So here we were, Mhairi & I, with 6 episodes and 2 teasers in the can and seemingly lots of options (since the Digital Revolution was now in full swing) but unsure which direction to go.
There had been some initial excitement, as several big name production companies had seen some of our material and were interested in working with us, but that excitement faded pretty quickly when we realized that they wanted to go in a different direction with the show than we had in mind.
Maybe it was due to Mhairi’s brilliantly dead pan delivery, but it seems many in the early stages saw Feathers and Toast as an actual cooking show, and wanted to steer it in that direction (in fact one even suggested cutting the Behind The Scenes part) but as tempting as it was to go where the money was, and shape our show into what was currently working on the digital platforms and MCN’s, Mhairi and I knew this was a full blown comedy destined for television and that even if it meant we were going to have to go it alone for awhile and forego any financial support (that we really could have used), that was just what we were going to have to do until we could effectively show them the trajectory we envisioned for ourselves and why it would work.
The decision was made to go ahead and put the episodes up on our own Youtube channel (more on how we prepped for that at a later time) and pretty quickly thereafter we learned what will become a series on insights I will share with you about Youtube, but the first is…
Industry Tip #3
Youtube is a powerful creative development tool if used effectively.
Almost immediately after we began releasing those early episodes of Feathers and Toast, we started getting invaluable feedback from the people, not industry people, but viewers, fans, the people we would be creating the show for in the first place, and one of the first bits of invaluable information we got is that they absolutely loved the back and forth between Diego and Tallulah.
This was music to our ears because the Behind The Scenes part was where we had chosen to hint at the fact that there was a larger story with Tallulah, and the fact that people were responding to it gave us encouragement to go even further with this aspect, in fact it altered our entire thinking as we headed into developing Season 2. (so thanks all you early supporters like Linda Eubanks, Bob Burns and Icerunner to name a few)
So I guess the answer to the ancient question “To Youtube or Not to Youtube” for us ended up being a resounding yes! To Youtube.
And now without further ado I will share with you the very first episode of Feathers and Toast to ever grace the web. (awww) As you watch it I’d love for you to appreciate as I do how serious Tallulah is about what she is up as I happen to know how not serious Mhairi herself was. (She may be straight faced for the camera – because she is truly a brilliant actress – but inside this was all hilarious to her as this is definitely her unique brand of humor)
And also I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge Diego for literally just being himself. Right before we had begun filming our Director, Barbara Stepansky, had suggested Tallulah have someone to talk to, like the camera man, so we had attempted to cast one of my Second City friends to play the camera man and that fell through, but then I had one of my crazy ideas.
I asked Mhairi what she thought of just letting Diego be the “camera man.” I knew, even though he wasn’t an actor that he would have no trouble getting into character because he literally was the camera man but I also knew how naturally funny he is and how incapable he is of being anything other than himself. To my surprise Mhairi embraced my crazy idea immediately (another reason I love her as my creative partner), and the rest, as they say is history. (And btw – we gave Diego literally no direction or explanation of what we were up to at all. We just told him to feel free to chat with her on that second part and just as I suspected, he gave us gold)