Spending Time with People you Love – Week 9

It’s week 9 of The Happiness Movement and we are in the home stretch, reporting in from this weeks assignment which was: spending time with the people you love.

I just have to say that I think this assignment should be part of everyone’s daily regimen. It seems merely even thinking of the people you love can invoke an immediate happiness boost, so no need to skrimp on this one.

Cultivating gratitude – Week 3

It’s funny. Ever since we started this Happiness Movement it seems life has thrown out bigger and bigger challenges to throw us off our path, and this week is absolutely one of the toughest, but I am happy to say our fearless leaders, Tallulah and Marge, are persevering anyway.

This weeks challenge was to cultivate gratitude by focusing on all the wonderful things in your life and I must admit those folks over at Live Happy are really on to something, because it is near impossible to be down when you’re thinking about all those amazing people and things.

What are you grateful for?

Digging Deep with the Happiness Movement – Week 2

Its the end of week 2 of The Happiness Movement here at Feathers and Toast HQ and Tallulah and Marge are reporting in on how they got on with their second assignment “giving people the benefit of the doubt”.

And what a week it was to practice giving people the benefit of the doubt. Am I right? 😉 So nice of the world to give us this opportunity to really strengthen our muscles. Did you give it a try? If so let us know how it went.

For those on the journey with us, your next week’s assignment is to cultivate gratitude by focusing on the wonderful people and things in your life. And go!!!

Why The Happiness Movement?

For those just tuning in, Tallulah and Marge have embarked on a 10 week journey towards bringing more happiness into their lives via The Happiness Movement and are inviting you to join in. Why? Because as my Irish grandpa always used to say, who wants the alternative?

All our joking aside, we know there are very real reasons for people to be feeling down, everything from the threat of nuclear war, hurricanes and political upheaval, to the very personal feelings so many experience with depression. It is not our intention to ignore or minimize these things, but it is our intention to say: go for happiness anyway.

We feel that joy in the face of life’s struggles is the ultimate act of rebellion, a cause seriously worth the fighting for, and we consider it our most important of missions to make sure you are heavily armed with a necessary stockpile of laughter as you head into battle.

Our first weeks assignment, as per Live Happy, was to smile more often. So here’s Tallulah and Marge, our fearless warriors, reporting in on their successes, and it looks like they made it through with only minor injuries. How did your week of smiling go? Did it change anything? Let us know here and on Facebook.

We’re shaking it up!

We’re shaking it up here at Feathers and Toast HQ.

Today marks the beginning of a new series of Vlogs featuring Tallulah and Marge, where together they will be taking on various challenges through out the year that are in line with Tallulah’s mission to “save the world one kitchen at a time.” (If you have a favorite challenge you want them to take on, please feel free to let us know.)

Up first is a challenge that comes from LiveHappy Magazine to join the Happiness Movement and help to spread happiness throughout the world (something the world could really use right now). For the next 10 weeks, Tallulah and Marge will be taking on the
10 suggestions to living a happier life, and will let you know how they got on in true Feathers and Toast fashion. We would love it if you would join in by taking on the challenge too. We can’t wait to hear your results.

The Vlogs are just the beginning of the changes, however. Make sure to tune in to this weeks Vlog (below) to get, not only your first assignment, but also some exciting news about our brand new show which will be coming the beginning of next year.

We are so grateful for all who have followed us on this journey thus far, and for those just getting started…welcome! There is so much fun ahead!

In the meantime: here’s Tallulah and Marge!

Marge Takes Over the Twittersphere

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 10.16.56 AMWell that was the plan anyway. Mhairi and I had decided that Season 2 was going to be all about the very real pressure that web creators are under to have their videos go viral, to gain the coveted status of “trending.”

We figured if Tallulah has her own web cooking show, then her lack of trending status would surely be her biggest obstacle to gaining all the success, acclaim and hats she desires and it was Holster’s job as Producer to remedy this. The trouble was, Holster and Tallulah had very different ideas about what type of content would cause that success. Holster felt Tallulah needed a popular co-host to help her stir up ratings, and lets just say Tallulah disagreed.

We thought, “wouldn’t it be funny if Tallulah chose to have Marge on the show, because in her eyes Marge proves how important she is, after all she’s saved a life?” Tallulah figures this will get things moving, and give her the proper acclaim she deserves but in the end it backfires because Marge starts trending instead?” We knew this would bring out Tallulah’s green-eyed monster and add to all sorts of fun.

