Monday, April 30, 2012

Makers in Business with Liz Smith


Makers in Business Episode 1 Ann Lee of Friends Fabric Art from Liz Smith on Vimeo.

UPDATE: My show will be available at on Channel 8 streaming at 6:30 EST Tuesdays and 8:30 EST Thursdays. It is also available on demand. Go to and scroll down to find Makers in Business on the schedule, There should be a link to Watch Now, a pop up player will start right up, you need Flash to play the content. Thank you!

Wanna see my press release? It's all official n stuff :) (Note: I am also working on making the show available online on demand elsewhere and offering the audio-only as a podcast.)

Makers in Business with Liz Smith is a new local access TV show from Lowell, MA which airs on Comcast Channel 8 on Tuesdays at 6:30 PM and Thursdays at 8:30 PM. It can also be viewed online during airtime and on demand.

Each half hour episode Liz Smith has a conversation with someone who makes things and sells them. The focus of the program is the intersection of commerce and creativity with an emphasis on the particular challenges creative business owners face and how they solve them.

Makers in Business will introduce viewers to creative people and their businesses, educate viewers about what it takes to run a small creative business, and help other creative business owners through the sharing of our experiences.

Note: the first episode features a delightful conversation with Ann Lee of Friends Fabric Art.

Liz Smith has been a maker in business for over 25 years. Currently she makes and sells paper goods and items made from wool and polymer clay under the business name Made in Lowell She currently works out of studio A305 at Western Avenue Studios in Lowell. Aside from a live, 8 minute segment on The Martha Stewart Show in 2010, this is her first television program.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I guess I have a talk show now

Here's the follow up to my previous post: we taped the first show on Tuesday, April 17th! It feels quite surreal. I was exactly as frightened as I imagined, and I'm not sure if that will fade over time, but I will keep at it anyway because, why not?

My first guest, Ann Lee of Friends Fabric Art was DELIGHTFUL. And she wrote a sweet post about her side of the adventure.

I totally forgot to snap a picture of her because I was quite befuddled by the whole process but I did get a few shots of the evening. Here's a helpful guy setting up the microphones on my little bare bones, I mean minimalist, set.

And here's the very kind and efficient crew that volunteered and showed up to help me make a TV show:

And here I am afterwards, gleeful I did not have a heart attack. On the left is my director/editor, Catherine, and on the right is Jessica Wilson, Executive Director of LTC. Jessica also ran one of the cameras and was instrumental along with Ann, in keeping me calm.

It's a half hour show and we pretty much taped in real time. It needs to be edited a bit, cleaned up and graphics and music will be added. I am supposed to be creating a logo right at this very moment to be added onto the footage when I meet Catherine tonight, heh. I still have a few hours!

I think Ann and I had a good conversation about the intersection of commerce and creativity in her particular circumstances. I think others will find it interesting too.

I learned a few things for next time:
1) Prepare way more questions than you think you need, then double that. I ran through all my questions in the first half of the show and had to scramble to figure out what to fill the second half with.

2) I need to figure a way to signal the guest. I can see when we have one minute left, but how do I tell them to wrap it up? Working on a series of complicated winks. Or maybe there's an industry trick someone can share with me.

3) I will just have to make a bunch more shows to make this one seem less significant in my mind. It's the first one, it's a bit of a rehearsal for the rest of my program. If I didn't nail it, it won't matter in the larger picture.

4) People who volunteer at Local Access TV are really nice and generous with their time. Thanks to everyone who helped out!!

That's it for now, The show will be available when we finish polishing it up, I'll let you know when that is. Then I guess I need to make a date to tape the next one! Arrgghh! LOL :)

Thanks for all your kind encouragement. I felt buoyed by your good will!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Next Adventure

In 2010 I went on The Martha Stewart Show and for 8 minutes, on live national television, I taught Martha how to make my polymer clay eggs. It was a surreal experience that took all my courage. I had terrible stage fright but I went through with the segment despite my terror. After it was over I felt a euphoric rush which must be the reason people do extreme sports. The high lasted for months and I can still call a little of it up now and then when I need some fuel. When I watched myself later I was astounded that you really couldn’t tell how frightened I was!

I have a picture of me and Martha posted outside my studio and at Open Studios I get to tell my crazy story to anyone who is interested. I’ll never get tired of this story. One Open Studios I was telling my story and how I had been so scared before I went on TV but after it was over I was so juiced I felt like I could have my own TV show! And the person I was talking to said “You totally should.” It turns out she was Jessica Wilson, the brand new Executive Director of Lowell Telecommunications Corporation (LTC), Lowell’s local access cable station!

The idea felt scary and exciting. Fun and awful. I thought about it for a few weeks, ran it past family members (who all emphatically said DO IT!) and decided OK. Why not?

The whole idea wasn’t completely out of the blue. I had taken Sister Diane’s online podcasting class in preparation for starting to provide audio content to my blog followers and hopefully pick up new folks. When I saw how much pre- and post-production went into Diane’s amazing shows, I’ll admit, I got discouraged. I didn’t think I would have the time or focus to spend hours and hours on each podcast and still run my handmade business.

But a TV show, that was different! A TV show is collaborative. I wouldn’t be doing this alone, I’d have crew and resources, I’d have help! And maybe I could strip the audio and STILL offer it as a podcast! WIN/WIN.

So here I go, tonight we shoot the first episode of Makers in Business. It’s a talk show where I’ll interview makers about their work and some aspect of how they make their business run. It’s a show for other makers, for people who love handmade, and for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of running a small business.

I will post links to the show so you can view it online and hopefully I’ll be able to post the audio as a podcast.

I’m just as nervous as when I went on Martha, only now I’m the Martha! Or the Terry Gross, or the Jon Stewart. But it’s not live and I have a great group of people to help me make this the best it can be. And if nothing else, I will have tried something outside my comfort zone and that alone is worth the butterflies.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Doing taxes, BRB

I have some fun news coming up soon, and lots of new posts on topics I know the craft world is thinking about, so stay tuned!