Saturday, June 23, 2012

It All Started at Park Day

Homeschool park day. It's supposed to be for the kids, but we all know that the parents need it just as much as anyone else. And the truth is, this movie might not be getting made at all if it weren't for one fateful conversation that started up at a homeschool park day in Glendale, California.

Maggie was talking to her friend Cindy Shapiro, a fellow singer and homeschooling mom, about how hard it is to make the time to get out and perform. Wouldn't it be great, they thought, if they could get a group of people together who would support one another and provide that added push needed to hit the stage? Maggie and Cindy mentioned the idea to Lisa Creahan (yep, another homeschooling mom) and the three of them decided to make a go of it. They called group The Performer's Collective and almost immediately others joined in, including Maggie's son, Finneas, who had recently started writing his own music. The group held rehearsals and signed on at Open Mic nights around town. Since they had a responsibility to one another to show up and perform, it suddenly became easier to make it happen.

Maggie sings while Patrick plays guitar
So many good things came from this effort to provide support for one another, it's hard to believe. Lisa recorded a song with Keaton Simons that ended up on Beverly Hills 90210, Cindy fulfilled a lifelong dream and became Artist-in-Residence at Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, Maggie's son blossomed into a confident singer/songwriter and formed his own band, and Maggie met former Saturday Night Live writer Lori Collins (she joined the Collective, too) and the two women started writing the script that would become Life Inside Out.

Check back to hear about Lori and Maggie's mid-life return to singing.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Meet Maggie Baird

When Maggie Baird and Jill 'Agnenica met at a La Leche League meeting in the late '90s they had no idea that they would go on to homeschool their kids together and, ultimately, to make a feature film together. But that's what happened--or that's what's happening. Maggie wrote the script with her friend Lori (not a homeschooler but we love her anyway!) and now Jill is set to direct.

This blog will tell the story of how the film came to be and document the progress of Maggie's efforts to put together a creative team, raise funds, shoot and edit the film, and get it out into the world. Right now we're at the fundraising part of our story, but to keep you entertained while we gain additional backers and watch the pledge amount inch ever closer to our goal (see the sidebar!), I'm going to tell you the story of how it all got started. But first, let's meet Maggie.

Photo by Kimerlee Curyl
Maggie is a homeschooling mom to her son Finneas and her daughter Billie. She earns her living as an actor, but she's also a singer/songwriter with two CDs under her belt. And she makes a mean cinnamon roll.

Maggie grew up in a small town in Western Colorado, where she was encouraged by her family to pursue her love of writing, songwriting and acting. She studied theater and dance at the University of Utah, then headed to New York City where she began performing both on Broadway and off. Maggie traveled the country appearing in regional theaters from Alaska to Florida and spent a year as Dr. Taylor Baldwin on As the World Turns before spending nine months on the road touring in The Heidi Chronicles. In 1991, at the end of her tour, Maggie moved to Los Angeles where she began acting in television and film and married Patrick O'Connell, a fellow actor who she had met while performing in Alaska.

Their son Finneas was born in 1997 and a daughter, Billie, followed four years later. Maggie and Patrick decided on homeschooling when their son was still young, mainly in order to spend as much time as possible with him, and they've never regretted that decision. They are part of a vibrant and ever-growing homeschooling community in Los Angeles--one that provides friendship, support, fun, and more.

Finneas, Billie, Maggie, Pepper, and Patrick
In our next post, find out how a conversation Maggie had at park day led to the formation of "The Performer's Collective," a group of parents who put their dreams into action by joining together to perform at open mic nights around Los Angeles.