To Youtube or Not To Youtube, That Was The Question

Hot under the FeathersSo 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)


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.

Season 2 Episode 8 Grande Finale

Dear weekend-ers,

Well darling, thank you so much for watching the season with us. I’m sorry to say that this is our finale episode. In the wise words of someone  “all good things must come to an end” here we are darling…until next time. We shall rise again and be back darling like a feathered phoenix from the kitchen ashes and things, but in the meantime please sit back and enjoy the last 5 minute episode of the season. In the meantime we shall continue on the upwards #trending ladder so please follow us on twitter @feathersntoast FB  youtube

Thank you so much for watching, Happy Holidays darling one and all!

Yours in finale feathers,




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Season 2 Episode 7

Dear Post Thanksgiving-ers,

Hope this finds you well and enjoying turkey sandwiches and plentiful slices of pie and such. Speaking of pie darling this weeks episode features the humble pie and the poached egg…as well as the return of Marge, the feathered cabaret dancer and the mime from Burbank.

Yours in humble pie feathers,



Season 2 Episode 7 teaser

Dear Thanksgiving-ers,

Hope this finds you well and baking pies and things. I am so thankful for so many wonderful things this year, family, friends, feather boas and Lulu, Holster and the nominations of Outstanding actress from LA Web fest and also for Diego who received Outstanding Cinematographer nominations…and for you for watching the show. Thank you so much. Champagne and things shall be sent out accordingly.

Have a wonderfully feathered day of turkey and things and hope you enjoy this teaser for Saturdays episode.

Yours in Thanksgiving Day feathers,



Season 2 Episode 6

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is it darling. The Left Handed Sandwich episode, which promises to rebalance your head and generally bring you into a calm, balanced state of mind. There’s a lot to be said for a little challenge when making a sandwich darling to be honest.


Yours in balanced feathers,


Season 2 Episode 5

Dear weekender-ers,

Well to be perfectly frank darling, what began as a simple melodrama in black and white of the making of a tomato soup sandwich descended into something rather unpleasant. In the ratings race, is there really no limits to what must be sacrificed in the name of twitter follower numbers?

Yours in melodramtic feathers,



Season Two Episode Three Teaser darling

Dear Halloween-evers,

Hope this finds you and your carved pumpkins well and suitably alarmed looking. We are on the brink of breaking all manner of world wide records for how many mimes one can fit into ones kitchen darling and if you have a mere 30 seconds or so you can see for yourself what that would look like.

Yours in multiple mime feathers,



Season Two Episode Two

Dear Season 2 weekenders,

On the brink of all manner of seasonal snacks and whatnot, this weeks episode is all about cleansing your internal self pre potential pumpkin binge. There is also the somewhat unexpected return of Marge ….

Yours in Season 2 Feathers,



Season 2 Episode 2 Teaser darling

Dear almost weekender,

Hope you’re enjoying all things autumnal and orange. I’m afraid I have some perhaps alarming news, Marge is back darling. Pure and simple. Not sure quite yet what this means, am investigating further, but thought at least it was my duty to warn you of what to expect in the next episode.

Yours in alarmed feathers,