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.

If Digital is The Wild West, Why Not Be a Pioneer?

Meme_S1E6_9Today, literally right now, might just be one of the greatest times in history to be a visual storyteller.

In the past, if you wanted to see your story ever make it to an audience (whether on the big screen or television) you had no choice but to get it past the gatekeepers. Production was so cost prohibitive, and distribution outlets so unaccessible, that green lighting yourself in any professional manner was near impossible.

Your only hope of finding an audience was if the gatekeepers decided you were worthy enough for them to merit giving it to you. And even if you were the chosen one and your story was produced and distributed, there was no 2nd and 3rd screen, no bonus content, no audience interaction. Your story lived in one form and one form only.

But now, sweet beautiful now, all that has changed. Technology has advanced so much that even your phone is a high quality camera and sound department. You can have advanced editing software on your laptop to the tune of $20 a month. And Distribution? There are 15 year olds out there right now who have used Youtube to garner literally millions of loyal fans. They didn’t have to ask for permission, they just did it, often times with a team of one. The restrictions are gone.

And to top it all off, we are no longer confined to telling a story simply for the big or little screen, no, there are storytellers out there, as we speak, who are telling stories across 5 platforms at once (for e.g Emma Approved which recently won an Interactive Emmy.)

For all intensive purposes Emma Approved is a web show, a clever re-telling of the classic Jane Austen novel Emma, where Emma Woodhouse, this time a lifestyle coach, has decided to film her successes (Vlog style over 72 episodes) for a future documentary of her life. But the storytelling doesn’t end there. Just like any real lifestyle coach would, Emma has her own blog, twitter account (as do all the characters on the show), photo gallery of fashion tips, and even Music Club Videos created by her assistant Harriet.

The team at Emma Approved even went a step further, truly breaking the 4th wall, when they allowed people to bid for real on the fictitious bachelor auction “Emma” was sponsoring to raise money for charity. (they raised $4k and the money did actually go to a charity so its all good)

My point in sharing all this is simply to inspire you with the possibilities which leads me to….

Industry Tip #13
We are living in exciting times where our imagination truly is the limit. There is still so much room to be a Pioneer, to go where no one in storytelling has gone before, and I really hope you will seize it. Carpe diem.

As many of you know, Mhairi and I have been enjoying the new possibilities as well. We have Feathers and Toast (the web cooking show starring Tallulah), Tallulah’s Vlog Tallulah Talks Back, twitter accounts for Tallulah, Holster & Marge, Behind The Scenes Blogs and Vlogs, the Memes series, a Boutique (which we intend to expand to sell Tallulah’s favorite things) and the soon to be 1/2 hour comedy Tallulah, Darling.

Plus you can actually see “Tallulah” live and in person every month, as she attempts to hijack, I mean host, the French Cabaret show known as FEMMES by Cabaret Versatile at the Sofitel in Beverly Hills.

Have I inspired you yet? I hope so because we need the stories that only you can tell. So get cracking and let your imagination fly. Virtual Reality is the next untapped frontier.

Without further ado, your videos for the day are of the first time Tallulah hosted the Cabaret show (both before and during her show). It also marked the first time we brought the Holster character into the storyline.

How To Be Your Own Marketing Department Pt 2

Meme_S2E4_1Network. Network. Network.

Once you’ve got your show up on Youtube, and your online presence clean, clear and beautiful, it is time to get out there and meet people because no matter how digitally dependent this world gets there is still no replacement for the connection that is made when you meet people in person.

In the early days, the places we would go to meet web industry people were Digital Hollywood (a 4 day conference, twice annually, which we highly recommend), and IAWTV events (an organization we are both currently members of). It was at these events that I discovered something wonderful about my partner Mhairi that I had not known, and that is that she can work a room with the best of them.

Although everyone who knows me refuses to believe it, I am actually quite shy, particularly in a room full of people I don’t know, and it has been my Achilles heal for years. I create lots of lots of content, but stumble when its time to sell it, out of a severe lack of confidence in my ability to express who I am and what I’ve got going on in any sort of compelling or concise way. When faced with this proposition, particularly in a room full of industry strangers, I usually just clam up and am reduced to a smile, a big one. I become perpetual smile girl, which is why it was like a miracle to discover that my compadre suffered from no such thing.

For me, watching Mhairi mingle at these events, was like watching Michael Jordan play basketball. I was in awe. How does she do that? She actually looks like she’s having fun (because she was). How is that even possible? She was meeting people right and left and all I had to do was stand there and laugh. And once the ice was broken, I had no trouble chiming in. This was a match made in heaven. Which brings me to…

Industry Tip #6
If you are not good at networking events, then bring somebody with you who is, but go! You have to go.

Entertainment is a team sport. There is no such thing as making it on your own. You need to know lots and lots of people (and I’m not just talking about the people at the top) you need a solid network of friends that extend into all aspects, all levels. Over time you will find that they will help you, and you will help them, but nobody can help anybody if you don’t know each other.

Find the organizations, workshops and/or events that relate to the field you want to be in and then do the work to get to know the people involved. Having a friend who is good at networking with you is a huge help, but if you must go it alone, then I will leave you with a tip I learned from the master herself; wear at least one little accessory (a hat, playful scarf, amazing necklace, cool pair of shoes) something that can be a talking point. People will use it as an icebreaker, “I love your hat,” and you can do the same finding something about them, anything you can genuinely comment on.

As I learned from Mhairi time and time again, this is not disingenuous, its just a conversation starter and you can’t get around needing a conversation starter, therefore a compliment is the perfect way to go.

That’s all for today but as always I leave you with Episode 4 of Season 1 of Feathers and Toast where Tallulah goes to great lengths to teach you the complicated inner workings of how to make a PB&J sandwich and Miso soup from a bag while pandering to yet another demographic. How anyone ever saw this and thought we were serious about this being a cooking show still makes me laugh to this day. In fact, I’m laughing right now. Enjoy!

Also, just curious…what do you think we are hinting at with these Behind The Scenes bits? If you had to guess who do you think the Fed Ex guy is to Tallulah?