Hi come on down to the Pt Chevalier Library on Nov 10th, we would love to see you, answer questions and sign books!
"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasim". - Winston Churchill
Navy Days 2018 - expected turnout 10,000 people!
I was excited! Its markets season and I had prepped, books were ready, crafts for the kids, banners - check! Then of course there is the weather!
A call was made and instead of the awesome outside venue with music, bubbles, clowns, icecream........I was put down the end of a dark alley way where we were lucky to see two people an hour!
Now of course I was disappointed, I am only human....but I choose to make the most of this opportunity, every weekend and every day is precious to me...time...is...precious!
Its not about the money, sure its lovely to cover my costs to stand there all day but its not that, time is more important to me than anything, those seven hours I wasn't there to take my son to the beach and hear his new word or see him discovering something new for the first time.
So I was going to make the most of it!
I met this incredible family supporting their daughter starting her first markets for the first time! And her products were amazing!
I met these two awesome kids with such beautiful hearts you only hope they stay that innocent forever!
A new mother with her baby was also at the markets with me and I observed many strangers that were stopped in their tracks, drawn to this new fresh life, the love in their eyes was priceless.
And then there was Barry, I don't know what his actual name was, but he seemed like a Barry. He inspired this blog. Barry had a bicycle and I think was a lonely soul, who really just wanted someone to talk to for a few minutes and then he actually thanked me... for my time.
So many called the markets a failure today, but to who? It wasn't to me because I met some amazing people like Barry and he reminded me, that every day is precious, time is precious and I will never give up putting time into what and who I love.
I hope this week you fail and get up again too! Remember its ok to fail but keep going, keep believing....its worth it!
“It was like running a marathon everyday and participating in an episode of Survivor, but with lots of food!’
After Months of preparation I sat in the International airport full of excited nerves. Will the biggest companies in the world like my ideas…and me? Then the panic, what was I thinking, what am I doing?
For those that don't know, Kidscreen is where its at if you want to pitch your heart out! Or more formally via the website:
Kidscreen's premier annual event, which has quickly grown into the world's leading conference on the business of kids entertainment, hosting nearly 2,000 attendees from around the world. Top decision- and deal-makers attend to engage in critical dialogue, network and find new ideas that will drive their businesses forward.
...so no pressure...right?!
I calmed myself finished my wine and boarded the plane.
I was sitting next to the sweetest couple on earth, it was their 50th wedding anniversary…50! They had travelled all the way to NZ for their special anniversary. I had a lovely chat to them through my flight and asked where they went and the hot spots rang a bell, Queenstown, Rotorua and then Hobbiton. Oh yes I said I had the pleasure to work on all three Hobbits, their eyes lit up and they couldn't believe it, I tried to reassure them that most people in NZ have been an extra or worked on one of the Tolkien movies over the last 20 years, but my doubts did diminish a little…maybe this was worth it.
I don't sleep well on planes so as I rolled restlessly curling into my little ball as much as economy can allow, my head overthinking the next few days. Dorothy and Gerald held hands, smiling in their sleep blissfully happy with life.
The rest of the travel was not unhurddled with me rushing off the plane to be sick in the LA airport as soon as we landed (I don't eat well on planes either!) and almost missing our connecting flight to Miami due to a lost boarding pass (not sure what happened to that!) Finally made it...phew!
The Intercontinental Miami, what a location!! 4.5 stars right on the water! This would be the home to Kidscreen 2018 for 2000 delegates from all around the world, for those to pitch their hearts out for the first time and those that have been in the industry for decades.
I was sharing with a friend of mine (a 4.5 star hotel in US $ is not cheap!) the great thing about NZ is its small and everyone knows everyone. There were 15 kiwis there for the conference and we all either knew each other, have worked together before or at least had heard of each other.
Its Sunday night, midnight after travelling 13,000 kms, I looked around the hotel room, I realised no matter what happened I had made it, I was here, I was ready and prepped.
