moment we needed her. Fresh from Australia she became the photographer behind images I truly believe will become iconic collector’s items someday. I realize I may be biased, but these images genuinely blow me away and I feel fortunate every time I get to post them.

While I am gushing on Katie, I just have to say, not only is she an amazing photographer, but she also understands the unique needs of independent web content creators, and has an eye for both set and graphic design. She was instrumental in helping us create all the collateral we have needed over time from Memes, to Movie posters, to social media headers and even greeting cards. I guess what I’m saying is, if you have a budget and need a stills photographer who gets it, hire Katie. Her work is the gift that keeps on giving.

We started working with Katie right around this time 2 years ago when Mhairi and I had decided that Tallulah really should do a series sharing her Top 10 Tidbits of advice for getting through the Holiday Season. I mean, who can get through the holidays without the help of Tallulah, right? ūüėČ

Anyway, Katie was amazing. She came in and helped us transform the infamous kitchen multiple times over to reflect all the holidays of the season and then tirelessly weeded through the bounty of images we got, and turned them into the Memes and greeting cards we will be sharing with you again over the next couple months. (as well as all the photos we have ever shared with you.)

And this leads me to…

Industry Tip #25

Often times you only have a literal second to grab a potential audience members attention, therefore share worthy Memes are a necessity for independent content creators, and to pull them off properly you are going to need an excellent photographer.

And now, in honor of Halloween, I give you a one minute tip from Tallulah on how to carve a pumpkin. Happy Halloween everybody. We love you!!

We are Back To The Future Too

Panel 1About 2 months ago we started these weekly Blogs/Vlogs for the purpose of sharing with our fans the Behind The Scenes world of Feathers and Toast.

We had this knowing feeling brewing in our bones that it was time, that we were now on a collision course with our destiny of Feathers and Toast expanding into a half hour show, and we thought, the only thing that could make success sweeter was if we took you with us, so that’s what we did.

We backed up to 2 1/2 years ago when the journey began, and started sharing everything that had happened along the way and it has turned out just like we hoped. You know us better, we know you better, and we do in fact feel like we are not alone, that any victory we have from this point forward, will be a victory shared by you as well. Yay!

So here we are. All caught up. And from this point forward I will be sharing our good news in real time, “Breaking Feathers and Toast news” (as well as continuing on with industry tips, and highlights of what all our favorite peeps are up to – as mentioned in yesterday’s blog.)

So here’s the good news. Feathers and Toast had an amazing week at Digital Hollywood last week. For those that don’t know, Digital Hollywood is a really cool bi-annual conference created by Victor Harwood, where those working all sides of the digital realm (from techies, execs, marketers to content creators) all get together to share and discuss what’s next and how to succeed in what is often referred to as The Wild West of entertainment.

Mhairi and I have been going there for years, starting as hopefuls still trying to get the lay of the land, to seasoned digital content creators, to finally speakers sharing what we’ve learned with others.

This time around we were asked to lead a workshop sponsored by Women In Film and moderated by Karene Jullien. Well, part of a workshop. It was a 3 parter and we were asked to lead the first portion which would be “How to Develop your Idea”. The second 2 parts were, “How to Gain Traction” and “The Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching” and they were each lead by an impressive line up of execs (from companies like Yahoo, New Form Digital, Comedy Central International etc.)

Needless to say we were feeling pretty blessed, and maybe just a tiny bit nervous, to be paired up with these powerhouse ladies, but our nerves were eased the second we decided to focus on being an inspiration, rather than who might be listening and what we might get from this opportunity.

We were told it would be an intimate group, so we were picturing about 8 women around a conference table, but when we got there we actually had to fight our way into the room. It was packed, standing room only. Mhairi and I were stunned. We quickly gained our bearings as we focused again on being a contribution to all the shining faces now staring at us and it turned out to be a rousing success.

Several people mentioned it was the best panel they’d been to at Digital Hollywood, there were requests for Women In Film to do more of this, and we ended up making some amazing new friends and fans, including some of the execs.

We both left with the feeling of “this is how it’s suppose to be.” You give from your heart, you make friends and then opportunity expands from there. We don’t know who our future partners are supposed to be, who will help take our show to the next level, but we do know it should be rooted in a spirit of friendship and understanding, and we feel last week was a giant leap closer to that.

Which leads me to…

Industry Tip #24

It really is all about relationships. Conceiving, developing and birthing a creative baby is best done with people with whom you share a mutual respect and likeminded goals. Your networking energy is best spent genuinely trying to find your people, rather than superficially searching for who you think can get you what you want at the moment.

Thanks to one of our participants in the workshop (Christine Marie K), there is actually video of at least 1/2 of the workshop. So without further ado, here we are, in all our glory, sharing what we’ve learned from the heart.

Our Fans Are The Coolest People on The Planet

Meme_Feb_2The industry is always banging around with that term “what’s your demographic?” They want to know an age range, but our fans can’t be constricted by an age range. What unites our fans is not a particular decade (we have serious fans ranging in age from 12 to 91), or even a particular ethnicity/sex/etc, our fans are united by a shared zest for life, a certain jeux de vie.

