Fill That Well Up To The Top Please

CollageJust like a car needs to refill its tank (or charge up) from time to time in order to keep going, so do we. We can’t just keep showing up day after day, working, giving and sharing without ever taking the time to do whatever it is that fuels us back up.

For me that fuel turned out to be New York City. I’m not sure why I was surprised, I mean it was the very city where I discovered I was an artist in the first place so many years ago, but from the second I touched down for our New York adventure, until the moments returning home on the plane, I felt like I had pulled in to the universal filling station and now my tank runneth over.

I’m feeling so grateful for every experience we had. Thankful for the impromptu pitch session with our lovely plane seat mate, Nora, who seemed to genuinely enjoy our show.

Thankful for the construction guy we shared a train ride with who entertained us with his stories of growing up in New York.

Thankful to Mhairi’s dear friend Curt James, waiting on the other end of the train, who immediately whisked us away to dinner and then got us to our final destination safely, while making funny new memories along the way. Carrie Bradshaw!!! (a little inside joke)

Thankful to the lovely Anne Flournoy and her husband Mr. Green who shared their beautiful home with us even though they had never even met us in person before (She is a fellow twitter comrade and content creator of The Louise Log) and all the thought provoking conversations we shared around Anne’s breakfast table.

Thankful for the makeup artist who came to our rescue when we realized our Red Carpet event we were heading to was indeed very red carpety. (If you’re in NY and need to look all glowy and beautiful hire Sean!)

Thankful for getting to spend time with my dear friend Tim Rerucha (my co-star in The Sex Trade) and his producing partner Victoria Cheri Bennett (creator of a great new webseries ADULTish) while enjoying a lovely Italian dinner and shop talk, and the realization of how much we had both grown.

Thankful for the guys at BTR Productions for interviewing us for their Artist Profiles Series, sharing their stories and treating us to a yummy lunch.

And of course beyond thankful to Women & Fashion FilmFest for giving us a reason for coming out to NY in the first place. Their festival and conference far exceeded our expectations. Their films and panels were filled with intelligent, compassionate artists, entrepreneurs and humanitarians who truly want to make a difference in the world and in the lives of women.

The WFF gave me the opportunity to chat with folks like the beautiful, self-described science nerd, Maye Musk, about the important work her son and one of my personal heroes, Elon Musk, is doing. To chat with UN Ambassador Henry MacDonald, the spokesman for He for She, about the fact that, with the help of men, we could reach equality in 15 years instead of 81. And the chance to listen to the oh-so-passionate Fashion Editor, Ise White, who reminded us that we are not just here to collaborate, but to inspire and improve one another through our interactions.

And finally I have to say I was even grateful to NYC for the chance to grieve a bit over the latest incomprehensible act of terror in Paris inside the warm embrace of a city that understands all too well the pain of these kinds of atrocities.

I was left with the desire to read more, explore my world more and to be present to all the amazing things you can discover when you simply give yourself the space to pay attention to what is happening in the moment.

Which brings me to…

Industry Tip #31
Take the time to figure out what fuels your best work/best life, and then make sure to carve out time for it in your busy schedule.

And I’m changing it up today and leaving you with one of Mhairi’s Vlogs instead of our typical videos because this one felt apropos.


Time to Shove This Snowball Down The Mountain

Home_1I started this blog with the bold prediction that its followers would essentially be first hand witnesses to Mhairi & I’s story of “How We Went From Youtube to a Television Deal” and now we are at the point in the journey where its time to hunker down into what I’m gonna call Phase 2 in order to make that prediction a reality.

As a recap for anybody new, we started this journey with a great character (Tallulah Grace) and team, built a web series around our character (Feathers and Toast), produced 2 seasons of Feathers and Toast (as well as bonus content), put it all up on Youtube, went deep into social media promotion, went to festivals, won awards, bonded with our fans, learned from our fans, and then used all that we learned as the fuel to expand the concept into a 1/2 hour show. I’ll call that Phase 1.

And now here we are in Phase 2 and what lies ahead is more good ole fashioned hard work. Our battle plan is threefold: 1) continue to tweak our pilot script to make it the best it can possibly be 2) practice our pitch until it is fun, alive and an accurate reflection of the story we are intending to tell and 3) dive deep into research and networking to discover which companies/distribution outlets would be the right fit for us.

Now because I do like to sleep from time to time, Phase 2 is going to require me to make some adjustments. I’ve realized in order to accomplish all I am setting out to do, my social media efforts are going to have to shift to a plan that’s a little more fast and loose.

Rather than 3 official blogs a week, I’ll be doing 1 a week and keeping you posted in between with shorter tweet/instagram style updates, often times from the “field” (for e.g. the festival we will be attending this week). I’m thinking I’ll even start including some quick videos as well so make sure to follow me @hollypayberg for all the fun. Which leads me to…

Industry Tip #30
Staying balanced mentally, physically and spiritually is the key to long term success. Always be prepared to readjust your daily and weekly goals as needed in order to maintain a healthy balance.

