Mudd Lavoie

blog: the priorities of successful creative people

I’ve lived for decades with a sense of shame and guilt, fearing that I’m at best self-centered, with possible anti-social tendencies and (God forbid) a full-blown misanthrope: I'm constantly saying 'no' to people.

Thanks to my dear friend and coach Mudd Lavoie and to the golden resource Mudd discovered in Stephanie Palmer, I’m looking at the fact that work is my priority with new eyes. I'm also seeing my relationship to people and to the national obsession with ‘hanging out’ from a totally different angle.

This article (which Stephanie Palmer tweeted last week) threw a knock-out bucket of ice water at the nasty judgy voice which has dogged me for decades. I am redeemed!

For more great stuff, check out Stephanie Palmer and Mudd Lavoie.

Rewriting. GUILT-FREE.

Rewriting. GUILT-FREE.

Go Big or Go Bust: How This Pitch Wrote Itself (With Help From The Runes)

Oh so many lessons. It's clear that I’m not nearly as evolved as I like to think I am.

But at least things seem to be working out, regardless of the amount of << suffering through >> my karmic path requires. THANK GOD FOR FRIENDS.

Lisa Levart tweeted the link to this very interesting piece on creative minds which is making me feel more accepting of the fact of ‘the way I work’. (Will not use the hated “P” word.) "Creative people have messy processes, and often messy minds, full of contradictions."

And good old Mudd Lavoie turned me on to the Runes which, no, does not mean you have to go out into the woods and try and read broken sticks and stones. More about that in a minute.

As you may know, I’ve been trying to get it together to pitch a half hour comedy series to cable since last August. At this point, it feels like it’s been years. Everywhere I turn, I get help and advice from people who've been there, done this and know what the heck they’re talking about. My reaction has been growing confusion to, frankly, the verge of hysteria.

Last Friday night, desk stacked high with piles of papers, each one with suggestions on how to boil everything down into a 1 - 20 minute pitch (whaa?)  It felt like I was going to be facing another Slaughter on Tenth Avenue weekend with the possibility of That Moment when you seriously want to rip your hair out. And so, before coming to that point, I decided to ask The Runes (Ralph H. Blum’s book and set of Runes) for guidance.     

What a surprise.  A three rune spread turned up this advice:

- counsel against overreach and striving (I am (what I suspect is) a classic case of someone trying to ‘overachieve’ which would explain why this very term annoys me so much.)
- don’t try to exceed your own strength (ditto)
- go within (Ew.)

- the battle is with the self. (no comment)
- observe pain. don’t try to deny it.
- timely right action and correct conduct are your only true protection (Now this one put the fear of GOD in me as all the astrologer/psychic types told me that delay could sour everything, that the time is at hand.)

- disperse resistance, then accomplish the work.
- the will must be clear and controlled (NOOOOOO.)
- may need expert help.
- modesty and patience

It was all so clear. Forget the desire to be brilliant or to even have a 'great' pitch. Just do what you can do. Keep it SIMPLE. Keep it short. (Susan Kouguell had locked eyes and said: “One minute.”) I was going to have to do the hardest thing:

stop trying
let go
simply do what I can do

AND BOOM. The pitch was written and memorized by Sunday night. HOW WAS THAT SO EASY??  (immediate and gorgeous early Valentine's gift if you click the 'Like' button below)

Go Big or Go Bust: This Pitch is Getting Real

Bursting with good news.

I pitched the two minute version of the pitch to Mr. Green last night. He started off looking at his lap, looked up tentatively a few times and finally LOCKED eyes. He thought it was good, even very good. He said I ‘had’ him.

This afternoon, I pitched the two minute version by Skype to my friend and coach Mudd Lavoie. She threw both arms in the air and shouted “I LOVE IT.”  Then she gave me the two thumbs up.

There are a few more things to organize and then ... I’ll keep you posted.

Screengrab of the elusive Mudd Lavoie giving me two thumbs up after I pitched to her over skype

Screengrab of the elusive Mudd Lavoie giving me two thumbs up after I pitched to her over skype

Go Big or Go Bust: The Story Behind The Making Of This Web Series Trailer

Over a year ago, Marion O'Grady pointed out that in order to properly spread the word of this show, we really should have a highlights reel (AKA trailer) which would give someone unfamiliar with The Louise Log a sense of all three seasons of it. 

I figured that, with help, I could slap something together over a month, maybe two.
Ever hear the expression: "Many a slip twixt the cup and the lip"? There were so many false starts I've lost count. I had no idea what a huge undertaking it would be -- or maybe I did which is why I had taken on this mad challenge.

Anyway, with suggestions from colleague Mhairi Morrison of Feathers and Toast, help from the soul of generosity, superfan Marie Pope, who organized a focus group of people unfamiliar with the show, hard-boiled feedback from marketing coach and consultant Mudd Lavoie, Seed&Spark CEO Emily Best and finally from Mr. Green, I am THRILLED to finally present the final result.

I am beyond grateful to Julie Clark Shubert for letting us use her delicious song “I Want To Know You”.

