The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures
When Amy approached me about her idea for a "Book of Failures," I was intrigued. We met for lunch and she told me about all of the absurd ways she wanted to bring her brand to life that involved toilet paper and dresses tucked up in her underwear. I mean, how fun does that sound?
But truly, I was most intrigued by the idea that a 40+ woman, like myself, would write about her failures for all of the world to see. Plus, she didn't come from a writing career. She was pursuing her dreams by writing a screenplay and subsequent book because it was something she always wanted to do.
Stories like this are so inspiring to me and I know that it inspires other women who have been thinking they want to do something different but aren't sure where to start. Let's get started and learn more about Amy Lyle's journey in this latest #mommaquitherdayjob feature.
Q: Tell me about yourself.
A: I grew up in Marietta, Ohio, which is in the thick of the Appalachian region. It has been suggested that it is an area filled with people that are uneducated, partial to moonshine and prone to acts of violence and I don’t disagree. However, I think if you go fifty miles outside of any major city, you’ll most likely find a similar crowd, people trying to persevere.
I love literature, films and people that celebrate survival. It’s extraordinary when people turn the most humiliating and tragic aspects of their lives into something that helps other people.
My husband, Peter, and I live in North Georgia and are raising four teenagers.
Q: What did you do for your first act?
A: I spent 15 years working in the staffing industry in sales, management and eventually as a corporate sales trainer in the Atlanta area.
Q: What led to what you are doing today?
A: Today, I am a comedienne, screenwriter, and author. My family and I attend a large non-denominational church with an amazing children’s program and through my kid’s encouragement, I auditioned for an on-going, comedic role. A few years into the role, I inquired about contributing as a writer. Writing hundreds of mini-comedic plays gave me the bug to do larger projects.
For my film, my girlfriends are my source of inspiration. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by amazing, accomplished and hilarious women. Regardless if they are working and raising a family, stay-at-home-moms or empty-nesters, women have common threads of managing relationships and trying to raise their children the best they can. The film is a comedic twist on how working moms and stay-at-home moms have such set perceptions of one another.
My book was inspired by 45 years of my own personal disasters, and a handful of borrowed failures from friends and family.
Q: What are your goals? Are there specific goals you want to achieve or do you do this purely for the satisfaction it brings?
A: As a sales person, I would have to forecast what deals would be closing for the next quarter including, specific companies, sales volume, and revenue predictions. At the time I called it “crystal ball sales projections,” because how in the world would anyone know what they will be closing in the future? Now I appreciate the exercise: thinking about your goals forces you to have a plan and builds accountability.
I have very specific targets for marketing my film. I would like to align with director/producers that have had success with female-centric comedies such as Judd Apatow (Bridesmaids), Paul Feig (Ghostbusters, The Heat), Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect) or Ben Falcone (The Boss, Spy). I have an A, B, C, D and even E list of targets!
I’m self-publishing my book, The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures through Amazon. A super ridiculous dream come true goal would be on Amazon’s bestsellers list for comedy memoirs for even one minute. If I have just one review that says, “This book made me feel better about my own failures,” or “It made me smile,” I’ll be happy.
The journey of creating something original, in any form, is rewarding in itself. There are millions of unpublished books, unproduced films and unread poetry in the world, but that doesn’t make the work unimportant. The journey is rewarding.
Q: What have you learned through the process of reinventing yourself?
A: Creativity is subjective. I learned this invaluable lesson from my content editor, Rodney Henson. You should seek wise counsel for content and structural editing if you are doing a creative project, nonetheless, it’s your content. If you feel strongly about something specific, push back.
In the process of marketing a film/book, you are forced to go through content editors and directors, press coverage editors plus hundreds of gatekeepers and assistants, whom all have opinions about your work. Select a few, trusted friends, hire a recommended editor and keep moving forward. If you get stuck in the circle of making everyone happy, you’ll never complete your project.
I have learned that almost everyone on the planet has a creative side and seeks to share at least a piece of their lives with others.
Q: What advice do you have for other women who are considering a change?
A: Regardless of how you pitch your project, be prepared to receive a whirlwind of “NO!” Make people tell you no in person! Email is “easier” because you are looking at a “NO!” on a screen rather than hearing it over the phone or in person. But a person can’t really capture your personality on email, give yourself an advantage over the other thousands of submissions and start by calling the publisher/producer/director’s office. Research who you are calling, start with why you like their work and ask for a meeting or the right to submit your project.
Ask for help! No one will give you anything, but if you are sincere and friendly, you may get help. My girlfriend Marjorie, introduced me to Rodney Henson, my content editor. Rodney introduced me to an entertainment attorney. The attorney introduced me to a film press coverage professional. The press coverage woman is a Second City comedienne who went to film school with some heavy hitting producers and directors. Most people want to help you, but they will not if you don’t ask them.</p>
<p>Create a budget, and then be prepared to triple it. If you are serious about getting your work published/film produced you will need editors for content and grammar, photographers and designers to do your book cover, head shots, etc. Additional expenses to enter film/book contests, fees to attend film/book markets/festivals and for MARKETING. Even if you self-publish or have an independent film, budget to promote your work at a minimum through social media (Facebook and Twitter sell ads) and through Google and Amazon. Take advantage of the free advice on YouTube regarding navigating the world of self-publishing or film production.
There is an insatiable need for content. Find a topic you are interested in and start a blog, search online for freelance writing positions or volunteer for a publisher or at a film studio. Getting immersed in an area you are interested in, even on a part-time basis will help you learn the business.
Q: How have you dealt with obstacles or setbacks?
A: I originally worked on a film for over a year with a friend when it was revealed that we had completely different ideas about the direction of the project. We had respect for one another’s ideas so we agreed to disagree and work on our own projects. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, the time spent on the “wasted” material only further defined what I wanted to do on my own.
Q: Would you do it all again?
You can purchase your own copy of the The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures on Amazon.
Update: Her follow up to The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures "We're all a Mess. It's Ok!" is available now on Amazon as well!!
Visit Amy's Website.