I turned the light off by the door, and not realising it turned all of the lights off in the room. That's ok the bed isn’t far away right, I can make it in the dark...bang!
I smacked straight into the wall corner, it didn't feel too bad, I thought, then felt something running down my face! I felt my way along the wall to the bathroom and turned the light on to what looked like a horror movie!! Blood everywhere! I quickly dabbed a facecloth, ok its fine, its fine, its just a cut it will stop bleeding...10 mins later its still pouring blood out, its like a boxing match wound, you know those ones on TV that never stop bleeding. Sigh….only me!
I head downstairs to the front desk, and ask for a first aid kit. I have never been hurt in the US before so all of a sudden I was surrounded by frightened looking faces that were looking at me as if I was a bomb that was going to go off!, don't worry I said I don't need an ambulance, I was just wondering if you have any plasters?, more wide eyed frightened looks, um so do you have a first aid kit?
A lady finally came from staff and sprayed a blood blocker on my face! Then I had to sign numourous forms saying I wasn't going to sue the hotel (that explained the frightened faces!) And that I didn't need an ambulance. They were super lovely and thank goodness they had an amazing first aid kit.
It would be fine right...makeup covers everything! - (And no sorry I didn't think at the time to take any photos of this part).
Day 01 - #kss18
Ok waking up to a big wound on your head could do a lot to freak a person out (thank goodness for the blood blocker!) but what was I going to do? I put on my pretty clothes, shrugged at the mirror, held my head high…what did I have to lose!
And the first day was definitely not to be missed, starting out with a bang by Seeing Aardman, Dreamworks and Sesame Workshop to name just a few. The air was buzzy but kind of like your first day at University, excited, nervous but you have no idea where your lecture halls are and which way up is the map! The hotel was huge with endless people and rooms and when you only have a 15min slot with 'THE' person you really don't want to get lost!
Day 02 - #kss18
Day 2 was different it was BUZZING! Everyone was at the top of their game and all best friends, probably had something to do with the fact that drinks each day start around 4-5pm and dont stop till well after midnight. It was really quite amazing to watch how awesome everyone was despite the crazy hangovers.
So Tuesday was CRAZY busy, any spare minute you filled up with someone walking past or someone from breakfast or now you had the courage just to walk up to someone elses table and say hi and start pitching, it was all becoming natural, and the fact that I had this hole in my head was a great ice breaker and it became a great party trick to draw in my new addition onto my business card which happened to have a picture of me on it! oh well...sometimes you just have to go with it! At least I will be remembered!
So yes, Tuesday. 9 Storey, E One Entertainment (Peppa Pig), Mattel, Marbel Media and wow pinching myself, dinner out with the amazing group of ladies from Aardman!
Day 03 - #kss18
Day three and everyone is in their groove. I really enjoyed the morning time, so despite the early wakeup each morning at 7.30 am and the sore head (not just from my wound) I made sure I was up and at the table. The food was amazing and it was open to everyone, I actually met some of the most amazing people at the breakfast table and CEO's of amazing companies that I hadnt heard of.
And those of you that dont know about my love for Starbucks Chai lattes it was on fire at Kidscreen. The hotel actually had one inside the hotel! A m a z i n g! I dont drink coffee so Chai was so good to keep me going and the people I would meet while standing in line at starbucks! I tell you, this is where some of my best pitches took place ;)!
So another amazing day of crazy talented people and companies giving me the time of day and listening to my ideas. DHX, Discovery, Lambur Productions and what really made my night, was dinner out with the Screen Writers Guild of Canada, I got to go out and see a bit of Miami and wow was blown away by this incredible table of writers!
Day 04 - #kss18
This is pretty much the last Full day, lots of people left that night or by lunchtime the following day.
By now I actually had stopped pitching, and one of the problems I found with being a producer is that I kept falling in love with everyone elses work. Its natural for me to just want to pick up a gorgeous property and just figure out how to make it. There was such great stuff, some of the time I forgot that I was there to pitch my own.
