It Starts With a Solid Idea and a Great Team

Meme season 1 ep 1 #4In the early days Mhairi and I were just two friends with similar dreams who met at a Women In Film breakfast and started a goal group for two. We would get together every Monday evening, discuss what we learned from the previous week, share our goals for the next and then wax philosophic about things like the importance of a performer not waiting around for someone else to give them that career-changing role and what success really means.

Both of us had had “success” in the past, with some impressive credits to prove it, but had not necessarily been happy in the process. Upon further exploration we realized that for us, the entire reason we were drawn to this business in the first place was because each of us had had moments in our past where we got the chance to feel what its like to be a part of an amazing creative community, to feel the incredible warmth, passion and intimacy that comes when you are working with a community of great artists who know how to put their egos aside and work together to create something better than they could have created on their own. We craved that feeling, so much so that we realized having it was our definition of success and we committed to each other that night that one way or another we were going to create it.

At the same time we were having these discussions, Mhairi met a man who would become our Feathers and Toast guardian angel, Gideon of Paramount. (haha – I couldn’t resist Gideon, just love the way that sounds) Anyway Gideon had come to see Mhairi’s stand up and afterwards suggested that maybe she choose one of her characters and build a show around it (as so many comedians have done before – Seinfeld, Ray Romano etc). Well this just sent Mhairi’s imagination a flying and later she shared with me an idea for a character she had percolating called Tallulah Grace.

Tallulah fancied herself the savior of the lonely cook, encouraging single women to dress up and play in the kitchen even if they were just cooking for themselves, especially if they were cooking for themselves, but what Tallulah would never want to admit to anyone was that she was that lonely cook.

I fell in love with Tallulah immediately and, me being me, suggested that Mhairi not just put together a pitch but rather that she go ahead and shoot something so that the powers that be could see her as that character.

We talked at length about what she could shoot that would show off the potential arc of this character but would still be cost effective and high quality and, as has been the case since the beginning of this project, help started jumping on board.

Before we knew it we had a Director (Mhairi’s very talented friend Barbara Stepansky), a Make up artist (Lygia Orta), a kitchen (mine) and a Cinematographer (my lovely husband Diego Torroija – who would inadvertently become “the Diego” even though he is truly a camera guy and not an actor) and the next thing you know the plan was put in place for what eventually would become the first season of the web series Feathers and Toast (although we did not know that at the time.)

Industry Tip #1
Do not wait for someone to come along and create the perfect opportunity for you to show your unique brand of talent or you may die waiting. If you have a story inside you that you are inspired to tell or a character you were born to play, then do what you have to do to make it a reality based on whatever resources you have at your disposal. If you don’t have much then keep your idea small for now, or shoot the piece of the idea you can afford and still do well. Enroll your friends, borrow equipment, make it happen. In this business if you want people to believe in your story or see you as a certain type of character you are going to have to show them, especially if its unique and original as those are ultimately the most memorable but initially the most difficult to sell.

Next post will talk about the importance of loving your editor, but in the meantime here’s a memory of the humble beginnings of Tallulah Grace.

13 thoughts on “It Starts With a Solid Idea and a Great Team

  1. Lovely, wise words. Huge congrats on following your own paths and creating something wonderful. Wishing you continued success. Best, Jeremy

    • Thanks darling. So much appreciate you watching and reading. Wishing you too very much success with all your plays. Looking forward for when you go on the world tour and that Hollywood will feature as your first stop. X

  2. This is an exceptional blog for many reasons. 1.) It gives us the backstory on how Feathers and Toast came to be. 2.) It talks to all the right reasons for team work with a group of creatives coming together to make something very specials and truly entertaining. 3.) it gives very good industry advice to creatives to show what they can do and to not wait for someone to figure out how to use your talents. They are your talents and who best to know how to showcase them but you! It also helps to have friends that are creative too and all want to come together without egos and just make something very special! And… you all did! That’s why we love Feathers and Toast and can’t wait to see it takes it’s next step! Will be with you all… cheering you on! Well done Holly… a very good read!

    • Oh thank you so much Heidi. Your feedback makes me so happy. I write a lot and rarely get such a generous response. There is so much more coming and I can not wait to share. Feeling very lucky we have you along for the journey. Its already a success.

    • Wow, that is an amazing comment. Thank you so much. Am really moved by your words. Thank you. Holly has done an incredible job with the blog and summing up the essence of our partnership and creative vision. I really believe its when you can put egos aside and concentrate on the bigger picture that you allow room for magic to happen.Thank you so much for watching, for championing our show and for taking time to write. Can’t tell you how much your generous support means to us. Thank you.

  3. It really takes a good team to pull off what you have accomplished with your first two seasons of Feathers and Toast! This blog gives us the story behind the creation and the team work that went into creating and delivering such a delightfully funny and truly enjoyable web series! Plus you throw in the industry tip that so many creatives can learn from! It’s a brilliant blog and look forward to all the others! Cheers!

    • You have no idea how wonderful it is to get feedback like this, particularly when I am having so much fun writing it. I suddenly realized that while we take all these stories for granted, no one else really knows them and it feels so good to share, especially if can help anyone else in pursuing their dreams. I’ve got much more tips coming. Thank you so so much for following us along. 🙂

    • Thanks so much darling! Holster does wear flip flops but she is still an amazing writer…despite possibly one with cold toes! Yes we could not have done it alone. We have been so fortunate in the road coming up to meet us at every turn. With incredibly talented people willing to jump in and help create the show. Someone once said it takes a village to pull together a show, a film or a play and I really believe that. And then when its out there, it takes a village of watchers to help it on its way to the next level. So thank you for being apart of that community.

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