By the time you read this blog, I will already be days into my first annual Digital Detox.
What is that you say? Well it’s a truly low tech week with no texting, or posting, or tweeting, in fact no computer related activities at all, and instead good ole fashioned face to face conversations, hand writing in my journal, and reading of hard copy books, maybe an actual newspaper.
Why you say? Well it’s not out of any sort of protest or judgement against my high tech world. I have no beef with Twitter and Facebook. No need to tell everyone I am leaving because I can’t take it anymore, in fact, the opposite is true. I love my high tech world so much that I get twitchy at the mere idea of what life might be like if I can’t grab for my phone every five seconds to see what messages I might have, and that, my friends, is why I am doing it.
While I love my life and all the tech in it, I can’t help but think its good to change things up every now and again, sort of re-meet myself and my relationship with this world without the crutch of my cell phone. I have no idea what that is going to be like because me and my cell phone have been attached at the hip ever since it became smart. I may go right off the deep end, but since I’m going on vacation anyway I thought it was as good as any time to try.
So wish me luck. This is definitely a brand new adventure. I’ll be back on November 30th fired up and ready to tweet and retweet, share and support, and catch up on all the wonderful things my lovely Feathers and Toast fans have been up to. I hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving spent with family & friends, and friends who have become family and that get present to all the wonderful things you are grateful for.
Which leads me to…
Industry Tip #32
Do one thing that scares you at least a couple times a year. There’s nothing like changing up the routine and keeping your own self on your toes, to get those creative juices flowing again.
And without further ado I leave you with some more Thanksgiving Day tips from Tallulah. And by the way, what are you grateful for?
(And P.S. You will see some tweets and obviously this Post but only because they were scheduled in advance. I’m not cheating I swear)
Just like a car needs to refill its tank (or charge up) from time to time in order to keep going, so do we. We can’t just keep showing up day after day, working, giving and sharing without ever taking the time to do whatever it is that fuels us back up.
For me that fuel turned out to be New York City. I’m not sure why I was surprised, I mean it was the very city where I discovered I was an artist in the first place so many years ago, but from the second I touched down for our New York adventure, until the moments returning home on the plane, I felt like I had pulled in to the universal filling station and now my tank runneth over.
I’m feeling so grateful for every experience we had. Thankful for the impromptu pitch session with our lovely plane seat mate, Nora, who seemed to genuinely enjoy our show.
Thankful for the construction guy we shared a train ride with who entertained us with his stories of growing up in New York.
Thankful to Mhairi’s dear friend Curt James, waiting on the other end of the train, who immediately whisked us away to dinner and then got us to our final destination safely, while making funny new memories along the way. Carrie Bradshaw!!! (a little inside joke)
Thankful to the lovely Anne Flournoy and her husband Mr. Green who shared their beautiful home with us even though they had never even met us in person before (She is a fellow twitter comrade and content creator of The Louise Log) and all the thought provoking conversations we shared around Anne’s breakfast table.
Thankful for the makeup artist who came to our rescue when we realized our Red Carpet event we were heading to was indeed very red carpety. (If you’re in NY and need to look all glowy and beautiful hire Sean!)
Thankful for getting to spend time with my dear friend Tim Rerucha (my co-star in The Sex Trade) and his producing partner Victoria Cheri Bennett (creator of a great new webseries ADULTish) while enjoying a lovely Italian dinner and shop talk, and the realization of how much we had both grown.
And of course beyond thankful to Women & Fashion FilmFest for giving us a reason for coming out to NY in the first place. Their festival and conference far exceeded our expectations. Their films and panels were filled with intelligent, compassionate artists, entrepreneurs and humanitarians who truly want to make a difference in the world and in the lives of women.
The WFF gave me the opportunity to chat with folks like the beautiful, self-described science nerd, Maye Musk, about the important work her son and one of my personal heroes, Elon Musk, is doing. To chat with UN Ambassador Henry MacDonald, the spokesman for He for She, about the fact that, with the help of men, we could reach equality in 15 years instead of 81. And the chance to listen to the oh-so-passionate Fashion Editor, Ise White, who reminded us that we are not just here to collaborate, but to inspire and improve one another through our interactions.