But just so you don't get the wrong idea, getting the material cut was only the first step, one which took about a year, more actually. Next there was the fun of going back into old hard drives. I was determined to find the original files which are of higher resolution than in the episodes I had uploaded to YouTube.

Too bad there aren't any pictures of super-tech me (NOT), surrounded by hard drives out of their boxes, all with their different power cables, plugging them into my old computer which was limping along with my only copy of the editing software used to cut most of the episodes.
Mr. Green was subjected to the extremes of my moods: alternately exhilarated that I'd finally figured out the proper way to extract and/or compress files, or plunging into the depths of depression, certain that I would never be able to master this much less finish the job.  It was way over my head. It was going to eat me alive.

It's thanks to Patrick Carey of the Apple Store at West 14th Street's third floor that you're getting this trailer instead of dark reports about me. Patrick saved the day regularly for months and there's not an ounce of hyperbole in that.

I hope you enjoy this trailer. And if you do, please share it!  Thank you! 

Here are two links for easy sharing:          

PS Click on the white arrow in the middle of the 'comedic brilliance' video screen and then, for a bigger video player, click on the white 'flower' just under the words: "Meet Louise".&nbsp;

PS Click on the white arrow in the middle of the 'comedic brilliance' video screen and then, for a bigger video player, click on the white 'flower' just under the words: "Meet Louise". 

CAST (in order of appearance)

Christine Cook
Muhammad Akmal
Fatima Elias
Kenneth B Goldberg
Jesse Epstein
Sheldon Horowitz
Jennifer Sklias-Gahan
Pascal Yen-Pfister
Senami d’Almeida
Tom Tinelli
Mathilde Dratwa
Leer Leary
Morgan Hallett
Everett Quinton
Joseph Franchini
Danusia Trevino
Marie Christine Katz
Ann Imig

“I Want To Know You”
written and performed by
Julie Clark Shubert

“Steady Now”
written by and used with permission of
Victoria Trestrail

Marketing Concept/
Mudd Lavoie

Marketing Strategy
Beth Tallman

Sound Mixer
Chris Leone

Sound Editor
Laura Hanna

Special Thanks
Patrick Carey

Executive Producer
Marion O’Grady

Written by
Anne Flournoy
Mordecai Green
Sandra Vannucchi

Created, Produced
and Directed by
Anne Flournoy

Go Big or Go Bust: Day 236 (on social media for the socially challenged and advice from Feather and Toast's Holly Payberg, Glossi Girl's Stephen Dimmick and Mudd Lavoie)

With two twitter accounts, two facebook, two instagram, one tumblr, two youtube, a Seed&Spark, Vproud, vimeo, stumbleupon, pinterest, reddit, linkedin, ello, digg, myspace, metacafe, daily motion and more, you'd think I have A) an army of interns B) the body of Kali or C) mental health issues. 

The answer is D) None of the above.  I'm simply a misguided and exhausted producer trying to get some traction.  

When we started making The Louise Log, I'd upload an episode to youtube and send the link to my address book.  If people are interested, I figured, they'll watch. 

Sometime in 2008, groaning that there wasn't time for the rabbit hole of facebook, I joined up only to be browbeaten (thank you Mary Jander) into getting onto twitter.  And so began my life on social media.

Only thing, I have this little issue with being a workaholic and was treating all this like 'media', forgetting about the 'social'.  In real life I have friends, none of whom I see enough of anyway cause if you're a control freak making a low-budget web series, you basically don't have time to sleep. 

My habit was to, once a month, post the links to the new episodes and call it a day.  Sure I'd talk back to people who talked to me if I happened to notice, but my attitude was that all these social media sites were billboards, places to put up the videos.  The 'social' aspect of it seemed like icing on the cake, fine for the teenagers who had nothing better to do than avoid doing their homework.  I was busy being my own production studio.   

My dear old friend Stephen Dimmick advised me (in his gorgeous Australian accent): "Anne, it's a converSAtion." My coach and advisor Mudd Lavoie encouraged me (to the point of hoarseness) to talk to people on facebook and twitter for at least fifteen minutes every day.  "You can't find half an hour??" And the answer to this day, I say red and shamefaced, more often than not, is 'not always'. 

I intend to!  I've even come around to wanting to.  At this point, I know a lot of not only cool but generous and amazing people through social media.  People I've never met.  People whose work I love and admire.  And believe me, I want to have started this new program of being active on social media yesterday (naturally).

The problem comes down to three issues: poor impulse control, difficulty with transitions and an inability to let go/perfectionism.  Whatever the job is, this blog, yesterday's photo shoot, a phone conversation --  even with my little egg timer ringing, with the alarm on the phone going off, the days get away from me almost every day.  Whatever activity I'm involved in, I'm 'finishing it up'.  And then it's past bed time. 

Holly Payberg of the wonderful web series Feathers and Toast wrote a very clear and smart step-by-step approach to succeeding on social media this week.  I recommend that you read it.  And having now bared my soul about my anti-social social media behavior, am hoping I will change tomorrow once and for all.  Tonight, even!  Crossing my fingers.