Sometimes you have to help others to help yourself. That’s what actress and voice over talent Maggie Baird discovered when she set out to start singing her own songs on stage, a dream that had lain dormant since she became a mother of two. It’s also what led her and Lori Nasso, a fellow actress, to fulfill a much bigger dream — writing and producing their own feature film.
“I’d always wanted to be an actor,” Maggie said, “but my song writing I kept secret, and I didn’t sing in public.”
Maggie did eventually sing in public, though, as a member of The Groundlings improv and sketch comedy theatre in Los Angeles. And when her dad came down with a terminal illness shortly after her first child was born, Maggie decided it was time to make a CD. “He was my biggest fan,” Maggie said. “I kind of thought it was going to keep him alive.”
She called the CD My Father’s Daughter, and recorded it over the course of a year, doing one studio session each week. But sadly, Maggie’s father did die, and Maggie’s life moved on. She had a second child and music once again took a backseat to family and earning a living — until recently.
A few years ago Maggie made a second CD. “And then I decided I should do something really terrifying,” she said. “I should do gigs. But I knew that I would never do gigs, because I was a mom and I was so busy trying to make a living as an actor and be a good mom that there was no way I was going to say, ‘Hey I’m going out to a club tonight to sing.’”
But, Maggie had a plan. She approached some fellow moms who were also singers and suggested they form a group that would perform at open mic nights.
“I said, ‘I’ll play guitar for you and you sing harmony for me and that way we’ll have to show up,’” Maggie said. “I knew I was much more likely to do it if I felt like I was doing it for someone else instead of just me.”
It was this group, called The Performer’s Collective, where Maggie and Lori eventually crossed paths.
Lori had also been a singer when she was young, but an audition for the lead in the 8th grade musical was so traumatic that Lori decided to remain in the chorus for good. “I developed this fear of singing,” she said. “I could sing in a group, but I could never sing alone on stage.”
Like Maggie, Lori went on to become an actress and started singing again as part of the Second City comedy troupe in Toronto, Canada. “It wasn’t until I was 28 and in Second City that I was kind of able to do a funny song in front of people,” Lori said.
Two years ago, however, around the same time that Maggie started the Performer’s Collective, Lori challenged herself. “My kids were getting older,” she said. “So, I forced myself to get my guitar out and sing a little bit and do an open mic night.”
Shortly after that, Lori’s husband ran into Maggie at a party and mentioned his wife’s open mic experience. The two women ended up getting in touch and Maggie asked Lori to join The Performer’s Collective.
With their similar backgrounds, it’s no surprise that Maggie and Lori became close friends. And it wasn’t long before they realized they were both toying with the idea of writing a screenplay with a similar theme – midlife mom rediscovers singing.
Maggie worried that the timing wasn’t right for writing a script, however. Like many families hers was struggling financially and writing a screenplay seemed like a luxury she couldn’t afford. But, then she had an epiphany. “I felt like so much of my life had been just trying to make ends meet,” she said. “But then all you do is make ends meet, you know, you never go further. Even though my survival job may seem glamorous compared to someone else’s survival job, it’s never really getting me to the point where I’m following my own vision.”
So, they wrote the script, little by little, in their limited free time, over the course of a year and a half. “And now we’re here and it’s kind of exciting,” Lori said.
“Here” is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign, ending July 15, to raise money to shoot their film, Life Inside Out. They’ve already secured a producer, director, cinematographer, and a team of dedicated helpers, all donating their time and expertise because they believe in the project.
“I kind of can’t believe it’s really happening,” Maggie said. “And it all started because a group of moms decided to help one another.”
You can learn more about Maggie and Lori and their film Life Inside Out at:
- The official Life Inside Out movie website
- The Life Inside Out Kickstarter page
- Life Inside Out on Facebook
- Life Inside Out on Twitter