And without further ado I leave you with a little holiday Tip from Tallulah.


Join Feathers and Toast at The Women & Fashion FilmFest

WFF15 Flyer Festival 30 Off FINALIn case you haven’t heard, Feathers and Toast, has been given the opportunity to be a part of this years Women & Fashion FilmFest in NYC (and the online portion of their She Webfest) and we couldn’t be more excited to be part of a festival doing so much to support women.

“WFF is founded on the principles of mentorship. We’re gathering leaders to share their knowledge and stories to inspire younger generations. We’re also focused on creating real opportunities for women and diverse artists, and working to open new channels of distribution and promotion,” states WFF Founder Jeanine Jeo-Hi Kim, emphasizing the social responsibility mission of the festival.

Attendees will include such fascinating folks as Ambassador Henry MacDonald (the UN Spokesperson for He for She), Patricia Field (Oscar Nominated Costume Designer Sex in The City), and Maye Musk (Supermodel, Nutritionist and Mother of Elon Musk)

Needless to say we are packing the hats and are ready to do some serious mingling, so if you’re in the New York area, we would love to see you! Here’s our itinerary so far:

Thursday November 12th
6:00 – 8:00 pm Red Carpet Benefit (Seaport Studio 19 Fulton Street, downtown NYC)

Friday November 13th
6:50 pm Panel on Art & Commerce: Finding Balance (Seaport Studio 19 Fulton Street, downtown NYC)

Saturday November 14th
12:00 pm – 9:30 pm – We will be in and out of panels and screenings all day (Symphony Space – Thalia Theatre 2537 Broadway at 95th)
9:55 pm Screening of Velvet Karma (a film I Edited and Associate Produced)
11:30 pm Live Taping of SNL

Oh alright I just made up that part up about the live taping of SNL, but it looks good on our schedule doesn’t it? If any of you New Yorker’s with connections to Lorne want to hook us up we have made room on our schedule and are happy to arrive in style.

Which leads me to…

Industry Tip # 29
If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

So we’re asking, wouldn’t it be funny if we got? In honor of that possibility I leave you with a past open letter from Tallulah to Lorne Michaels where she was offering to help him out with his challenge when he was be accused of lack of diversity. :)

We hope to see you at the Festival!!!


A Word About Fashion From The Girl Who Wears Flip Flops

Meme_S2E4_1Admittedly, what I know about fashion is not much. In fact, up until about 2 years ago, I sort of saw it as a nuisance. I was the girl who secretly envied Einstein for his choice to not deal with it by purchasing 5 of the exact same suits and essentially wearing the same thing every day. I was “busy” and if I’m really really honest, didn’t see the point in spending so much time on a pursuit I saw as shallow and meaningless.

But yet here we are, 2 years later, and I am about to leave for New York to attend the Women & Fashion FilmFest and She Webfest where, not one, but, two of the projects I’m involved with (Feathers and Toast & Velvet Karma) are being honored. And yes, you heard me correctly, its the Women & Fashion FilmFest. LOL.

How did that happen? Why did they let me, the imposter, in? Well, it all started with the influence of two very lovely ladies.

First there was our own Mhairi Morrison, who, through Tallulah, showed me repeatedly by example that fashion has the power to lift the spirits of not only yourself, but those around you. I have been a first hand witness to the countless joy that has been shared with perfect strangers simply because Mhairi is willing to take the time to pick out and then wear so many beautiful and bold hats.

And then second, I had the opportunity this past year to work closely with my dear friend, jewelry designer Tarina Tarantino. After witnessing the love and creativity Tarina puts into every piece she creates, my view on fashion changed forever.

Not only does Tarina care deeply about what she creates, she also cares about where she gets her materials (she opts to purchase top quality materials from local vendors), cares about her employees (who work directly with her at the Sparkle Factory), and most especially she cares about her customers, whom she genuinely wants to help feel beautiful by offering them a myriad of unique, and eye catching ways to express themselves.

Through Mhairi and Tarina I have learned that fashion can be fun, creative, conscious, giving and inspiring. I now understand that designers and fashion enthusiasts are fellow creatives like me, who are constantly looking for unique ways to express themselves and make the world a more inspiring place. And I have learned that my purchases are far more powerful than I had ever imagined, that where I put my money is essentially placing my vote towards which designers, corporations and practices I want to support. Shallow and meaningless? Not by a long shot.

Don’t get me wrong, I still walk into stores and panic, feeling a bit clueless about where to even begin. So many years of neglect do not get remedied over night. But I would classify myself now, as a student, eager and willing to learn about this thing called Fashion. I might even let go of a few of my flip flops. (But don’t tell Tallulah :) )

Which leads me to…

Industry Tip #28

Always be open to learning new things. Inspiration can come from the places you’d least suspect.