And finally I have to say I was even grateful to NYC for the chance to grieve a bit over the latest incomprehensible act of terror in Paris inside the warm embrace of a city that understands all too well the pain of these kinds of atrocities.
I was left with the desire to read more, explore my world more and to be present to all the amazing things you can discover when you simply give yourself the space to pay attention to what is happening in the moment.
Which brings me to…
Industry Tip #31
Take the time to figure out what fuels your best work/best life, and then make sure to carve out time for it in your busy schedule.
And I’m changing it up today and leaving you with one of Mhairi’s Vlogs instead of our typical videos because this one felt apropos.
The industry is always banging around with that term “what’s your demographic?” They want to know an age range, but our fans can’t be constricted by an age range. What unites our fans is not a particular decade (we have serious fans ranging in age from 12 to 91), or even a particular ethnicity/sex/etc, our fans are united by a shared zest for life, a certain jeux de vie.
Our fans tend to be smart, funny, generous people who look at life and say, “why not add a little bit of play?” People who find it perfectly normal to dance while you’re cooking, to share witty banter with perfect strangers, to actually wear that crazy hat they’ve had sitting in their closet just because its fun. In a black and white world, they are going to add some color, because they know life isn’t meant to be just lived, it’s meant to be enjoyed! Our fans are people who never ever take themselves too seriously, but take fun very seriously.
Which brings me to…
Industry Tip #23
Your fans are your greatest resource. Treat them like the precious gems that they are.
So as we come to the end of this phase of our journey (don’t worry, we are starting a new one) we want to take some time to thank our beautiful, lovely fans. You people are amazing!!! We are continuously blown away by your generosity, support and willingness to play.
Throughout this journey, there has been very little time for us to get down, because every time we might have, you always lifted us right back up.
You have played with us on Twitter. Shared our content with your friends and family. Taken your time to give us heartfelt feedback. Sent us presents! (Diamond encrusted potato mashers, gorgeous hats). You have flown half way around the world to see us. And even offered up your homes to us when we travel. What could be better than that?
Which is why, as we move forward on this journey, Mhairi and I have decided its gonna be all about you. Yes, I will continue to share industry tips, inspirations and breaking news in regards to our journey to a TV deal, but starting now, we will also be sharing all the wonderful things that you are up to, so don’t be surprised if you click on this blog one day only to discover that the whole post is dedicated to you. Thank you for being wonderful you!
And now, without further ado, the final episode of Season 2. The one where Tallulah falls in love with her twitter fans.
Well 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”
So 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.
Yeah I got nothing on this one. Still trying to figure it out myself. I’m kidding. I have a few tips to share, but first I’ve got to make a few confessions.
I would love to say that Mhairi and I simply put up our freshly minted episodes online for all to enjoy and didn’t proceed to obsess, waiting for every like, share, comment and retweet to come in, like a dog waits for his bone, but that would be a lie. A big one. At least for me.
I spent endless hours clicking refresh to see how many people had watched. Who was liking our posts? Were they enjoying it? I even analyzed the stats to see how many of my Florida people were watching and for how long (by the numbers it looked like probably just my parents – yes I am watching you Florida people – ha!)
I guess the thing is when you create something you love, it becomes like your little baby and you just want everybody to look at it and love it too. Then when you add to that fact the very real pressure of knowing that if you don’t get those clicks and subscriptions up the industry folks will never consider investing in you, and you have a real pressure cooker of need my friends, one known all too well by all our fellow content creator friends.
You really don’t want to force your friends and family into watching and essentially doing your PR work for you, but at the same time you have this nagging truth breathing down your neck, and that is that in this new digital age of entertainment you really need them to. So you spend hours testing out ways to get people to click, trying to be endlessly fun, creative and clever, without being annoying (tricky dance), all in the hopes of that coveted experience of going viral (yes my friends, in 2015 going viral is a good thing).