Our fans tend to be smart, funny, generous people who look at life and say, “why not add a little bit of play?” People who find it perfectly normal to dance while you’re cooking, to share witty banter with perfect strangers, to actually wear that crazy hat they’ve had sitting in their closet just because its fun. In a black and white world, they are going to add some color, because they know life isn’t meant to be just lived, it’s meant to be enjoyed! Our fans are people who never ever take themselves too seriously, but take fun very seriously.

Which brings me to…

Industry Tip #23

Your fans are your greatest resource. Treat them like the precious gems that they are.

So as we come to the end of this phase of our journey (don’t worry, we are starting a new one) we want to take some time to thank our beautiful, lovely fans. You people are amazing!!! We are continuously blown away by your generosity, support and willingness to play.

Throughout this journey, there has been very little time for us to get down, because every time we might have, you always lifted us right back up.

You have played with us on Twitter. Shared our content with your friends and family. Taken your time to give us heartfelt feedback. Sent us presents! (Diamond encrusted potato mashers, gorgeous hats). You have flown half way around the world to see us. And even offered up your homes to us when we travel. What could be better than that?

Which is why, as we move forward on this journey, Mhairi and I have decided its gonna be all about you. Yes, I will continue to share industry tips, inspirations and breaking news in regards to our journey to a TV deal, but starting now, we will also be sharing all the wonderful things that you are up to, so don’t be surprised if you click on this blog one day only to discover that the whole post is dedicated to you. Thank you for being wonderful you!

And now, without further ado, the final episode of Season 2. The one where Tallulah falls in love with her twitter fans.

Sometimes Its Good To Eat a Little Humble Pie, with a Poached Egg

Meme_S2E7_1Sometimes as artists, we can get so consumed by the difficulty of our chosen path, so deep in the pain of just wanting to get our work out into the world the way we want it, that we forget that the executives are not just some crazy gate keeper trolls wielding their judgements and standing in the way of our ultimate success, but rather are just people, with their own expertise to share, difficulties to face and goals to achieve.

It’s kind of like that phenomena that occurs between parents of young children, where each is working so hard in their own way and is so exhausted, that all they can see is what the other is not doing. They get caught up in the never ending spin cycle of trying to prove who is doing the “most”, or whose contribution is more important, instead of what is really needed, which is to turn to each other and just say “hey, I know this is hard, but you’re doing a great job.”

Which leads me to…

Industry Tip #22

Give an entertainment exec a hug. I’m kidding. You might frighten them. You weird creatives running around giving everyone a hug. The real tip is to make friends with the executives. Get to know them. Take an interest in their goals, hopes, dreams, concerns. Familiarize yourself with the challenges they face and be the solution. Make it fun. Be willing to learn something.

The age old battle between art and commerce doesn’t have to be a battle. We are creatives. If we’re doing our job right we should be able to create the art we want while still considering the legitimate concerns of commerce. If we can’t do it, then maybe its just not the right fit is all.

So without further ado, I leave you with Episode 7 of Season 2. The one where Tallulah starts to realize maybe Holster and her ideas weren’t so bad after all, and that maybe its time to eat a little humble pie and woo her back.

How to Be a Left Handed Person in a Right Handed World

Meme_S1E6_3Art really does just imitate life sometimes.

For the first time since I started writing this blog, I have no idea what to say.

I’ve been over here hemming and hawing, waiting until the last second, avoiding the task completely, and its not because I don’t have anything to express, to the contrary, I feel like a shaken up bottled soda with the cap still on, ready to explode, I¬†just have no way to get it out.

In that magical way that art and life intersect sometimes, I feel like I am experiencing the doubt and subsequent insights Holster would be experiencing at this particular moment in our story.

Here Holster is,¬†constantly pushing Tallulah in the direction of what she feels will be the answer to getting her more ratings, trying to be infinitely more clever in her marketing ploys, trying harder and harder to give the audience what she perceives they want, but what if she’s wrong? What if its true what Tallulah says, that all she really needs to do is be her authentic self and that that will eventually lead to the success they both desire? What if trust, patience and the courage to be one’s unique self is all that is required?

Being an artist can sometimes feel like being a left handed person in a right handed world. You know you don’t fit in but there’s still the pull to try, especially in situations where you are surrounded by the right handed people. You try to fit yourself into their box, do as you think they would want you to do, be as you think they would want you to be, as if that is the road to any kind of success. But what if you being your left handed self is really all those right handed people really want?

Anyway, these are the thoughts rolling around in my mind this morning as I contemplate spending the day in, what is for me, the right handed world. I intend to do something different today. I intend to draw from the continuous inspiration that is Tallulah Grace, a woman who doesn’t fit in this world at all and clearly isn’t bothered by it. Wish me luck.

Which leads me to…

Industry Tip #21

Have the courage to be your authentic self. It’s the most original idea you’ve got.