It was an incredible day, most the kiwis found each other and we got a group photo. It was so amazing to have others from your country there, I feel like that bond will last forever now.
There was a huge highlight for me on this day. I got to sit down with Nickelodeon finally who I had booked time with but due to the craziness we never got to find each other until literally at the last 30mins of the day as they are kicking people out. She came and found me and we had a fantastic honest chat about what they were looking for and why, and what they thought about my ideas. This is why you go half way around the world, to meet these people that can look you in the face from a place of sincerity and experience and tell you what they really think.
Was it worth it?
So the reason its taken me a few weeks to write down all of my thoughts is because I was still answering this question. Since I have got home I have been asked it alot.
The feedback on my ideas was mixed, some were loved, some were not. In a 30min space one person can totally contradict the other and leave you in a state of confusion.
I always believe in constructive criticism its always important to learn and grow and better your craft. But having said that, no one can predict the future, no one knows what will be the next Peppa Pig, Thomas The Tank Engine or Ben 10. All of the companies are going by what is happening right now. And half of the time its all about timing, being in the right place at the right time.
Every Industry is build on relationships and people. Some people will definitely get on the spot deals, right it does happen! Spongebob was signed at a Kidscreen, and there are many other success stories. But I went to see some honest reactions, to meet people and to start building those relationships. And to that it was a success!
So watch this space... I will keep going, I have more ideas, more books, more movies, more TV shows, the sky is the limit right? Maybe next time I can do it without a crazy cut on my head!
A Huge shout out to all my my amazing friends, family, Indie Authors, collegues who supported me getting there and while I was there. It really did mean alot!
P.S - The flight home had just as many hurdles with delays, broken planes, crazy Uber drivers oh but at least I got to sit next to these guys for 8 hours ;)
P.P.S - read this book - its great!
Its 2018! And for me that really happened fast!
I hope you had some quality family/friends times and picked up a book!
Im currently reading the new Dan Brown book that I got for christmas and really enjoying it, what book are you reading?
2018 is going to be a crazy ride of a year for me but im loving it so far!
In Movie News:
I continue to produce an animated feature film which I still cannot announce but its super fun and im hoping to bring you official announcements this year! (watch this space!)
In Book news - Duckling Publishing:
My new book Amy's Dreaming Adventures is out! phew that took over a year to make but im so happy with it, the illustrations are absolutely incredible and story too! so check it out here!
This year with my movie making gearing up into speed I won't be able to produce out as many books myself that I want to, don't worry there is still more on the cards but not as fast this year!
So I will be collaborating with some very talented authors that would love for Duckling Publishing to pick up their books, so again....watch this space, more book announcements to come soon! SO excited!
Fuzzy Duckling Media
And of course if I didnt have enough to do ;) I have created a media company. This will bring together my love of books,animation, film and TV making.
I will be at Kidscreen 2018 in Miami so drop me a line if you are there!
Thank you for continuing this journey with me! I couldn't do it without all the support I receive, I am eternally greatful for getting to do what I love every day!
Check out this weeks NZ Woman's Weekly Magazine for an interview with me. What a great experience! The crew were so lovely and my son and I were completely at ease. Its always so daunting doing these things. I much prefer working behind the scenes but this year I have been making a huge effort to get out of my comfort zone to pursue my dreams of making movies and books! With the huge help and support of my wonderful family, it certainly takes great courage to put yourself out there and at times you really want to hide!
Have a read and tell me what you think and also I would love to hear what you have been doing to get out of your comfort zone this year to pursue your dream! :)
In only 2 weeks my newest Max Book - The Race Car will be available in print and ebook, to celebrate we are having a draw, if you win I will ship off the first book to you, anywhere in the world with free shipping too!!!
So what are you waiting for? All you have to do to enter is head on over to DucklingPublishing
Will Max win the race if you can't wait to find out we are ready for Pre-orders too! get in quick there will only be 300 of these printed!