In the next blog I will share more about some of our itinerary for our trip to NYC (Nov 12th – 14th) including which panels and screenings we will be attending at the Women & Fashion Film Fest, in case of any of you want to join us. We would love to see you there.

And without further ado, for your viewing pleasure, here’s a #TBT Tallulah Talks Back episode where Tallulah warns our viewers that she doesn’t want any of them wearing crocs while watching our show.


Stop What You’re Doing and Eat a Sandwich

Meme_S1E6_9Alright so I was going to write to you today about how excited Mhairi and I are for our upcoming trip to the Big Apple, but as it turns out that is going to have to wait because it’s National Sandwich Day people!!!

This day is our opportunity to show our support and wrap a proverbial hug around all our sandwich loving friends and those who make the sandwiches for them. These are the people who will help us in our mission to “Save The World One Sandwich at a Time” and we simply can not just gloss by that.

Not after all the effort Tallulah has put in to helping people prepare themselves a proper sandwich and look good while doing it. I mean, look at all the sandwiches she has shared with us. There was the good ole PB & J with neon, the travel Pita with a pencil skirt, the left handed banana sandwich with a side of gloating, the Ham Sandwich thwarted by a Can Can dancer, and who could forget the classic Tomato Soup Sandwich in the style of melodrama (she researched that).

No darling, Tallulah would want us to stop whatever we were doing, pop open the champagne and take the proper time to offer up a toast to all the well dressed, peace spreading, sandwich lovers everywhere! And so that is what we are doing. To all you glorious sandwich makers and eaters across the country, we salute you! Happy #NationalSandwichDay

Which leads me to…

Industry Tip #27

In the social media game, if you can find an organic way to jump in on what is trending, then do it. Trends come and go quick, and if you don’t make a few quick adjustments once in awhile, you’re gonna miss out.

So now we have to ask: what sandwich will you be eating today? And what outfit will you be wearing while eating it?

And without further ado, in honor of #NationalSandwichDay we leave you with the Classic Tomato Soup Sandwich in the style of Melodrama.


This Gifs For You, Kid

Happy HalloweenIt seems emoticons and gifs, and gifs acting as emoticons, are all the rage these days so Mhairi and I decided, why not get in on the action? Sounds like fun right?

 

 

 

 

Espresso dance

 

 

We toasted to the whole brilliant idea, giving ourselves verbal high fives and then I was off and running.

 

 

Laughing2

 

 

Figured I’d just whip a few of them out that afternoon and be off to the rest of my to do list. How hard could it be right?

 

 

Swimming

 

Yeah it was kinda hard. The next thing I knew I was literally swimming in choices on the web of different ways to go about making an animated gif using video.

 

 

 

 

Chicken

 

I was definitely not the eagle, more like a chicken with my head cut off, as I jumped back and forth from one tutorial to the other. Some apps had audio, some had the ability for captions, some you could only use via a social media site. None had everything.

 

 

Shocked

 

For a moment there I was shocked. Nothing seemed to be the exact tool that I wanted. Can I really not figure this out. A whole day and 1/2 was chewed up and I still didn’t have the results I wanted.

 

 

 

 

ughhh copy

I got down right pissed when I realized that, even though there were plenty of apps that made it is easy to make gifs (like Make a Gif – which allows you to create gifs straight from your youtube videos) the only way to accomplish what I really wanted (which was to brand these gifs in a certain way) I was gonna have to go back to the drawing board and make them myself in premiere.

 

 

 

Melodrama

 

This was gonna take so much longer than I had planned on. Why me?

 

 

 

 

 

Elevator
But I got over it. Decided to just dive on in there and do it.

 

 

 

 

 

Bow of course

 

 

And the next thing you know I couldn’t stop myself. I had a treasure trove of new gifs to share. It was totally worth the effort as it was gonna be so much fun!

 

 

Which leads me to…

Industry Tip #26
Branded, shareable gifs are a win win in the game of promotion because they offer a fun way for your fans to express themselves, while still promoting yourself as well.

And without further ado, I leave with the good news that all these gifs are yours to use as you wish. If you want to tweet them or upload them to a blog, all you have to do is click on them individually, and then right click on them to save as to your computer, then you upload them whenever and where ever you want.

Or if you want to use them on facebook then simply click on the one you want and then copy the url that appears above on your browser window, then paste the URL into your FB post and you got it.

 

 

Thanks_Darling
We can’t wait to see the gifs spread out into the world. Happy sharing!

 

 

 

 

 

Excuse me

 

Although next time I might make Mhairi do it on her own.

 

 
Melodrama cat shortWith a cat. :)


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? ;)

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.


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.