And without further ado, enjoy Episode 6 of Season 2


The Funniest Cat Video In The History of Ever

BusterCan I just tell you how disheartening it is to spend the whole of your adult life honing your skills, perfecting your craft, then spending countless hours creating, writing and producing content for Youtube to the best of your entertaining abilities, only to be shown up by a cat? Lots of cats. Kittens even?

I mean, come on!!! Take that one little Black kitten with the white paws, how long has he even been alive? 8 weeks? And all he had to do was throw his cute little paws up in the air each time his owner quit tickling him and you people swoon. At least make him work for it a little bit. He didn’t even have to get up out of bed and boom! You’re giving him million of views.

He doesn’t appreciate it. He just goes on his merry little way never even acknowledging his millions of Facebook fans. He is completely unconcerned with the coveted gift of going viral you have bestowed upon him. I’d become his manager and embezzle all his ad dollars to get back at him but he wouldn’t care about that either.

Yes its a sad reality we content creators will have to face: the fact that in the ratings game of life we are simply no match for the, always entertaining, but eternally ungrateful, house cat.

Which is why in our game of one up-man-ship in Season 2, the one where Holster keeps torturing Tallulah with more and more co-hosts who she claims she has hired because they are trending, she can’t help but bring in the sure fire ratings maker, the almighty cat. Tallulah had asked for just one episode that she could do in the style that she wished the show to be, but Holster just couldn’t do it. She had to “cheapen it all with a cat”

Which brings me to…

Industry Tip #20
If you can’t beat em, join em.

And now, without further ado I bring you Episode 5 of Season 2. I’m not sure what I love most about this episode, the fact that Mhairi actually did do research about the tomato soup sandwich, the fact that both my daughter and my cat attempt to steal the show, the fact that yet again Mhairi challenged me to create/edit something I never would have created on my own but sincerely love (meaning that whole b & w segment,) or the barrage of epic insults Tallulah hurls at Holster, all I know is we packed a lot into this 5 minutes of fun and it ended up doing quite well for us on the Festival circuit.

Who Wants To See a Half Naked Girl In the Kitchen?

Shot05-014AThis episode still makes me laugh the most out of all of them (thus far) and its largely because of Tallulah’s extreme reaction to it. I have never seen her get so flustered. (And yes, I am talking about Tallulah here, not Mhairi)

The funny thing about the creative process is that, just like you, the audience, we, as creators, are also still getting to know our own characters every step of the way. Sometimes you really don’t know how a character is going to behave in a certain situation, until you put them in it.

You develop the character well, give them a problem, and then do your best to get out of the way, so that your character can tell you exactly how they feel about this particular situation, and that is exactly what happened in this episode, to hilarious effect.

Mhairi and I knew that bringing Gigi (the Can Can girl, brilliantly played by our dear friend Charlotte, who actually is an authentic French Can Can girl) into the situation would likely bring out Tallulah’s jealous streak, but I don’t think either of us really expected this strong of a reaction.

From the moment I called action and Gigi entered from stage right Tallulah had an almost visceral reaction to her being there, she actually turned red at one point, often clutching her pearls as if they were safety rails on a train, as if her very life depended on getting this woman off her “stage”. She was not having it and it was hilarious.

Tallulah really just took over, but it was perfect, because¬†I believe, in that moment, Tallulah perfectly¬†embodied¬†that primal fear so many of us women share. The fear of “what if all the things I do to better myself, to be smart, talented, kind, giving and wise, what if none of that really matters? What if the only real value we have in this world is¬†how¬†good we look naked? And p.s. there’s already¬†a million younger girls out there who look¬†better naked.”

It’s easy for women to get locked into that fear, because, if we are looking for it, we can easily find societal¬†evidence of it¬†everywhere¬†(case in point, this and our twerking episode still have the largest views to this day, so we could read all sorts of things into that) and next thing you know we are obsessed with getting older, worrying about skin creams, tummy tucks and gray hairs, as if taking care of these things will somehow increase our value.

But honestly, I’ve always believed we can find evidence of whatever we are looking for, everywhere, and therefore, in times of fear, its best to back up and remind ourselves that we are the ones that¬†get to decide what makes us valuable. We get to decide what determines our worth. We get to rest in the knowing that we are the sum of ALL our magnificent parts.

And when we take the time to honor, appreciate and really know in our hearts what’s valuable about ourselves, then we can come to a place where Holster’s response to Tallulah’s question “who wants to see this?” “Everyone” is absolutely¬†true. Because like¬†an exquisite piece of art, who doesn’t like to look at a¬†half naked pretty girl once in a while? They make us smile.

Which brings me to….

Industry Tip #19

When navigating such tricky intersections as art and commerce, allow yourself to dance on the edge of what’s comfortable a little bit. That’s what art is for: to challenge us, to help us find that line. There is no growth in playing it safe.

So without further ado here is Episode 4 of Season 2 where we find Tallulah hanging on to her baguette for dear life, while simultaneously helping us laugh through all our fears.