I Just Watched a 3 Minute Short Film. And It Blew Me Away.

I had no intention of writing a post today.  It’s a Saturday and I’m making jam and getting ready for a birthday party later tonight, just enjoying being away from the computer for a bit. And then I watched a remarkable video and I had to make sure you saw it too.

Liv McNeil

Actually, I first saw this video yesterday and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. You know something is good when it remains with you. Whether it’s a book, a movie or a quote.  Granted, sometimes radishes will remain with you, or as my father would say “repeat on you”, and that’s not quite as good but I know you understand what I’m talking about.

When I was a television host and writer (you can read a bit about my former career here) I did a few shows with a producer named Scott McNeil. He’s fun, talented, smart and very into music. Yesterday on Instagram he posted about a short film his daughter made for a class project.

She’s 14.

I knew she was creative just by following the glimpses into her adventures and life on Scott’s Instagram feed. But I didn’t know she was a creative genius.

I don’t say that flippantly.

Liv (that’s her name) was given a class project by her teacher.  The teacher’s prompt was a project based on these words:  “I used to be, but now I am, and someday I hope to be.” Or something like that she says. She decided to make a short film about isolation and the effects on mental health during Covid-19. 

Over the course of 3 weeks she made this 3 minute video.


I have no idea if Liv wants to continue to work in television, film or the arts. Based on this piece of work I think she could do anything she wants.  She’s astonishing.

I have two pieces of advice for Liv and anyone else wanting to make a living in the arts.

  1. Making a profit isn’t selling out. Don’t let anyone convince you that it is.  The world often deems artistic work as frivolous. It isn’t. Art has the ability to transform someone’s mood, outlook on life and the world around them. Accepting money for art doesn’t make you a sell out, it affirms your value.
  2. Don’t ever create anything you aren’t proud of or that goes against your instincts just because someone is paying you. If someone asks you to create or do something that makes you uneasy – don’t do it. Back out. Leave the room. Do what YOU do. It’s why they valued you and your work in the first place.
  3. Always steal the mini chocolate bars from the craft services table. You will be happy you did when you find them in your bag a week later.

Good luck Liv. You’re brilliant.

Between starting this post and now, I’ve actually gone to the birthday party, returned home after having eaten WAY too much and I’m about to descend into the last couple of episodes of Anne with an E.

I may have to walk around the block a dozen times to help facilitate a little digestion because I feel like I’ve eaten an entire live goat.

When in fact, I barely made my way through the torso.

Just kidding.

I ate the whole live goat. With sauce.

Just kidding.

Saucing live goat is for amateurs. 

One last thing before I go! I’m taking a quick 1 hour canning class and I think some of you might like to take it too.

Ashley English is an Internet friend of mine and has been for over a decade (wow). She’s written 10 or 11 books all having to do with entertaining, homesteading, canning, chicken keeping and that sort of hippie, back to the earth crap that we all love. I have 6 of her books. 

Ashley normally holds live, in person, classes at her home in the hills of North Carolina in the summer but because of Covid-19 she can’t do that, SO she’s taking her classes online and is offering a different canning class every Saturday morning for the rest of the summer.



They’re $20 per class and you can take one, or take them all. They last for about an hour every Saturday morning and I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT IT.

I’ll be joining her on the morning of August 15th to learn how to make and can sweet relish!! It’s a Zoom online class, so if you sign up, I’ll see you there.  For information on all her canning classes (cleverly called Slow Jams) you can take a look at her Eventbrite page right here.  There’s jam, chutney, jellies, dilly beans, whole fruits and of course the relish class I’m taking, as well as a whack more.

I hope you liked the video as much as I did, I hope you get the chance to take a class this summer (because seriously you have to do something fun this summer!) and I hope you have a good remainder of your weekend.




  1. Angie says:

    That was amazing! I needed to hear that the arts aren’t frivolous tonight.

  2. Maryanne says:

    Wow. Thank you for sharing

  3. Heather says:

    I want to cry. I am so sad for all the people around the world who are suffering as a result of our response to this virus. Poor Liv, and all the young folk who are missing out on being young. My own little granddaughter, who is 18 months-old, has no friends and has never had so much as a runny nose; how will her immune system develop? Older folks, who’ve got their families and relative freedom are the lucky ones in all this. One of my daughters said she believes this rotten time will ultimately bring about a much needed change in our values: Instead of careers and cash being the focus of our education system and culture as a whole, we might focus on creating families and putting love first place. I hope she is right.

  4. Gary Boutin says:

    Hi Karen,
    With all the Covid stuff around the world I must admit I forgot about the children, that have lost their graduation ceremonies, and their friends. That have to do home schooling and do it alone. I thought this was a good video and I thought that Liv is an excellent videographer. As for making money for works created on YouTube I am penny rich and I do not feel that bad about a few bucks I get from Google. Thanks Gary

  5. Jill says:

    “Accepting money for art doesn’t make you a sell out, it affirms your value.”
    Best quote I’ve read in a long time and something every artist, young and old, should read and reread. I may need to print that out and hang it on my fridge. 😉

    The video was intense and moving. Children and teens feel so deeply. It is easy to forget that big issues effect them directly, often in even more intense ways. If isolation is hard for an adult, you can bet it’s even harder for someone who is less equipped to deal with these heavy emotions. Wonderful that this assignment has given her an outlet to share some of what she is feeling. It was brilliant.

  6. kim says:

    Very powerful video. thanks for sharing!

  7. Jess says:

    I loved it much!
    Have happily lurked around since your cleaver caught my eye a few months ago but thought I’d join the fray today.

  8. Donna says:

    Wow! Powerful message right there. Hank you for sharing. Liv is a very talented young lady and your advice is spot on.

  9. Laura Bee says:

    Brilliant, beautiful and mighty powerful. I saw this awhile ago and was amazed, maybe you shared it on fb or IG? I have a 9 year old daughter and trying to help her with her work and keep her motivated and support her emotionally while continuing to work through this, get a mortgage and move my mom in at the end of March when shit hit the fan left me so drained I declared school out at the start of June. Auugghhhh!
    Run-on-sentence! Eek!

  10. susan labrie says:

    Amazing and heart wrenching!! My daughter also struggled with on line schooling. She did poorly her second semester of freshman year of college because of Covid. Students need to be in the class room as soon as it is safe!

    Also, Ann with an E……..loved and cried so many times watching that beautiful show. We need more shows like this, it has sad moments but it is such a feel good show!

  11. Cindy McCammon says:

    Wow. Just wow. So compelling and such a thoughtful filmmaker! My mother died 3 days ago and this cracked that shell I was layering up around my heart.

  12. Ledena Brooke says:

    It made me cry! So affecting. Great job

  13. Cindy lou who says:

    Thank you for all you share, this video would have been me if I was a teen in the COVID era! These kids are struggling…and I do appreciate Liv’s depiction of what they are going through with the isolation. She has some serious skills! Beautifully done!
    This needs to be over!! ASAP-COVID go AWAY!!!

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