To go a step further, we thought “wouldn’t it be doubly funny if we could actually get Marge to trend on twitter? Like in real life”

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 10.14.33 AMSo that became the plan. We took to the twittersphere and created twitter accounts for Tallulah, Holster and Marge and then as the episodes started being released we started tweeting.

We had an awesome time tweeting back and forth in real time, in character, shared a lot of laughs, and even had quite a few fans join in on the fun, but in the end, as it turns out, you kind of need to already have a decent sized and engaged audience, for this kind of storytelling to really work.

While we may not have succeeded in making Marge trend, we did discover how much fun Improving with our fans on twitter can be, so you can expect much more of this behavior in the future. In fact if you enjoy a little Improv banter yourself you can always feel free to chat with Tallulah and the gang by following and tweeting to these accounts Tallulah, Holster & Marge now. Which leads me to….

Industry Tip #16
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. (cliche for a reason) Can’t tell you how many times this has proven to be true in this business. Persistence is everything.

And without further ado, here is Episode 2 of Season 2, featuring the triumphant return of the newly trending Marge #SaveMarge (and yet another slam dunk performance from Tami Hillberry & Mhairi Morrison who have proven themselves to be one take wonders, with Improv no less.) I love how Marge is suddenly dressed more like Tallulah, copying her every move. Little moments of genius, all found in the moment.

The Day Tallulah Was Forced to Share Her Kitchen with Circus Types

Meme_S2E7_2I’ll never forget the day we shot Season 2. Tallulah may not have appreciated having to share her kitchen with “circus types,” but Mhairi was thrilled. In fact, she was so excited that she greeted each and every new cast & crew member that arrived with giant hugs and little gift bags filled with candy, and of course, feathers.

It felt like a party.

I was thrilled too but if I’m honest, was still quite a bit nervous with anticipation about whether we were going to be able to pull this off or not. Our plan was to shoot the entire 8 episodes in one day, and given the unscripted nature of our show, this was no small feat. It was going to take a tremendous amount of focus, energy and determination.

I love Improv for the same reasons that I hate it: it’s scary, unpredictable and you never know what you’re gonna get, but when you hit it right, its like capturing magic in a bottle, and I was determined to capture that magic.

Mhairi and I had plotted and planned deeply for this day, we knew exactly the beats we needed to hit for each episode and I had no doubt that on her own, Mhairi would hit them all, as I had seen her do it a thousand times, but today we would be intentionally throwing ourselves a curve ball. We were throwing new characters into the mix, via new Improv actors, each with their own motivations and beats to hit and there was no way to know for sure how this dynamic would play out.

I was most nervous about introducing the Marge character, the woman Tallulah had saved from the brink in Season 1 and the sole reason for Tallulah’s messiah complex. She was an important character to be sure, but mainly I was nervous because I didn’t have a vision for her. Marge had been Mhairi’s idea, a character she described to me as a lump, depressed, and not doing much of anything, and although I trusted Mhairi completely, I had trouble seeing how that was going to be funny. (Silly me)

In an attempt to mitigate my fears, I had asked my friend and fellow Second City grad, Tami Hillberry if she would be Marge, as I figured if anyone could pull it off, it would be her.

And here we were, everyone in their places, lights ready, camera speeding, nervous excitement in the air, seconds away from filming the very first episode of Season 2, I call action, and in she walks, Marge, living and breathing. The dynamic between her and “Tallulah” was immediately perfect, Tami’s layered choices as “Marge” so obviously brilliant. I was riveted, as she was adding things I didn’t even know could be there, the perfect foil to Tallulah, making Mhairi’s already funny choices even funnier.

By the time I yelled cut I was already breathing a huge sigh of relief, followed quickly by deep and sincere gratitude. I knew I had just been blessed with the opportunity to capture magic in a bottle, the birth of yet another legendary character, which leads me to…

Industry Tip #15

Hire Tami Hillberry. I’m kidding. I know she’s not right for every role (or is she?) But seriously, your tip for the day is “cast well, and then let your actors do what they do. If you let them, they will bring you more to your characters than you even realized was there.”

And without further ado here is Episode 1 Season 2 of Feathers and Toast. We did about 3 takes of this scene but ended up using that very first one. It was perfect right from the start. (And honestly and truly Tami, I can never thank you enough for being our Marge)