When I say you can go down the rabbit hole, I mean you can go down the rabbit hole. It starts with a Facebook post here and then a Tweet there, and then, oh crap I forgot to post to Instagram, then, do I really have to create a Google + account too? Fine, what banner am I going to put up? Oh crap, now I need to put the google + link on my blog. The Blog!! Wait, who unsubscribed? Do the blog numbers really matter, or just youtube’s? Maybe I should just direct everyone to our Facebook page, oh but wait..the algorythms. Ahhhhhh!!!!
I spent months like this. I became a hermit and didn’t even know it because I was so busy being “social”. There were many days when I never even got out of my jammies because I had “so much to do” but at the end of the day I wasn’t even sure if I was accomplishing anything other than making myself depressed. The needle really hadn’t moved that much and this was no way to live.
Luckily salvation came through a realization of what actually does get results (which were witnessed first hand through watching my lovely partner Mhairi’s steady efforts and subsequent successes) and its an annoying little truth somewhat akin to the whole “if you want to lose weight, eat less and exercise more” thing that nobody wants to hear, but I’m going to share with you anyway, now…
Industry Tip #4
The best way to promote your show through social media is to be generous, be authentic and to make peace with the fact that its going to be a long haul.
Unless you are already wildly famous, a good, solid and engaged social media following doesn’t happen over night, it just doesn’t, and trying to rush it is only going to stress you out. So if you don’t want to go insane like me, you should just accept that fact right from the start, and then create a plan and work the plan. (meaning set a social media schedule of how many hours you’re gonna work on it each day/and also set a “I will not even look at my phone, I promise” schedule so that you can maintain sanity & keep your friends through the marathon that has become your social media life)
And then while you are on social media you should treat yourself like a guest who just showed up late to the party (because that party has been raging on long before you). Don’t just expect to pop in and start telling all your stories. You have to find out who is in the room first, say hello, listen to their stories for awhile and then you can share some of yours. (This is especially true of twitter, but if you think about it it makes perfect sense.)
If everyone is just talking and nobody is listening, then there are no conversations to be had, and therefore no genuine connections to be made. And if you don’t make genuine connections, there will be no engagement, so you will just be posting for no one.
And one last thing, you have to be authentic. People can smell a phony who is just supporting others in order to get attention a mile away, so if you’re not going to be authentic in your interest and support just don’t do it. The simple cheat to help yourself with this is to go ahead and find and follow all the people you would honestly be interested in listening to anyway. There are loads of amazing and interesting people sharing themselves on social media everyday, find the ones you like and create your online community by customizing your feeds using lists (If you don’t know how to do this, just ask, you’ll thank yourself.) This will set you up for a situation where you have endless info that you are quite happy to promote, share and talk about.
So that’s what I’ve got for today. And please let me know if there is a topic here I’ve touched on that you’d like me to go deeper with.
In the meantime, I will leave you with Episode 2 of Season 1 where Mhairi’s kitchen antics brought us treasured quotes like “Don’t just start punching your avocados” and “There’s really no point in learning to dice, just hack into it.”
Brace yourself for a dramatic turn in events this week. All I’ll say is that there is an authentic sandwich recipe from the 1920s and there is a can of tomato soup…and there is, to be honest, quite a lot of dramatic sadness and things.
Hope that this finds you all well and enjoying the springtime frolics and whatnot. Please settle in with your eggs and things and watch this weeks 2 minute Tallulah Talks Back where there will be an exciting announcement about a dream vacation, hula dancers and pineapples. Yes darling, a trip of a lifetime is within your grasp, all you need to be in the 1 millionth follower of @feathersntoast on twitter. Tweet, tweet away darling and get ready to hula,
Welcome back and welcome to the Spring Revolution. It has come to pass that the serious powers that be are insisting on higher manner of twitter followers the world over. The age old battle between art and commerce has arrived with a bang in the Feathers and Toast kitchen HQ. Please settle in with your springtime snacks of chicken sandwiches and whatnot to watch this effective plea to tweet.