Its been a year for firsts for me and yesterday I got to be on live radio. Its one of New Zealands most listened to radio stations on a segment called Nine to Noon on National radio, I enjoyed it so much! We talked about how animation and images can engage children, and I added to this by saying not only can they engage they can reassure kids too! Sometimes it can be scary trying and experiencing new things for the very first time, in my Max books I explore this, well i won't type out the whole interview you can listen for yourselves! if you have any questions please drop me a line :)
Happy almost easter!!
Its so funny how most of the year everybody tries to limit chocolate or sweets then easter is on the cards and we can't get enough! And they make it so cute now, so many cute looking treats, something for everyone, my son is only just starting to get into Chocolate or choclte he calls it, wow he is going to be in for a treat this weekend!
Its been another busy and exciting week for Max, we have our first magazine giveaway and wow how cute! all you have to do to get in the draw is to send in your cute kid pictures, buy the mag and check out Page 81!
We have had another great review on Max too which is so encouraging and helps me to just want to write more and more!
You can check all of these out on my Media page over on Duckling and also my Review page.
Latest news is that we are also now in 4 independent book shops in Auckland, wowsers! and I'm such a stalker haha I can't stop myself from going in and taking pictures of the books on the shelves and to just wait to see if anyone picks them up ;). So they are slowly getting there!
And since I'm sharing news! Thanks to Calico Publishing we now have an international agent to help me get my books more exposure overseas!
As usual I have a dozen other things up my sleeve and I will definitely share as I can, to see things as they happen tho please pop over to our Facebook or instagram page :)
Happy Easter from me, I hope you are in choclte heaven ;)
The interview I did went Live today on TV and I have to say for my first time on TV I think I did ok! I was a little rough to start with but then got into it, its easy when you are asked to talk about things you love in your life! Family, Movies and Books :) I was asked today how did I stay so calm and the answer is my family! The morning I recorded my interview my son decided he wanted to sit on the toilet himself, that was the first time ever and to anyone that has a child, its such a big moment, he looked so cute sitting on this giant toilet (he is only 20months) and his face when he got off was pure happiness and he was so proud of himself, it seems like a little thing but that was what I was thinking about all day haha! Im so lucky to have a family to ground me, keep me calm and remind me what the important things are in life! I would love your comments tho :) Here it is!
Hi, I had a great business trip to Hong Kong last week, exiting times ahead, I am working on a new film, I can't share many details at this stage, but it is an animated film and it is so cute! I really like Hong Kong, its fast paced and it feels like everyone is there to achieve something, it has a great buzz about it!. And of course the food was great! I had the honour of being invited to the China Club, a very exclusive members only restaurant and I'm told is one of the top 10 in the world! The best thing about this club is that it also seems to be an art gallery, so many gorgeous pieces to look at, one of them called 'Prince Charles' is valued at $10million! I myself prefer some of the more traditional Chinese art and also the traditional way that they make it, very inspiring! The food was terrific and I was asked to sign the famous book, not only has Hillery Clinton been here but Princess Diana too!
I also went to the Hong Kong International Film and TV Market, and was really impressed by the quality and the quantity of the exhibits.
Check out some photos below of deal making and leisure, watch this space for more news on the movie :)
It was Market day on Sunday at ASB Showgrounds, it was SO much fun! People were lining up out the door! I won't go into too much detail on this blog, I will put more detail onto my publishing website over at Duckling, so check it out
TV Interview - The Cafe
This week I got interviewed on TV! If you are not from New Zealand its a morning breakfast show thats on every week day called The Cafe! I got to talk about my books and also about some of the movies I worked on, I was not as nervous as I thought I would be, it was pre-recorded so it will actually be on tomorrow, yikes I think I am more nervous about watching myself than being on the show haha! Overall it was a great experience tho, the crew were super lovely and made you feel at ease, some pics below and I will put up the link once it streams after the show ends :)